What to Expect During a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

author by James M. Hoffmann on Feb. 28, 2023

Employment Workers' Compensation Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: This article provides information about functional capacity evaluations (FCEs) that are ordered to determine a worker's physical abilities and limitations related to work. It answers frequently asked questions about FCEs, including who performs them, how they differ from regular medical examinations, whether an FCE is right for a claim, what to do if additional treatment is needed, how long the evaluation takes, and what happens after the evaluation is complete.


Were you injured at work and told you must attend a (Functional Capacity Exam) FCE? Are you wondering what an FCE is and what to expect? This article will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about FCEs.


What Is an FCE?

A functional capacity evaluation is a comprehensive examination of your physical abilities and limitations.


Who Performs an FCE?

An FCE is performed by a qualified medical professional, such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or chiropractor. 


How is an FCE Different from a Regular Medical Examination?

An FCE is different from a regular medical examination as it is explicitly focused on your abilities and limitations related to work. It's a comprehensive evaluation of your physical abilities and limitations, and it's designed to determine what kind of work you're capable of performing. On the other hand, a regular medical examination is more focused on diagnosing and treating specific health conditions.


Is a Functional Capacity Evaluation Right for My Claim?

The short answer is that if your doctor has ordered an FCE, it is likely that they believe it will help your case. An FCE is often used to determine the extent of your injuries and limitations and how they impact your ability to work. If you're seeking workers' compensation benefits, an FCE can provide valuable information to support your claim.


The Doctor Ordered a Functional Capacity Exam but I Need More Treatment. Should I Go to the Exam?

Yes, you should generally attend the FCE even if you need additional treatment. An FCE is essential to your workers' compensation claim, and it's important to provide as much information as possible about your abilities and limitations. Your medical treatment can continue after the FCE is complete.


How Long Will the Evaluation Take?

The length of an FCE varies, but it often takes between two and six hours. Your evaluator will conduct various tests, including physical tasks and strength assessments, to determine your abilities and limitations.


Can I Bring a Friend or Family Member to the FCE Appointment?

You can generally bring a friend or a family member to the FCE appointment. Having them by your side can provide support and help you feel more comfortable during the evaluation. Just be sure to let your evaluator know if you plan to bring someone with you so they can prepare accordingly.


What Happens After the FCE is Complete?

After the FCE is complete, your evaluator will provide a detailed report of their findings. This report will include information about your abilities and limitations and how they impact your ability to work. Your workers' compensation attorney can use this information to support your claim and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. If necessary, your attorney may arrange additional medical evaluations or expert witness testimony to help build a stronger case.


These evaluations are a critical part of the workers' compensation process. They can play a significant role in determining the compensation you receive. It's essential to take them seriously and prepare as best you can.


If you're currently dealing with a workers' compensation claim or are considering seeking compensation for a workplace injury, don't hesitate to reach out to The Law Office of James. M. Hoffman for assistance. We have over 30 years of experience representing workers injured on the job and can help you navigate the process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (314) 361-4300 to schedule a consultation.


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