If you have a suffered a work injury in Illinois, the best-case scenario is to receive excellent medical care and recover well enough to return to work without restrictions. Unfortunately not every case works that way.  Sometimes you get “better” but aren’t nearly as healthy as you used to be and can’t do your old job. When that happens, your doctor will often recommend a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE).

So what is a Functional Capacity Evaluation? The FCE is a series of tests used to evaluate your work-related physical abilities. If one has been ordered for you, it usually means that you are coming to an end of your treatment and the doctor is ready to send you back to work depending on the FCE report which will make clear what restrictions you need.

An FCE is an objective test that can take up to eight hours.  It simulates many of the job tasks you have to do.  In other words, this is a test you will have to go through it you are a laborer with a serious injury, but are less likely to take if you are in a desk job. The evaluator will test a variety of physical performances critical to an employee’s job including:

• Push and pull strength
• Overall strength
• Lifting ability
• Flexibility
• Stamina
• Range of motion
• Ability to carry objects
• Any abilities related to the employees job

It is very important for the employee undergoing the FCE to be very honest, consistent and specific about what he/she is able to do and what hurts and use their best effort. The FCE’s are only as good as the data that received. In addition, the FCE could hurt an employee’s case if they try to exaggerate their symptoms. This could be a costly mistake as the FCE has been designed to avoid any fraud.  There are actually parts of the test where you will lift identical weights that look like they’d be much different.  If you are able to do the one that looks light without problem, but struggle with the one that looks heavy it will look like you are faking your symptoms.

Following the FCE, a report will be generated. A successful FCE test report will address an employees’ functional limitations, any additional rehabilitation needed, the employee’s ability to return to work and if so what tasks they will be able/unable to perform. This report provided by your doctor will ultimately determine the next course of action.

If your injury is serious enough to require a FCE, you need an attorney.  Whether it’s our firm or someone else, a good attorney in a case like this could be the difference of tens of thousands of dollars when it comes to the ultimate settlement.  If you’d like to ask questions about a FCE or discuss getting help with a case anywhere in Illinois, please do not hesitate to contact us.