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In the course of your treatment after a workplace accident, you will likely be asked to undergo a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). This test is often an unavoidable part of obtaining the workers’ compensation you’re entitled to. Unfortunately, your FCE doctor may not always deliver the report you are hoping for.

If your functional capacity evaluation doesn't go well, it puts you at risk of missing out on the workers’ compensation that you deserve and that your family needs. A Virginia workers’ comp attorney can assist you with filing your workers’ comp claim, help you prepare for your FCE evaluation, and help you fight back when your workers’ compensation money is reduced by an FCE outcome. 

Understanding FCEs

Workplace injuries can take many forms. Sometimes, they’re minor, leading to a swift return to work and a full recovery. Other times, injuries are more serious. They might require significant healing time and ongoing medical procedures before a worker is able to return to their job. In severe cases, a workplace injury can lead to full or partial disability.

All workplace injuries share a common trait: according to Virginia law, your employer’s workers’ compensation provider must pay your medical bills and lost wages until you can return to work. Paying a worker’s wages while they recover from injuries can be expensive.

Functional capacity evaluations, or FCEs, serve as a way to confirm that a worker really needs the recovery time they’re asking for. As part of the claims process, your workers’ compensation provider can require you to attend an evaluation by a doctor. You usually cannot visit your regular doctor for an FCE and will probably have to see one chosen by the insurance company.

The workers’ comp provider uses the results of your functional capacity examination to identify whether your injuries are genuine and really merit the amount of recovery time you’re seeking.

Key Components of a Functional Capacity Evaluation

There are two basic types of functional capacity examinations. One is a general examination, which is more often used for long-term disability claims. This type is usually employed for individuals seeking disability benefits through Social Security. When you’re going through the workers’ comp claims process, it’s more likely you’ll have to undergo an occupational FCE, also called a job-specific FCE.

Your FCE examiner’s task is to identify whether you’re physically able to perform the work duties expected of you. Exactly what types of tests they’ll ask you to perform during the evaluation will depend on the nature of your job. For example, some people have sedentary jobs, which only involve light lifting and sitting for hours at a time. Other jobs involve a high level of physical exertion.

Your examination will be tailored to your job responsibilities. In any FCE, the examiner will ask you to perform a number of standard tests to identify your overall physical ability. They might evaluate your ability to grip objects, walk for specific distances, carry heavy objects, and perform other physical tasks.

How a Functional Capacity Evaluation Can Impact Your Workers’ Comp Claim

Your functional capacity evaluation is what the workers’ compensation carrier uses to identify whether your injuries merit the amount of time off work you're asking for. If your FCE goes well, there might not be any problems. However, if your FCE contradicts your doctor’s instructions or your own knowledge of your current physical abilities, you have a problem.

You can end up losing the workers’ comp coverage you need. A bad FCE also puts you at risk of being required to return to work before you’re ready. In this case, you might end up having to choose between losing your job and returning to work before you should, which can make your injuries even worse.

Challenging the Results of an FCE

The best way to get the most out of your workers’ compensation coverage is to hire a Virginia workers’ comp lawyer to handle your case from beginning to end. Workers’ comp claims are complicated. As a result, it can be hard to know how much your case is worth when you don’t have a legal background.

The value of workers’ comp settlements ranges widely, but one commonality is that injured workers without legal representation often end up accepting a much lower settlement than they deserve. A lawyer helps ensure that your best interests are protected from the start.

If you have undergone an FCE and obtained unfavorable results, you should not waste any time. A bad FCE often means that you’re about to lose the coverage you need. A Virginia workplace injury lawyer can help you with the process of challenging the results of an FCE. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Functional Capacity Evaluations

How Long Does an FCE Take?

Injured workers are often surprised by how rigorous an FCE is. A functional capacity exam often takes around three hours, not including time spent at the examiner’s office before and after the test is complete.

Will Exaggerating My Injuries Help My FCE Results?

Exaggerating your injuries will probably harm your FCE results. FCE examiners are experienced doctors. During an exam, they’ll be looking for signs of inconsistency or dishonesty. Always be truthful about your medical background and current physical ability.

How Much Do Virginia Work Injury Lawyers Cost?

Most work injury lawyers work on the agreement that you only have to pay for legal services if they win your case. If you hire a job injury lawyer, their payment will come out of the compensation they win for you.

Speak With a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

Commonwealth Law Group is a Virginia injury law firm that specializes in workplace injury claims. We can assist you in all parts of the workers’ comp claims process, from submitting your initial claim to challenging your FCE results.

Don’t wait to protect your finances after a workplace injury. Call Commonwealth Law Group today to schedule a consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Virginia.

If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.