Case Records – Do We Have What It Takes?

We realize it is not always possible to provide a complete set of records when referring a case for a vocational assessment or life care plan. Records tell a story, and in order for us to provide a comprehensive assessment, having a complete set of documents in our possession prior to rendering our opinions is crucial. In general, the more information we have early in the process, the better able we are to see the whole story.

After records arrive, we can get the file opened, begin our review, and determine if any additional information is needed such as a medical consultation, second medical opinion, FCE, etc. This is particularly important when the assignment is a RUSH (less than 30 days for vocational and less than 45 days for life care plans).

In determining how soon we need to get an evaluation scheduled and records reviewed, we consider:

  • The discovery or cutoff for expert reports; not only our own but those that rely on our report such as an economist. In order for the economist to complete their work, we usually have to get our report in one week earlier than their deadline.

  • Whether a mediation or settlement conference is scheduled and when. We need to prepare our information in order to assist you with a successful mediation or settlement conference.

There are times when we do not have the opportunity to conduct an interview or assessment of the evaluee, and in these cases, our opinions are based on a record review, research, and our knowledge of best practices. In these cases, it is paramount that all records are received in a timely fashion in order for us to effectively and efficiently complete a report.

For vocational referrals where employment outlook is assessed, it is extremely helpful to review records to determine if physical restrictions have been outlined. Likewise, when assessing earning potential, it is helpful to have received tax and earnings records. Additionally, having educational and/or school transcripts are beneficial if determining an evaluee’s potential career path and training potential. These types of records may take time to acquire, so requesting these documents from the proper source early on will help us do our job well.

When developing a life care plan or medical cost analysis, it is essential to have file records at the time of referral or shortly thereafter so we will be in a position to determine if additional medical information is warranted to assist with our opinions or if a consultative evaluation is needed.

When referring vocational assessments or life care plans, consider the following:

  • Do I have all the file material ready to send to the expert? (See our Document Checklist)

  • Do I need to obtain school records or transcripts?

  • Do I need to order earnings records such as tax returns and or Social Security earnings records?

Receiving file materials and essential documents early save us time, reduce inefficient billing, and ultimately help with a smoother workup of your case.

We offer complimentary consultations concerning "hypothetical matters." To strategize with one of our experts at Stokes & Associates, please call David Barrett at 504-454-5009 or email

Larry S. Stokes, Ph.D.
Aaron Wolfson, Ph.D.
Todd Capielano, M.Ed., LRC, CRC, LPC, CLCP