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Figured Law Firm Wilkes Barre Workers Compensation Lawyer
  • Premier Workers' Compensation & Personal Injury Law Firm
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How The Results Of A Functional Capacity Evaluation Could Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Case


Injured employees are often asked, at some point during their recovery, to undergo a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). The results of these examinations can go a long way towards proving that an employee isn’t able to return to work, even on a modified basis. Results can also, however, be misread in such a way that an employee is deemed fit for work, even when he or she is still recovering. How the results of an FCE could affect a person’s claim for benefits will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, so if you were hurt at work and have questions about your own FCE results, it is important to reach out to an experienced Wilkes Barre workers’ compensation lawyer who can help strengthen your claim.

What is an FCE?

The Functional Capacity Evaluation exam is a comprehensive test that is ultimately designed to tell insurers and employers whether an injured employee can perform the tasks associated with his or her job. FCEs are made up of two parts, the first of which requires the completion of material handling tasks, such as lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling, as well as positional tolerance levels for sitting, standing, walking, reaching, balancing, and gripping. Both aspects of these physical tasks, as well as job specific testing, are then used to indicate an injured employee’s:

  • Stamina;
  • Range of motion;
  • Strength; and
  • Tolerance for performing certain tasks.

The second half of the assessment is known as validity testing and is used to measure how hard a person has to work to complete certain tasks. To this end, the physical therapist or physician conducting the test will note an employee’s effort level and capability in completing a specific task. Eventually, all of this data will be used to determine what tasks an employee is physically capable of completing while at work.

The Importance of FCE Results

The results of this test are typically included in a lengthy report, which is provided to the patient’s doctor, who can then use that report in justifying temporary or permanent restrictions for an employee. A test result could, for instance, indicate that an employee cannot return to his or her former job duties, which require heavy lifting, but can perform modified duties on a part-time basis. An employer or insurer could also, however, try to convince a judge to interpret the results in a way that reveals that an employee can return to work with no need for modifications or workers’ compensation benefits. In either case, the FCE results will become a permanent part of a person’s workers’ compensation record and so can play an important role in the outcome of a case, even later on down the road.

Were You Injured at Work?

If you were asked by your employer, your employer’s insurer, or your doctor to undergo an FCE and have questions about the results of that test and how they could impact your workers’ compensation claim, please call experienced the Figured Law Firm at 570-954-9299 to speak with Wilkes Barre workers’ compensation lawyer Keith Figured about your concerns.


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