After medically treating for an extended period of time or being on workers compensation wage loss benefits for a period of time, your doctor may discuss with you the possibility of undergoing a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). That brings confusion for injured workers. What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation? How does it impact your workers’ compensation case?
First and foremost, the FCE is a test designed to determine your level of physical function. It is performed by a physical therapist. Many times, the test can last up to four to six hours and examines your ability to perform tasks, such as lifting, reaching, walking, carrying, bending, walking, standing, balancing, among other activities. The FCE specifically tries to determine what level of work you can perform. Specifically, it will address whether you are sedentary (sit down), light duty, medium duty, or heavy duty. The FCE is meant to determine the stamina, range of motion, strength and tolerance for carrying out work activities. Your doctor may want to place restrictions consistent with the FCE report that is generated form your FCE. These tests can be repetitive with adjustments in weight, intensity, speed, etc . . . until such time that you cannot physically perform the task. The FCE can also help your doctor determine the permanency of your work restrictions.
Second, it is important for you to give maximum efforts while undergoing the FCE. Physical therapists are trained to evaluate effort. A section within the FCE report will advise on test validity. It will opine whether you gave maximum effort throughout the testing. If maximum effort was provided and the injured worker is restricted, it can serve to bolster your doctor’s restrictions and opinions. In almost every case in litigation, your doctor will undergo a deposition by the attorneys in your case. An FCE can be used by your doctor to support their testimony on restrictions or permanency of restrictions. It can certainly be used to help invalidate job offers made to injured workers in modification or suspension petitions. Likewise, a lack of effort noted in the report will most certainly be used by the insurance carrier against you and the results of the FCE.
If you have been injured at work and have discussed an FCE with your doctor, make sure you are protected throughout the process. If you have had a modification, suspension, or termination petition filed in your workers’ compensation case, you need legal counsel. Your benefits are in direct threat. Most certainly, if you have been scheduled for an “Independent Medical Examination”, again, you need legal counsel. Mooney Law has collected tens of millions of dollars in workers benefits for injured workers throughout Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. We don’t just settle cases, we fight cases! We are a full litigation law firm. Call Mooney Law today for a FREE consultation regarding your work injury. Call today at 717-200-HELP or 717-632-4656.