What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?

A Functional Capacity Evaluation, or FCE, is a test that is performed at the end of treatment to determine what, if any, restrictions a worker has in terms of the ability to perform his or her job. These tests usually require a prescription from a doctor, although the initial recommendation may come from your attorney, the insurance company or your employer.

Once your doctor declares that you are as good as you are going to get, there may still be questions about your ability to do your job as fully as you once did. Many times, workers fully recover from their work injuries and this isn’t a question. Or perhaps the job is not physically demanding and the issue doesn’t really come up. In other cases, however, an FCE is an important step in finalizing your claim.

The evaluator will assess what your job duties are and then test your ability to perform them. For example, if you have to lift heavy boxes, the evaluator will test your ability to lift and look at any limitations you might have. This information is not only useful for you and your employer but it can help in settling your case, as well. If you have a permanent injury or restriction, it can affect the value of your case. Even if it’s clear to you that you cannot fully perform your job any longer, the insurance company is not going to take your word for it. An FCE can back up your claims.

An FCE is a pivotal step in your workers’ compensation claim. Make sure you have an experienced attorney guiding you through the process.

We are workers' compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

1/11/13

Hey Kids, Don't Do Drugs

Illinois workers’ compensation laws changed last year. One of the changes that was pushed by legislators was that if you failed a drug test following a job injury, you couldn’t get work comp benefits unless you proved that you weren’t impaired when it happened. It’s a dumb law change because under the old laws, if you were high on drugs or drunk when you got hurt and that caused your injury, you would lose your benefits. So basically it was a law change that sounded good, but wasn’t needed.

All that said, some insurance companies are using this change to flat out deny benefits. We had a worker call us who broke his hand. 20 days earlier he had smoked pot and as a result he failed his drug test. Smoking pot three weeks ago had nothing to do with the injury whatsoever. But the insurance company denied his case for the simple reason that he failed the test. So now we have to go to trial and have the client testify that he hadn’t smoked for three weeks. We may have to hire a doctor to testify that smoking pot three weeks ago wouldn’t hurt you today. And while I fully expect us to win, our client is going to be without benefits for a few months until that happens. He is fortunate in that he has a little nest egg saved up, but others aren’t as lucky.

In general I could care less if anyone does drugs. As long as you don’t get behind the wheel of an automobile, what you do on your own time is your own business as far as I’m concerned. But when it comes to helping an injured worker in Illinois, my advice is that you should never do drugs. It can really screw up your case and if you have a minor injury you’ll probably never find an attorney who is willing to take the case on.

Of course when you are partying you aren’t thinking about getting hurt on the job, so I don’t expect anyone to follow my advice. But this is part of insurance companies doing their job. They make money by figuring out a way to pay you or to pay you less than they are supposed to. Any time they do that successfully it’s a huge win for them. So if you do work a job where they drug test after an accident, please realize that one fun night might really screw up your life

We are workers' compensation attorneys who help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

2/14/12