Wisconsin attorneys in selection of vocational expert witnesses
Ong, Lee Za
University of Wisconsin--Stout
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this descriptive study is to rank order the vocational characteristic competencies, as perceived by Wisconsin attorneys that specialized in Workers’ Compensation cases, when selecting a vocational expert. The study approached from Rehabilitation Act to Workers’ Compensation in private sector. Several factors were identified how the rehabilitation professionals have acted as a vocational specialist to assist courts and attorneys to determine an injured worker’s vocational potential and earning capacity. Then, the issues of admissibility and inadmissibility of evidence are reviewed. In addition, the role of vocational expert in determining an injured worker’s vocational potential and earning capacity in courts of law was reviewed. Many studies also showed that vocational rehabilitation specialist feel less prepared in expert testimony and legislation. Several vocational competency criteria have been established through the review of literature. The vocational competency criteria from the viewpoint of practicing workers’ compensation attorneys, when selecting a vocational expert are credibility, education of witness, ability to document claimant’s loss of earning capacity and cost. This study indicated that there were 90.29% of the respondents utilized the services of vocational expert witness. Moreover, in average, there were 5.91 vocational expert witnesses were used by the respondents per year. Competencies rated by the respondents in their selection of a vocational expert witness were also identified. It was indicated that “ability to document claimant’s loss of earning capacity” (M=2.14, SD=2.79) was perceived as the most important competencies by the respondents. It is recommended that this study be replicated in another state to assess the differences and the similarity of the outcome. It is also suggested that the information that was obtained in this study be utilized to enhance the quality of curriculum development in vocational rehabilitation.