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Do I Have to Attend a Workers Compensation FCE?

After a workers compensation injury, you will need some medical treatment to recover.  Once your workers compensation doctor determines that you have recovered about as much as your are going to recover, they may start talking about performing a test to determine what you can do.

At this point, your doctor may give you an order for a functional capacity evaluation or FCE.  It is also possible that you may receive notification of the functional capacity evaluation in a letter or email from the insurance company or your nurse case manager.

Man carrying heavy boxes What is a functional capacity evaluation?

Basically, a functional capacity evaluation (or FCE) is a test.  This test is normally performed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist.  The test attempts to determine what your functional capacities are.

What does that mean? It means what you can physically do:

  • How much weight can you lift?
  • How long can you sit, stand or walk?
  • How much weight can you carry and for how far?
  • Can you climb stairs or ladders?
  • Can you squat, kneel, bend?
  • Can you use your hands for repetitive activity?

To sum all that up, the test basically looks at any type of activity that you might do in a work environment.  To make these determinations, the therapist will run you through a bunch of shorter physical activities.  After the test, the therapist who performs your test should prepare a report that states the results of the testing.

How long does a functional capacity evaluation last?

Most functional capacity evaluations last two to four hours.  Some will be shorter and some will be longer.  On occasion, a functional capacity evaluation might be performed on more than one day, but this does not happen very often.

Why would my doctor order a functional capacity evaluation?

In a workers compensation case, one of the main questions is whether you can work and what sort of work you can do.  When your doctor orders an FCE, they are generally looking at what your limitations or restrictions should be when you return to a work environment.

There is some debate on how accurate FCEs are.  There are many different types of FCEs, and it is my experience that some are more accurate than others.

Regardless of how accurate FCEs are, many doctors like to use them in order to determine what your work restrictions should be.  Otherwise, doctors have to basically try to lay out those restrictions themselves.  That can be difficult to do.

Many doctors would rather rely on functional capacity evaluation tests to make that determination and then review and sign off on the test results.  By doing this, doctors still have an opportunity to review the FCE and determine whether they think the results are in line with their evaluation.

Could my workers compensation check stop because of the functional capacity evaluation results?

In a Georgia workers compensation case, the FCE results should not stop your check.  However, it is possible that the insurance company could us the FCE results to try to stop your check.

One way this could happen is by the us of validity testing from the FCE.  Most FCEs have validity testing which tries to determine whether you are giving your full effort during the FCE test.  If the validity testing determines that you did not give your full effort, the test results will likely come back invalid.

I have seen situations where an authorized treating physician releases someone to full duty work when an FCE is invalid.  A release to full duty work without restrictions by your authorized treating physician will probably allow the insurance company to file a Form WC-2 suspending your temporary total disability benefits.

Two men carrying cardboard boxes down stairs Do I have to attend the functional capacity evaluation?

The insurance company many not be able to force you to go to a functional capacity evaluation.  But, they may be able to suspend your benefits if you do not attend.

There are a couple of different ways that the insurance company might try to suspend your benefits.  First, they might argue that you have refused to cooperate with medical treatment and try to suspend your benefits based on a failure to cooperate.

Even if they do not make this argument, the insurance company could try to get the doctor to release you to full duty or to approve an unsuitable job after you refuse to go to the FCE.  There is certainly a risk that your doctor could release you if they are frustrated because you did not attend the FCE.

What if I have concerns about the FCE?

Many people have concerns about FCEs.  Some people worry about them being accurate.  Other people worry about getting hurt during the FCE test.

If you have concerns, it may be best to try to address these concerns instead of simply refusing the test.  There are at least a couple of different ways to address concerns:

  1. Make sure that the therapist performing the FCE is well qualified
  2. Be sure that the FCE protocol being used by the therapist is an accurate protocol
  3. Discuss your concerns about additional injury during the FCE with your doctor and the therapist who will perform the FCE

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

It took me probably too long to finally get a lawyer when my work comp claim started and I had no idea what I should do. I read reviews and upon recommendation of several people started the process of getting a lawyer. I am fortunate and lucky to have come across Perkins Studdard. Jason and his team has taken care of me since the moment I first called them and made sure any and all questions I had were answered as well as working hard to get me my settlement so I can continue receiving treatment. If you're looking for a good law firm to represent you in your worker's compensation case I would highly highly recommend this one.Autumn Fields
I highly recommend Perkins Law Firm. Throughout the whole process Perkins team kept me updated and explained everything very well. I am very pleased with their work. You will not be disappointed!!trina flornce
Mr. Perkins and team...Tina* they have all been so awesome. Always available to talk to me with any concerns. Kept me informed on my case all the way. Greatly appreciated!Missy Cherry
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team! -BrittneyBrittney-lee orourke
This law firm is very good at what it does the staff and the lawyer's that were involved with my case all were very perfesional and curious I couldn't ask for a better law firm I want to thank everyone for a great job thanks Les RyanLeslie Ryan
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.China Jones
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If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law. They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns. I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls. I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.moombi
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Great staff and very knowlegable. They treat you like family and work hard to get you what you need. Highly recommended.Josh Carter

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