Top 3 Tips: Workers Compensation FCE (Functional Capacity Evaluation)

Florida workers compensation insurance carriers may require you to undergo what is referred to as an FCE.  The purpose of the FCE is to determine your functional capacity from a physical standpoint.  Questions regarding what you are capable of doing physically are what this test is supposed to answer.  However, an FCE in workers compensation cases is a test that can have a negative impact on your claim and entitlement to benefits.  Here are some particularly important tips to know about the test:

  1. You are likely have diodes placed on your body during the test.  These are the small suction cups attached to your body with tape to measure your pulse during the test.  Why would the workers compensation insurance company want to measure your pulse during an FCE?  An argument often heard from the insurance carriers is that the person put forth “sub maximal effort.”  What that means is that you really didn’t try.  Measuring your pulse rate is a means the workers compensation insurance carriers try to use to show that you weren’t actually putting forth effort because your pulse rate was low when it should have been higher.  It is important to attend the FCE and perform the tests to the best of your ability.  Performing to the best of your ability does not mean to engage in physical conduct that is beyond the restrictions you may currently have from your authorized treating physician.  Your “authorized treating physician,” is the doctor you see through the workers compensation carrier.  The opinions of any other doctor are generally not admissible in your workers compensation case.  If you have opinions from other doctors regarding your restrictions, it is best to discuss those with us before your FCE takes pace.  We can be reached by phone at (727) 853-6275.  If you are asked to perform a task that is beyond the restrictions you’ve been given from your authorized doctor
  2. Mentioning when any activity is difficult, painful, or otherwise something that you would not be capable of performing on a regular basis. A functional capacity evaluation can last from one to four hours.  During that time, you are asked to perform a wide variety of physical tasks.  The important thing to realize is that the test only consumes what would be a fraction of time in comparison to a full work day.  Determining what you can lift, pull, or otherwise do for the duration of the test is not representative of what you may have to lift, pull, or otherwise do for a regular 8 hour shift.  So, telling the person administering the test of symptoms you’re experiencing during the test is important.  We are not suggesting that you engage in making complaints at the slightest bit of discomfort or otherwise throughout the test.  We are suggesting that those who make sure the test administrator makes a note of their capabilities and inabilities can help towards providing an accurate FCE result.  The unfortunate truth is that most FCE results will not be accurate.  They are used for purposes in connection with ending the person’s eligibility or entitlement to worker’s compensation benefits.  Common purposes of an FCE are to establish that the person has reached Maximum Medical Improvement, is capable of working at a certain job, or within certain physical limitations that are over and above the restrictions provided by their authorized treating physician.  Another common use is to try and establish that the person is not permanently and totally disabled.  We have means of addressing the results from an FCE and working to discredit the results of a test that is not an accurate reflection of the person’s physical abilities.  If you’ve had an FCE and been provided with results you don’t agree with, please contact us for a free consultation (727) 853-6275.
  3. If we represent you, make sure to inform us of how you feel the day after the FCE. If we do not represent you, make sure to inform the adjuster and your treating physician of how you feel after the FCE.   An FCE will often require that you undergo physical exertions that are particularly difficult to perform.  In putting forth the effort necessary to complete the examination, individuals can exacerbate the symptoms from their injury or injuries.  It’s important to make note of such symptoms because they are indicative of what would occur if you were to perform the same physical tasks you completed during the examination on a daily basis.   FCE reports are often routinely generated to benefit workers compensation insurance companies by minimizing or dismissing injuries, and minimizing any physical limitations.  Arguing that an injury lacks it’s true significance is done to try and decrease the costs associated with the necessary treatment for that injury.   Minimizing physical limitations is done to argue that the person is capable of working and not entitled to wage loss benefits; another attempt at saving costs in a worker’s compensation claim.

Consultations regarding your worker’s compensation case, or any of the other areas in which we practice, are free.  Contact the Dolman Law Group for a free case evaluation by calling (727) 853-6275 now. 

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275