A vocational interview is an essential component of receiving workers’ compensation. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier may require you to receive an examination during an independent medical evaluation by a doctor it chooses. Depending on your condition, this doctor could release you to do a specific level of work, which could be a light, medium, heavy, or sedentary desk job.
If your previous employer doesn’t have a suitable job available, its insurance carrier will schedule you for a vocational interview. This article explains what a workers’ comp vocational interview is and how to prepare for one.
What Is a Vocational Interview in Workers’ Compensation?
A vocational interview is a scheduled meeting between you and a vocational expert whose purpose in this meeting is to understand what kind of work you can do. When assessing job possibilities, they will consider variables such as:
- Your physical condition
- Work history
- Educational history
- Limitations of any disability or injury you may have
The vocational expert will use this interview to gather vital information. They will then use this data to put together a labor market survey or earning power assessment that shows what careers they believe you can do based on the information obtained. The insurance carrier could use these documents to reduce or terminate your benefits.
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Is It Mandatory to Attend a Vocational Meeting for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You cannot skip a worker’s comp vocational interview, but we urge you to contact an attorney immediately before showing up to the meeting alone. It is important to remember that the vocational expert represents the insurance provider’s best interest, not yours.
Anything you say in this meeting could affect your case’s outcome. An attorney can protect your rights and ensure the integrity of the interview. Know that the labor market survey and earning power assessment findings are not final. If you disagree with the results, your attorney can dispute them with their research findings about the local job market or by hiring an independent vocational expert.
Preparing for a Workers’ Compensation Vocational Meeting With a Vocational Expert
Be careful about what you say and discuss during your vocational meeting since it can directly impact your benefits. Here are some tips you can use when attending the meeting:
- Do not engage in small talk: The interviewer might attempt to strike up small talk to get you to let down your guard and reveal more information than what’s necessary. Remember, the interviewer is on the insurance provider’s side.
- Be honest: Even though you should be selective about what you share, answer all questions truthfully.
- Be careful with your words: Do not use careless language that may show that you are not interested in going back to work. For example, do not say, “I cannot work a job that pays just $20 an hour, so I’m not going to apply.” Instead, state that you appreciate the interviewer helping you find a suitable job. Otherwise, the insurance carrier can use your lack of interest to claim you’re being uncooperative and stop your benefits.
- Do not make overly optimistic statements: The interviewer may coax you or encourage you to nod or agree with their statements. They could try to persuade you to say that you’re doing better than you actually feel. To please them, you may even willingly state that you can do tasks you aren’t qualified to do or medically cleared for. Be wary of making any such hopeful statements. Let them know if you know you are qualified to do specific jobs. If you’re too hurt to do a job or aren’t qualified, politely speak up.
- Do not share your business dreams: Many people dream of starting their own business someday. But being injured may not be the best time to build a business. If you share your entrepreneurial dreams with the vocational expert, they will relay to the insurance provider about your plan. The insurer may use this information as a reason to end your benefits.
- Return to work whenever possible: While this can seem counterintuitive, your bigger goal should be returning to work. Along with providing financial stability, it also ensures you are not forced to interview for or take up any job you don’t like. By returning to work, you also do not have to worry about attending meetings with vocational experts whose goal is to save the insurance company money. That said, only return to work if your doctor permits you to do so. It’s never a good decision to put your health at risk, as it can worsen your injury and extend your recovery time.
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Let Our Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Prepare You for Your Vocational Interview
Our Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys will protect your rights. We are here to help you to prepare for a workers’ compensation vocational interview and ensure only relevant information reaches the interviewer handling your case.
If you have a vocational interview coming up, we urge you to contact us right away. We will review your case over a free consultation and explain how we can assist you.
Call or text (404) 888-8888 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form