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Functional Capacity Evaluations in Workers’ Compensation Cases

When it comes to workers’ compensation claims in California, Functional Capacity Evaluations or FCEs are used to assess an injured worker’s impairment and/or permanent disability.  The results of the evaluation may also be used to determine whether the injured worker requires medical care and whether they will be able to return to work.  The following are some frequently asked questions regarding Functional Capacity Evaluations.

Q:  What is the purpose of a Functional Capacity Evaluation?

A:  A Functional Capacity Evaluation is typically used to gather information regarding an injured worker’s work abilities, functional loss, the nature and extent of their injury, any work restrictions, and whether the injured worker’s complaints are valid.  The evaluation is conducted by an FCE Technician, and it usually consists of inquiries about the worker’s abilities and may even request that the worker perform certain physical tasks.  Some of these tasks might include those that test a worker’s capacity with respect to pushing, lifting, standing, pulling, walking, reaching, flexibility, grasping, bending, holding, and balancing.

Q:  Who typically requests that an FCE is performed?

A:  In workers’ compensation cases in California, injured workers usually deal with a number of different physicians.  Some of these doctors include their treating physician, a qualified medical evaluator, or agreed medical evaluators.  Any one of these doctors may ask that an FCE be performed in order to help them with completing their own evaluations and reports.

Q:  What are some of the reasons why a doctor might request an FCE?

A:  Doctors oftentimes request that an FCE is performed in order to address a variety of issues and/or to assist them with making their own assessments.  FCEs can be used to determine an injured worker’s need for medical care, whether they have a permanent impairment or permanent disability, and whether they will be able to return to work.  An FCE can provide a doctor with more information about the injured worker than what is obtained during a general workers’ compensation evaluation which typically is just a quick office visit where a physical exam is conducted.  The FCE provides a doctor with more detailed data that they can thereafter use to offer their medical-legal opinions on the worker’s injuries.

Q:  What are some ways that an FCE might affect an injured worker’s case?

A:  As mentioned above, an FCE is typically used to address issues regarding an injured worker’s need for medical treatment, whether they have a disability or impairment, and/or whether they will have the ability to return to work.  The results of an FCE can help provide information as to whether an injured worker has reached permanent stationary status or Maximum Medical Improvement; can impact the evaluation of whether the worker is impaired; can address whether an injured worker will be in need of rehabilitation or additional treatment; and, an FCE can help evaluate whether an injured worker can return to work and/or whether they will require work restrictions or modifications.


Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in California

If you or someone you know has sustained a workplace injury or has suffered an illness while on the job, you might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under California’s workers’ compensation law.  Albert E. Hirst, III, has many years of experience handling the cases of injured workers and he has the knowledge, skills, and the resources necessary to help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve.  Call our office today at (909) 885-7190 to schedule your free initial consultation and discover what we can do to help you.