What Happens After a Functional Capacity Exam?

Submitted by pec on Thu, 05/18/2023 - 08:40

Are you seeking workers’ compensation benefits after being injured or becoming ill at work? If so, you’ll likely have to complete a Functional Capacity Exam (FCE). The following overview will explain what an FCE exam is, the role it may play in your case, and what may happen after you complete this step in the process.

What Is an FCE Exam?

A workplace injury or illness can negatively impact your ability to perform certain work duties. The purpose of an FCE is to evaluate the degree to which you are physically able to perform various work tasks. Factors an FCE might account for include:

  • Strength/lifting capacity
  • Coordination and balance
  • General endurance

It’s important to be honest when answering any questions during an FCE. If you don’t, the individual administering the exam might conclude you can safely perform physically demanding work tasks when this might not actually be the case.

What Happens After an FCE Exam?

A therapist who evaluates you during an FCE will complete their report once you’ve finished the exam. The report should summarize how your injury or illness has affected your ability to do your job.

Multiple parties and individuals may receive copies of the FCE report once the evaluating therapist has completed it. These include:

  • Any physicians treating you
  • Your employer
  • Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer

Your doctor and employer will coordinate to determine what the findings in the FCE report indicate about your ability to work. Depending on the circumstances, you might return to work right away, you might need to recover before returning to work, or you might return to work in a role that involves duties different from those you typically performed in the past.

Is a Settlement Determined By a FCE?

An FCE alone won’t determine the amount of money you receive from a workers’ compensation settlement. That said, it can influence your settlement amount.

Workers’ compensation benefits serve to compensate victims of workplace accidents and work-related illnesses for their relevant financial losses. This may include lost wages if an applicant can’t return to work (whether temporarily or permanently).

An FCE report may indicate you can’t return to your job until you’ve made a full recovery. If so, these findings will affect your settlement amount.

Get Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Be aware that an insurance company won’t always accept an FCE report as being the final word on a workers’ compensation applicant’s condition. If the insurance company disputes the evaluating therapist’s findings, they might require an applicant to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME) before agreeing to a settlement amount.

This highlights one of many reasons it is often wise to enlist the help of an attorney when seeking workers’ compensation benefits. A lawyer may help you navigate all steps in the process, while also providing aggressive representation if an insurance company is not willing to offer the benefits for which you might be eligible. To learn more about how an independent workers’ compensation lawyer who subscribes to the website could assist you, complete the Free Case Evaluation today.