What Is a Functional Capacity Evaluation in Minnesota?


What Is a Functional Capacity Evaluation in Minnesota?

After a serious work injury, your doctors and the insurance company will want to evaluate your physical abilities. You may be asked to participate in a Functional Capacity Evaluation to figure out how your abilities may affect your work and everyday activities.

Your doctor may ask you to get a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) if he or she is having trouble evaluating your physical restrictions, or if he or she is not fully qualified to assess all your abilities. A physical therapist, occupational therapist, or similar professional will administer the evaluation at a different location than your doctor’s office. You can expect the FCE to take at least a few hours, and potentially extend to a second day.

During the FCE, the physical therapist will give you tests to measure abilities like range of motion, lifting and strength, carrying, how long you can sit/stand/walk, and use of your hands, head and neck. The therapist may look at your current restrictions, job description, or modified job description to inform which tests he or she administers and your results.

After the test, the therapist will prepare and send a written report to your doctor. Your doctor should review the report and may modify your restrictions as a result. Give any updated doctor’s note to your employer, the insurance company, and your lawyer.

Based on the FCE, your employer may decide that you cannot perform the job you held before your injury. At that point, seek out a new job and ask for a rehabilitation evaluation. You may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation, including job search help and retraining. Your QRC may facilitate communication between your doctor and the employer to assist in getting appropriate accommodations. Alternatively, your employer may determine that it can accommodate your restrictions or modify your position to fit your restrictions.

During your workers’ compensation case, you also may hear about a Job Demands Analysis. A Job Demands Analysis (JDA) is different than an FCE. A JDA assesses the tasks and duties required in the job you held before the workplace injury. The people involved in your workers’ comp case may compare the JDA to the FCE to show that you can or cannot perform your job duties. A future blog will discuss the JDA in more detail.

Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.