Workplace injuries are common — and anyone can find themselves dealing with a workers’ compensation claim sometimes in their life. In 2018 there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the United States. If you were among this number and were injured in the workplace, it’s important to know that you have rights to compensation, and can file a claim to receive wage loss benefits and medical care cost benefits. An FCE test is a critical part of the workers’ compensation claims process.
What Is an FCE Test?
An FCE test is a functional capacity evaluation taken by the injured employee in a workers’ compensation case. This evaluation is typically ordered by the physician who is seeing the patient. An FCE could also be ordered by an insurance adjuster, lawyer, or employer. Here are a few things you should know before completing an FCE test, as well as what happens if you have failed an FCE test.
Why Do I Need to Do an FCE Test?
If you have been injured on the job and have needed physical therapy in order to heal, you may need to complete an FCE test. An FCE test evaluates your physical abilities to see if there might be any limitations to you being able to perform the job you had before your injury. From the results of the test, your physician, or the healthcare professional evaluating you, can determine whether you can end physical therapy completely and go back to work. Depending on how you do on your FCE test, you might have permanent restrictions on work performance.
An FCE test is typically completed at the end of the physical therapy process. However, it could also be completed at any time that the patient is ordered to be released from care. An injured employee could also take an FCE test if they have not completed any physical therapy at all.
What Happens During an FCE Test?
An FCE test happens at a medical facility, such as a physical therapy center, and will be completed by a certified healthcare provider. This could be a physical therapist, a physician, or even an athletic trainer. The test normally takes about two to three hours. During the test, the physician will test a number of elements of your physical strength necessary to perform your job, including the following:
- Pulling, pushing, lifting, and carrying materials
- Squatting, walking, kneeling, reaching, standing, balancing, crawling, bending, sitting
- Measuring your muscle strength and range of motion in the areas affected by your injuries
What to Know Before Taking Your FCE Test
- Always act as though you are being observed. Your doctor is evaluating you to make sure your workers’ compensation claims are accurate, so you should always honestly display your symptoms display your symptoms. If you claim that you cannot walk without limping but then take painkillers to be able to walk briskly into the doctor’s office, your claim might be in trouble.
- Be honest during the examination. Part of the results of your examination have to do with whether the examiner believes you were making an honest effort during your test. They specifically look for signs that you are exaggerating your pain levels.
- Avoid taking pain medication before the exam. Pain medication helps you function even when you’re dealing with debilitating injuries. However, even over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen and ibuprofen could minimize the effects of your injury, and make the examiner think you feel better than you actually do.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing. The examination requires that you perform physical tasks for a couple hours, so make sure you’re wearing clothes that won’t prevent you from moving freely.
What If I Failed My FCE Test?
Once the test is over, your results will be compiled by the examination team and sent to your doctor. They then have the ability to approve the results and the recommendations for working restrictions. Be sure to review these restrictions thoroughly to understand exactly what is expected of you when you return back to work. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor.
You might think you’ve “failed” your FCE test if the examiner determines that you are unable to perform tasks essential to the work you did before your injury. The examination report might have such stringent restrictions that you won’t be able to go back to work at all, and will have to file for total disability. But even if you’ve received results like this, your case isn’t over. You still have the option to appeal the examination results. This might mean that you need to take the examination all over again.
How to Fight FCE Test Results
If you’re unhappy with the results of your FCE test, there is no need to feel at a loss for what to do next. The personal injury attorneys at Shook & Stone will work with you to ensure you completely understand the options available to you after you receive your FCE results. Each situation is unique, and our team can help you challenge a failed FCE test, fight for ongoing wage loss benefits, and find an employment situation that works best for your post-injury lifestyle. A workers compensation attorney can help.
Contact the attorneys at Shook & Stone to better understand the results of your FCE test. Call us at (844) 216-0111 or contact us online for a free case review.