This article discusses what to expect in a functional capacity evaluation in a DBA case. An FCE in the Defense Base Act (DBA) world is typically ordered by the DBA insurance adjuster or a worker’s physician. It is very important that you speak with your lawyer to prepare for your functional capacity evaluation. The FCE is a series of tests used to evaluate your work-related physical abilities. The tests in an FCE are performed by an evaluator certified to conduct these examinations, typically a physical therapist. An injured private military contractor working overseas under a US Government contract is entitled to medical care under the Defense Base Act. A functional capacity evaluation is designed to be safe and to provide impartial information about an injury or illness. The tests that are part of an FCE will evaluate a contractor’s
- Range of motion
- Physical strength
- Lifting ability
- Stamina and ability to carry objects
- Other abilities required for their job
During your Defense Base Act FCE test, the evaluator will test a number of elements of your physical strength necessary to do your regular job, including:
- Pushing, pulling, lifting and carrying objects
- Walking, crawling, squatting, kneeling, standing, bending and sitting
- Evaluating and measuring your muscle strength and range of motion.
Tips to Follow Before and During an FCE in a Defense Base Act claim:
- Be friendly and cordial with the evaluator.
- On many occasions, insurance companies hire private investigators to follow and record workers before the FCE. They are hoping to record a worker walking a certain way or doing an activity differently than during an evaluation.
- Pay attention at all times during the evaluation, from the waiting room to the examination room. Act all the time as if you are being observed and evaluated. The evaluator may watch you from another room to see how you are walking, etc. If your claim is that you cannot walk without limping, and you take pain medicine before the FCE and can walk without a limp, there will be an issue with your case.
- Don’t take your pain medication before the FCE. Pain medication kills or reduces the pain you have and helps you function when you have to deal with painful injuries. Avoid all pain medication, including Tylenol or Advil, etc., before your evaluation. Obviously take any other types of medicine your doctor instructs you to.
- Be honest. A good part of the FCE includes the evaluator watching you and determining whether you are giving your best efforts. They may have you on a blood pressure monitor to help them evaluate if you are giving full effort. However, make sure to tell the evaluator if you are in pain doing an exercise.
- Wear comfortable clothing as the FCE may last a couple hours.
A poor outcome of an FCE in a DBA case may severely impact a DBA settlement. For more information about functional capacity evaluations and Defense Base Act claims, call and speak with DBA attorney Tim Nies. Tim is an Army Ranger Veteran and a Defense Base Act lawyer known for going to battle for his private military contractor clients. Call 877-DBA-LAW1 day or night.