What Exactly is the Vocational Exam in a Workers’ Compensation Case?

doctor and patient during vocational exam for workers compensation benefits

Your Workers’ Compensation claim involves several steps, starting with proper medical care. Once you have been treated for your on-the-job injury, a vocational exam will be performed to determine your injury’s impact on your future. Why is vocational exam in workers’ compensation claim important? Hoffman Law Firm explains – Let’s begin.

What is a Vocational Exam (Vocational Interview)?

A vocational exam, also known as a vocational interview, is conducted to assess whether you can return to your job – and in what capacity. Your employer’s insurance company will hire a vocational expert to make this determination. They will factor in your training/education and work history as well as your current physical condition and your injury’s impact on future job performance. In addition to determining how your injury affects your ability to work, the vocational exam will assess its financial impact on your current and future earning potential.

Is a Vocational Exam Optional? 

No. You must attend your vocational exam to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits.

What Does a Vocational Expert Do? 

Here is what a vocational expert is hired to examine:

  • Extent of your injury
  • Length of recovery
  • Limitation on work capabilities
  • Job options based on current physical condition
  • Accident injury’s impact on earning potential 
  • Expected earning over time

What Happens During a Vocational Exam

Your vocational exam will include the following steps:


This step also involves a medical record review, allowing the vocational expert to assess the injury’s impact on employability.


Standardized tests, depending on the worker’s situation, will be conducted. They may be used to assess academic strengths, interests, work values, applicable skills, etc.


Labor Market Research will be conducted to learn more about the salary and qualifications needed for specific jobs the injured worker may be applicable for within a certain geographical area.


All the data collected will be integrated to make a final decision about the injured worker’s future employability and earning capacity.

How Do I Prepare for a Vocational Exam?

When getting ready for your vocational exam, keep the following in mind:

  • Skip the small talk.
    Your interview is not on your side, and any details you provide could potentially be used to decrease the value of your Workers’ Compensation claim. Stick to the facts and do not volunteer any extra information.
  • Avoid statements that could be misinterpreted.
    Again, it is best to stick to the facts. Even an offhand remark about your salary requirements could be misconstrued and used as evidence that you are uncooperative.
  • Don’t overestimate your abilities.
    While a positive outlook is important to your recovery, do not claim to be able to perform job duties that your doctor has not cleared you for – or you are not qualified to do.

What is Included in a Vocational Report After the Exam?

The vocational report will detail the following:

  • Summary of work skills, including strengths and weaknesses
  • Fields of work/jobs that match your qualifications
  • Physical capabilities/limitations due to injury
  • Range of potential future earnings

What Do I Do with the Report? 

Once the report is complete, your Workers’ Compensation lawyer will review it to ensure it is accurate. They will also provide trusted legal advice as you take your next steps toward compensation.

Discover A Good Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Near Me, Choose Hoffman Law Firm

If you have been hurt at work, you need legal representation you can count on – now more than ever. As Lowcountry locals, our Workers’ Compensation lawyers are committed to fighting for our friends and neighbors here at home. Schedule your free consultation today to learn more!

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Car Accident

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Workers’ Comp

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Longshoreman Injury

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