If you have been injured on the job in Georgia, you have a right to pursue a workers compensation claim to ensure that you receive medical treatment for your injuries. To have a successful claim, of course, you have to follow all of the rules. These rules dictate that you must see a workers comp approved doctor, follow work restrictions, and sometimes even submit to a Functional Capacity Evaluation, or FCE.
If you are nearing the end of your medical treatment, you might be asked to participate in an FCE before you can resolve your workers compensation claim. An FCE is a comprehensive physical test that attempts to determine whether or not you are physically able to perform your job duties, or if you need to return to work with modified job requirements. This test is usually performed by your doctor or physical therapist once you have been cleared to return to work. The FCA will ideally determine any limitations or conditions you may have after sustaining an injury. However, it is not always in your best interest to submit to an FCE.
What does the FCE consist of?
The test consists of an in depth questionnaire that asks you to respond to detailed questions about your pain as well as actual physical tests meant to gauge your physical wellness. The physical tests consist of real and simulated work tasks, and sometimes you are even asked to perform activities of daily living.
The test consists of lifting, pushing and pulling, squatting, endurance activities, carrying, sitting and standing, walking, crawling, and kneeling. The injured worker is asked to describe his or her pain level at various times during the test.
Do I have to take an FCE?
Not always. If you are asked to do so as part of your workers compensation claim, you should notify your attorney. If you do not have an attorney and are trying to handle your claim on your own, this would be a good time to consult a lawyer. Going into an FCE unaware of all of the pros and cons of taking the test could hurt your workers comp claim.
- During the physical exercises, the doctor or therapist performing the test will ensure you know the proper way to safely bend, lift, etc.
- This is a good opportunity to put your body to the test and see if you are ready to return to work.
- If the results of an FCE show that you are not ready to return to work, this will ensure you receive indemnity, or lost wage, payments until you are ready to go back.
- Pain is subjective, and pain differs from one person to the next. Description of pain level is not a good way to determine if someone is ready to return to work yet or not.
- The repetitive nature of the physical tests can be exhausting, and more exertion than any person would normally face in one day.
- While you are required to perform many physical activities, you don’t actually do your job, and the exercises don’t really test your ability to do your real job over an extended period of time.
- Some Claimants have aggravated their injuries attempting to complete FCEs.
If you have been asked to take a Functional Capacity Evaluation, make sure you speak with your attorney first. Your lawyer will want to know what exactly the test will entail, what it will be looking for, and what your doctor hopes to learn from the results.
Be informed. Be aware. Be prepared.
Ty Wilson is a Georgia workers compensation attorney, with offices in Savannah and Atlanta, who provides free information to the injured and the families of the injured. Visit tywilsonlaw.com to order his FREE Georgia workers compensation “Special Reports” and to read his many articles and to watch his videos.
If you have specific questions for a workers compensation attorney in Georgia, give Ty at call 912-508-4711 in Savannah or 770-948-5454 in Atlanta.