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What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation in a Car Accident Case?

Posted on November 15, 2022 in

When individuals sustain an injury caused by another party, it is likely that they will pursue compensation through an insurance settlement or through a civil personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, it may be necessary to perform various tests and evaluations to determine how an injury has affected an individual’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities and work-related activities. A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is one of the tests that could be used to determine a vehicle crash victim’s ability to complete work tasks. 

What Does a Functional Capacity Evaluation Measure?

Typically, individuals hear about FCEs when it comes to work-related injuries. Often, these are part of workers’ compensation claims or even pre-implement screenings before a person receives a job. All FCEs are given by certified examiners, which means the individual is usually a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor. The FCE is supposed to provide objective information about a person’s work-related capabilities.

And FCE typically begins with an interview with the patient, along with a review of medical records and a physical screening. There are various different factors related to stamina, endurance, strength, range of motion, and flexibility that will be measured. These tests are supposed to simulate normal workday activities for an array of jobs. Some of the FCE test parameters include the following:

  • Walking
  • Sitting
  • Standing
  • Balancing
  • Lifting
  • Carrying
  • Pushing
  • Reaching
  • Pulling
  • Stooping
  • Kneeling
  • Crouching
  • Crawling
  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Hand and Finger Manipulation
  • Finger and Hand Grasp Strength
  • Handling and Manipulation of Objects
  • Various Cognitive Tests

An FCE may also include other job-specific functions. For example, an FCE for an office worker may look different than an FCE for a construction worker.

While the FCC is ongoing, the evaluator will monitor the individual’s pain levels. This will be done to help make a record of the reported pain levels as well as set up a plan to help manage the patient’s pain. These examinations can range anywhere from four to six hours, and it may be necessary to conduct the exam over two full days.

Why an FCE After a Car Accident?

An FCE may be done for various reasons after a car accident occurs. First, there are many times when individuals sustain work-related injuries related to the car accident, particularly if they were carrying out job-related duties when the accident occurred. A car accident claim could very well be a workers’ compensation claim as well.

However, even non-workers’ compensation claims could call for an FCE. A car accident attorney may want to use an FCE to show insurance carriers or a personal injury jury how much the car accident injury has affected their client and why they should receive compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering damages. These types of examinations will help pinpoint just how much compensation a person should receive and whether or not they should receive long-term wage replacement because the injuries will keep them from carrying out job related duties for a specified amount of time. In some cases, and FCE could be a precursor to a disability hearing for the individual.