Earning Capacity Evaluation (ECE) is an evaluation of the plaintiff’s ability to work and earn wages prior to and following the event that is the subject of the litigation. The keyword here is ability. Performed in a manner consistent with the widely used, peer-reviewed, and published RAPEL methodology and at the time applying other peer-reviewed, published methodologies, an earning capacity evaluation provides information regarding the plaintiff’s lost wages and diminished (or lost) future earning capacity arising from the injuries sustained in the event that is the subject of the litigation.
A plaintiff’s wage earning history may or may not be presumptive of their earning capacity prior to the event that is the subject of the litigation. The vocational experts at Vocational Diagnostics, Inc. provide an individual-specific analysis to provide an objective evaluation of a plaintiff’s ability to work and earn wages. A vocational expert is also used in Labor / Employment and Family Law / Domestic Relations, where the earning capacity of a spouse may be at issue.
An ECE can also be done in a wrongful death case. While many attorneys believe that a forensic economist is the only expert who is capable of doing such an analysis, that is incorrect; since an earnings history alone may not always be presumptive of earning capacity, it often falls to the vocational rehabilitation expert to first evaluate the earning capacity of a decedent prior to the forensic economist’s involvement in the case.
An ECE can be beneficial anytime a plaintiff claims a permanent physical or mental injury that could affect their ability to work.
Any claim for lost wages and the presence of a medical or psychological condition that could affect the plaintiff’s functional ability to work means that an ECE will probably be necessary.