At some point in your DBA claim, your physician or the insurance carrier will request that you attend an FCE, which stands for Functional Capacity Evaluation. An FCE is a comprehensive, and usually long, medical assessment of a contractor’s safe functional tolerances and physical limitations relative to their work activities.
The FCE typically consists of a series of physical tests to determine the injured worker’s capabilities and restrictions. These tests may include a variety of physical performance analysis points including:
- Physical strength.
- range of motion.
- Lifting capability.
The scheduling of an FCE, usually means you are coming to an end of your medical treatment, even though you may have palliative care for the rest of your life depending on your injuries. You are at the stage where you physician will formulate your restrictions and he or she will base these restrictions on the findings in the FCE report. It is important to complete each test the best you can.
The tests you undergo during a functional capacity evaluation are not only intended to determine what you are capable or doing or restricted to do, but it’s also intended to show on the FCE report if you were faking or not giving your sincere and best effort on any of the tests, as well. In the end, there is no “beating” an FCE so we tell our clients to do their best and be speak with the physician or evaluator on how you are feeling during the testing. During the test, you will likely have your blood pressure checked as well as your breathing. So, if you are heavily and noticeably straining during a physical test, but have a blood pressure and are breathing normal, the evaluator may find that you are exaggerating the pain in order to obtain a rating or restriction that if more favorable to your claim.
Oftentimes, FCE evaluators will see how you are walking or whether you express any pain or limitations while you are in another room. You do not want a comment that you are exaggerating your pain or limitations. You do not want a notation in your report that you may be engaging in behavior for secondary gain.
After the FCE has been completed and the FCE report has been provided to the treating physician, he or she will hopefully review the FCE report with you in person. During this appointment with your physician, it is vital to express how you felt during, immediately after, and days after the FCE. This will allow your medical provider to have a real understanding of how your body reacted long after the evaluation was concluded.
Depending on the FCE results, your physician may state that you can return to work without restrictions or with restrictions. In the DBA world, contractors typically work 6-7 days/week, wear 50+ lbs. of body armor, work in austere conditions and carry heavy weapons. Further, most contractor jobs in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc. require that the contactor be medically cleared and have no restrictions.
If you have not hired a DBA attorney at the time you have been ordered to attend an FCE, I recommend that you do. Around that same time of the FCE, you will be reaching the settlement state of your claim soon. Having an experienced DBA lawyer and DBA paralegals in your corner during this process will maximum your DBA settlement. Hiring our attorney, Tim Nies, costs you nothing. His fees are paid by the insurance company separately.
If you have any questions about an upcoming Defense Base Act FCE, please call DBA Attorney, Tim Nies, at 977-DBA-LAW1 day or night.