Should You Fear Functional Capacity Evaluations?

If you have suffered a work accident in North Carolina, the best case scenario is that, after excellent medical care you recover well enough to return to work without restrictions, meaning with the full work capacities you enjoyed before you were hurt.

The real world doesn’t always provide a happy ending. You could be suffering crippling back pains, but the rehabilitation nurse keeps insisting that you should return-to-work. You might be seriously tempted to exaggerate your symptoms just to get someone’s attention because the doctor isn’t listening to you.

That could be a costly mistake.

Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) have been designed to avoid this kind of conflict, to prevent fraud and to make sure the worker can go back to his or her job with or without restrictions. This means FCEs can help or hurt you, depending on the choices you make.

What is the purpose of Functional Capacity Evaluations in North Carolina?

FCEs measure objectively the level of function of an injured worker in order to:

Improve the likelihood that the worker can return safely to his or her work and task performance;

Identify functional restrictions;

Determine the degree of disability.

All three of these objectives are important to the worker and his or her compensation. Sadly, in many cases FCEs are used to uncover symptom magnification, in other words, exaggerated claims of pain and incapacity.

How do FCEs work?

FCEs take several hours, and the tests are supposed to reflect the injured worker’s job tasks. This means that the first important step is to get an accurate job description from the employer, and to agree on it. The person conducting the test should be a behavior and ergonomics specialist who can design custom-made tests to replicate the workload of a typical day or week.

FCEs are sophisticated simulators that register all the muscle power you apply on the various parts of the test equipment, and record all your verbal comments about difficulty and pain. Because it is a several hour long session, involving a lot of variations and repetitions, the analysis software will quickly highlight the inconsistencies, if any.

Doctors and insurance companies react very negatively to exaggerations and inconsistencies.

If you are heading towards a FCE, be honest, consistent and thorough. Be also quite specific about what you are unable to do and what hurts.

If you have been hurt at work contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-1671 or contact us online for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.