Suitable Alternate Employment And Your Labor Market Survey Meeting - Part 2
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This is Part 2 of a 4 Part Article
In this article we discuss your meeting with the Labor Market Survey person (read: vocational rehabilitation expert). This is Part 2 of a 4 Part article. Click here for Part 1 - Suitable Alternate Employment (Are You Doing Everything Possible In Order To Win Your LHWCA Case?)
This Is Your World Now
The way this goes down in the real world is the insurance company hires a vocational rehabilitation expert to conduct a labor market survey (LMS). You will meet with them in a interview type format. The LMS will identify specific jobs that you can perform. Then you are going to have to actually apply for these jobs.
You Need To Know The Rules
You need to understand that the LMS is a tool that the insurance company is trying to use in order to take food off your table. The LMS person's job is not to actually get you a job. Their goal is to reduce or eliminate your permanent disability award. At the end of the day they are going to point to specific jobs that they say are available to you. Then, you are going to need to actually apply for each respective job. In a way, it's all a game. But this game is your life now. Like all games - - whether it be football, baseball, card games or the Longshore system - - you need to know the rules of the game if you are going to have a chance at winning.
Meeting With The Labor Market Survey Person
You need to approach the your meeting with the LMS person (i.e., vocational rehabilitation expert) about like you would if you were picking up a rattle snake. In others words you need to be prepared and ready for the meeting.
Just because the LMS person is a snake, doesn't mean you are allowed to be rude. To the contrary, all of your dealings with this person will be reported to the Judge. You have to be pleasant and cooperative. That means, if the meeting is in person - - you need to make eye contact. You need to be engaging. Be polite and be nice. But don't let your guard down.
Getting Prepared For The Meeting
Generally, you should make a list of every job that you have ever performed. Write, "For My Attorney" at the top and initial and date the list. That way the document is a communication between you and your lawyer and is protected by the attorney client privilege. You need to do the best you can to indicate the dates of each employment. For shipyard workers and ship repair workers, your lawyer should have subpoenaed, sent a Demand to Produce and/or obtained your personnel file. Be sure, to look at the job application and make sure you cover each job that you previously listed on the employment application. You can rightfully assume that this information has been given to the insurance company lawyer and the defense vocational rehabilitation witness.
You need to state the date that you worked for each employer. If there are any gaps in employment, you need to be ready to explain them. Again, it really doesn't matter why you had the gaps. The important thing is that you are honest about them. If you were incarcerated, for example, you have to fess up to it. Otherwise, you will have lost your case. If the Judge sees you have lied, you have little chance to win your case. If you have lied in the past about these things, now is the time to own up to your past and tell the truth.
Next, you should indicate on the list why you left each respective job. As always, honesty is so important at this step. If you got fired from the job, you need to say so. If you resigned before you got fired, then you need to admit that also.
Next, you need indicate the physical requirements of each of the respective jobs. Then you need to be able to explain why your injuries, if appropriate, prevent you from performing each of these jobs. If you can not honestly say that you can't perform the job requirements of the job - - then you can expect for the LMS person to be pointing to similar jobs in the LMS. Don't lose sight of the number one objective - being honest.
This LHWCA article is not legal advice. I am simplistic in order to achieve clarity. Your Longshore case, situation or circumstances may differ from those described in this article. Whenever you bring a court case, your credibility is always at issue. Always tell the truth.
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