Posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 at 2:00 pm
A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is oftentimes performed in both Virginia and North Carolina Workers’ Compensation cases. It is typical performed once the injured worker has reached MMI (maximum medical improvement) as determined by his or her authorized treating physician.
The purpose of the FCE test is to determine the severity of a physical impairment. It is used to evaluate the extent of the impairment, the likelihood of the success of future treatments, and mostly the ability of the worker to do his or her job. The test is usually performed by an occupational or other physical therapist – someone who understands how impairments impact various occupations. It usually lasts several hours, and sometimes even takes two office visits to complete.
Attorney Joe Miller has been advising injured workers for over a quarter century. Part and parcel of this advice is explaining some procedures such as functional capacity exams (FCEs) that are done for evaluation purposes only. He helps the client prepare for the exam by informing the worker what to expect and how to prepare for the exam ahead of time. It is his attention to all the little details and his strong advocacy that has enabled him to help thousands of injured workers obtain significant recoveries.
The physical therapist will typically examine the following:
The entire test can take several hours. The employee will be asked to perform many tasks such as bending, carrying objects, walking, climbing, pulling, fingering, kneeling, talking, testing his/her range of motion, balance, and other work factors. The occupational or physical therapist will tackle the limitations from many vantage points such as sitting and standing.
The physical therapist will typically then use the standards set forth by the U.S Department of Labor’s guidelines to rate the employee’s work capabilities based on the testing performed.
The test is sent to the treating physician. The employer or insurance pays the FCE professional so it is crucial to review what happens with your attorney before you attend the evaluation. The physical therapist and employer is looking to see if you are faking or exaggerating your physical difficulties.
WARNING: There are some known FCE facilities that are “rigged” against employees, so it is critical that you inform your attorney as to the FCE facility where you are referred as soon as possible. Your attorney may be able to get the facility switched, especially if your treating doctor did not specify the facility where the testing will be performed in his or her referral.
The lawyer will explain what happens, what your rights are, and that you should not be a hero – you should say what hurts you and where. In some cases, particularly in North Carolina, your attorney may ask for a reevaluation of the FCE if the disability rating by the doctor appears to be incorrect. Your attorney will work hard so the FCE professional has the correct job description and that the facility is known as one that conducts unbiased testing.
How the FCE is used
The employer and insurance company are seeking to get you back to work as soon as they can so they can stop making benefit payments. North Carolina and Virginia lawyer Joe Miller has the experience and skills to fight early returns to work. He also understands how permanent impairment ratings should help you not hurt you. If you were hurt on the job, call attorney Joe Miller for help at 888-667-8295. You can also complete his online form for an appointment.