What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?

functional capacity evaluationsIf you have been injured in a car accident in Ontario, you may be eligible for accident benefits. These accident benefits are paid by your own car insurer, regardless of fault. Should you be unable to work for some time, these benefits could include income-replacement benefits.

However, in certain cases, your insurer may require that you undergo an independent medical examination to continue receiving income-replacement benefits. There could be more than one type of examination conducted. This could include a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), which tests an injured victims ability to perform a series of routine tasks to determine whether you can return to work.

Below, we discuss the benefits of these evaluations and how to prepare for an FCE if you are asked to attend one by your insurer. Find out more about your rights during a free, no-obligation consultation.  

Understanding Functional Capacity Evaluations

FCE’s are a series of standardized tests conducted by a licenced health care provider with extensive experience in rehabilitation and physical therapy. The tests would evaluate your physical impairment caused by the injuries suffered in the accident. An FCE may take several hours to a couple of days based on the extent of your injury and the number of abilities that need to be tested.

During an FCE, you will be asked to perform various activities, positions and tasks. This may include:

  • Your ability to stand, sit, and crouch or kneel
  • Your ability to walk or climb stairs
  • Your ability to lift and carry items
  • Your pushing and pulling power
  • Your grip strength
  • Your range of motion and flexibility
  • Your balance

The health care provider will ask about your pain level while performing these tasks. He or she will evaluate if you walk with a limp, can stand upright as well as your muscle tone, reflexes and endurance.

Your medical history will also be reviewed to look at how your injury happened, the treatments you have undergone, and the kinds of activities that affect your symptoms. Other injuries may be identified during the tests that may require additional treatment and examination by a medical professional.

By assessing your functional capabilities, the insurer could determine if you are able to return to your previous job prior to the accident or if you are able to return to some form of work. Insurers often use FCE’s because they consider the testing to be an objective measurement of one’s physical abilities.

Ways FCE’s Can Be Beneficial in Car Accident Cases

FCE’s can be beneficial in car accident cases for several reasons. For your insurer and/or lawyer, requesting one could help evaluate whether you have a permanent functional limitation or disability. Being able to establish that your accident injuries are permanent is critical since it would affect the compensation amount you could recover.

An FCE can be used to determine related damages in the following ways:

  • It could show that your injuries are preventing you from returning to work or returning to your previous job, which has resulted in loss of wages and loss of future earning potential
  • It could show that your injuries are causing functional limitations that affect your daily life
  • It could show that your injuries are causing ongoing pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life
  • It could establish the need for continued rehabilitation, physical therapy or other treatment

An FCE can also be requested by the at-fault party’s insurer to assess if you do have a permanent injury and that you are not exaggerating your injuries. The tests would also establish if there are things you could do to help improve physical function. Failure to do an FCE could result in reduced compensation.

What If My Insurer Asks Me to Attend an FCE?

If you have already been asked to undergo an FCE, there are certain things you could do to help avoid a termination of your benefits:  

  • Make sure to bring any requested documentation to the testing site.
  • Be honest about the pain you are experiencing and the functional limitations these symptoms are causing for you on a daily basis.
  • Inform the health care provider about how your injury happened and discuss your level of function and activity prior to the accident.
  • Refrain from doing a task or activity that causes you harm or that you have been told by your treating doctor not to perform. For instance, not lifting more than 10 to 15 lbs. during the tests.
  • Write down how you are feeling and any discomfort experienced during and after the tests.

It is important to note that an FCE is just one form of evidence a lawyer could use to build a strong case. A Windsor car accident lawyer from our firm is here to advise you if attending an FCE applies in your situation. Should your insurer terminate your income-replacement benefits after the FCE, we are ready to help dispute this termination and discuss undergoing further evaluations.

Let Us Help Protect Your Rights

There are many things an insurer may ask for after a car accident. To protect your rights and continue receiving accident benefits, we recommend working with an experienced lawyer. Greg Monforton & Partners has years of experience helping injured accident victims navigate through the legal system.

An initial consultation with our firm is completely free. We charge nothing up front after meeting with us and utilizing our services. We only get paid if we help you win the case.

Contact our office today by calling (866) 320-4770.