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Things To Know Before Completing Your FCE

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Things To Know Before Completing Your FCE

Things To Know Before Completing Your FCEWorkers’ compensation covers most employees injured on the job in New York. Workers’ comp provides benefits for injured workers, including medical treatment and wage benefits. Generally, the benefits continue until the employee is able to return to full-time work.

However, some workers may sustain an impairment that prevents them from returning to work. There may be some disagreement about the severity of the impairment and how the condition restricts the worker’s ability to perform their job. In those situations, an FCE test may be necessary to evaluate the worker’s condition.

What Is an FCE in a New York Workers’ Compensation Case?

An FCE test (functional capacity evaluation) is used in workers’ compensation cases to evaluate a worker’s injuries. A physician often orders an FCE, but the employer, insurance company, or injured worker may request the evaluation.

The FCE evaluates the worker’s ability to perform the tasks required for their job. The evaluation helps your physician and the healthcare professional performing the FCE to determine if you have any physical limitations that prevent you from returning to work.

An FCE can also determine whether you may have permanent impairments that prevent you from performing any type of work to earn an income. If so, you could be entitled to permanent disability benefits.

You can refuse to take an FCE. However, refusing an FCE has consequences. You may lose your workers’ comp benefits for failing to participate in the evaluation.

What Happens During an FCE in a New York Workers’ Comp Case?

An FCE is conducted by a healthcare professional at a medical facility. A physical, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and athletic trainer are examples of healthcare providers who may perform your functional capacity evaluation.

The FCE should include standardized tests that are designed to be objective. The evaluator may use a variety of physical maneuvers, equipment, tools, and machines to perform the FCE. The abilities and tasks the FCE test evaluates include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical strength
  • Ability to walk, stand, and sit
  • Coordination and balance
  • Ability to lift, carry, and push weight
  • Range of motion and flexibility
  • Postural intolerances

A functional capacity evaluation may last a few hours or a couple of days. It depends on the specific tests being performed and how many tests are required to evaluate the worker’s ability to perform specific tasks required for their job.

Generally, the healthcare professional has a copy of the employee’s job description, including the job requirements. This description allows the evaluator to test for specific abilities.

The Evaluator Creates a Report for Your Workers’ Compensation Case

All parties involved in your workers’ comp case usually receive a copy of the FCE report. The report usually includes a copy of your job description and the tasks required to perform your job. It also includes a description of your injuries and current health condition.

The evaluator includes the results of each test performed during the FCE. The report may include information such as:

  • The need for additional occupational, physical, and/or vocational therapy
  • The limitations and restrictions caused by your condition
  • A discussion of each of your job tasks and how your injuries impact your ability to perform them
  • Medical treatments that could maintain or improve your condition
  • Whether the evaluator believes you can return to your job with or without restrictions
  • The types of tasks you could perform given your current impairments

The evaluator notes whether you are entirely disabled and unable to perform any gainful activity to earn income. However, the evaluator may determine that you are partially disabled, which is when your impairment allows you to perform some type of work or return to your job with restrictions. In that case, the evaluator may assign an impairment rating indicating your partial impairment.

Things You Should Know Before Completing Your FCE Test in New York City

There is no way you can prepare for your FCE physically. You need to be very honest about your physical condition. You should perform each task as instructed by the evaluator to the best of your ability.

Things you should know about your FCE include:

  • Be honest about your abilities and never exaggerate your impairment. The evaluator is trained to recognize when someone is intentionally underperforming.
  • If possible, do not take pain medications on the day of the FCE. Pain medication could mask your symptoms during the FCE. Therefore, you might appear to be able to perform tasks better than you could if you were not taking pain meds.
  • Arrive on time. If you are late, the evaluator might cancel or reschedule the FCE. Rescheduling the FCE could delay your workers’ comp case.
  • Dress in comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely, including comfortable shoes.
  • Always assume you are being watched from the moment you arrive at the medical facility until you leave.

The person conducting your FCE should be impartial. However, if the workers’ compensation insurance company requests the FCE, they might choose a pro-employer evaluator. If you dispute the results of an FCE, contact a New York City workers’ compensation lawyer. Your attorney can help you obtain an independent functional capacity evaluation to refute the evaluator’s findings.

How Does an FCE Impact My New York Workers’ Comp Case?

New York workers’ compensation laws provide benefits for injured workers. Workers’ comp pays for necessary and reasonable medical expenses. It also provides temporary total disability (TTD) if your injuries prevent you from working during your recovery.

If you are permanently impaired or disabled because of a workplace accident, you may receive permanent total disability (PTD) or permanent partial disability (PPD). The disability benefits you receive depend on the severity of your impairment. The FCE can be used to determine your disability rating.

Obtaining the correct impairment rating is crucial. The impairment rating directly impacts your disability benefits. If the FCE is incorrect, you might not receive the benefits you deserve.

Contact a New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help

If you have received notice of a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) or you have an impairment because of a workplace accident, a New York workers’ comp attorney can help. Call for a free consultation at (212) 564 2800 to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer at the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel, LLC

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