If you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may have to take a vocational interview. Do you need to attend this meeting? What impact could this interview have on your workers’ compensation claim? How should you get ready for your interview?
Here are the most frequently asked questions to help you prepare for a vocational interview for workers’ comp.
What Is a Vocational Interview?
A vocational interview is a meeting conducted between you and a “vocational expert” hired by your employer’s insurance company. The vocational interviewer’s job is to figure out what kind of work you can do with your injury and whether you can return to your job.
The interviewer will take into account your:
- Physical condition
- Work history
- Limitations based on your injury
Do I Have to Go to a Vocational Interview?
Vocational interviews are required to receive your workers’ compensation benefits. You cannot skip it.
When Do I Go to a Vocational Interview?
Before your vocational interview, your employer will often set up an appointment with an Independent Medical Examiner (IME). This is a physician who will examine you and determine where you are in your recovery. They will generate a report about your ability to return to work. If the IME says you can go back to work but will have medical restrictions, a vocational interview will take place. Keep in mind, the vocational expert’s opinion and the IME’s medical opinion about your ability to work is not set in stone. If your doctor does not agree with the IME doctor’s opinions, you have the right to challenge the IME opinions in Court. Your lawyer can challenge the vocational interviewer’s opinions with their own research about local jobs or by hiring an independent vocational interviewer for a second opinion.
What Happens During a Workers’ Compensation Vocational Assessment?
The vocational interview will ask about the work you have performed in the past and any training you have received. The interviewer wants to determine whether you can perform a job as you continue to recover from your injury. Their goal rarely is to get you back into the workplace. Rather, their goal is to simply list jobs that might hire you to create evidence to use in Court to try to stop or lower your workers’ compensation.
What to Do During a Workers’ Compensation Vocational Assessment
Here are five tips for a successful Pennsylvania workers’ compensation vocational interview:
- Avoid small talk: Remember that the interviewer is not on your side. Don’t get drawn into small talk, when you could reveal details that may influence the assessment.
- Tell the truth: While you should not volunteer any extra information, you should not lie about anything you are asked.
- Don’t say something that can be misconstrued: If you say you won’t take a job below a certain salary, the vocational interviewer could spin this as a sign that you are uncooperative with the process, which could be grounds for ending your benefits.
- Avoid sunny-eyed optimism: Don’t say that you could do something you haven’t been medically cleared to do, or that you are not really qualified to do.
- Stay on guard during the entire interview: Avoid saying anything more than is required to answer the interviewer’s questions.
Get Assistance Preparing for a Vocational Assessment
As soon as your employer informs you about the vocational assessment, you should contact your workers’ compensation lawyer. If you don’t have one, reach out to Frommer D’Amico. We specialize in workers’ compensation. It’s the only type of case we handle, and we only represent employees, never employers. We travel to you for appointments and charge low fees.
Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation. Call 717-400-1000 or contact us online today.