When you’re in the middle of a workers’ compensation claim, there are several items you need to be aware of at all times (not the least of which is your physical and mental wellbeing). Aside from health, you also may have financial burdens, medical expenses, job pressure, and family stress. One area we often see clients struggle with is the legal element of a workers’ compensation claim. The process is long and arduous, with one of the capstones being the FCE. So, FCE: What is it and what does this evaluation mean for my workers’ compensation case?
FCE stands for Functional Capacity Evaluation, which is defined as a comprehensive medical assessment of an individual’s safe functional tolerances and physical limitations relative to work activities. The medical assessment usually consists of a series of tests to determine the injured worker’s capabilities and restrictions. These tests may include a variety of physical performance analysis points including:
- range of motion,
- physical strength,
- lifting ability to flexibility,
- and your ability to carry objects.
Once an FCE has been ordered, it usually means you are coming to an end of your treatment and the doctor is ready to send you back to work, with or without, restrictions depending on the FCE report. It’s in your best interest to try to complete each test to the best of your ability. The tests you undergo during a FCE are not only designed to determine what you are capable or restricted to do, but it’s also designed to show on the report if you were faking or not giving your best effort on any of the test as well. In the end, there is no “beating” an FCE so we tell our clients to do their very best and be vocal with the physician on how you are feeling during the testing.
After the FCE has been completed and the report has been provided to the treating physician, the doctor will review the FCE report with you. During this appointment with the doctor, it is important to express how you felt during, immediately after, and days after the testing. This will allow the doctor to get an understanding of how your body reacted long after the FCE was completed. Depending on the results, the doctor may write you back to work full duty, back to work with permanent restrictions, or back to work with restrictions for a short period of time.
Being ordered to complete an FCE can be a scary idea to injured workers, especially injured workers who are not being represented by an attorney to explain the process. If you have not hired an attorney at this point, we would suggest you look into doing so. As mentioned before, having an FCE be ordered usually means that your claim is coming to an end and settlement discussions will be in the near future. Having an attorney on your side during this process can help take the stress of the workers’ compensation system off of your shoulders and allow you to finish recovering.
Remember: your employer & their insurance company will have legal representation, so it is crucial that you do as well.
If you have any questions about an upcoming FCE or are simply looking for an attorney to help you with your workers’ compensation claim, please call us at 704-512-0606.