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Workers’ Comp Claims: What is an FCE Test?

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Posted By KSK Law | June 1 2023 | Workers' Comp

While filing a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim, you may be required to take a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) test. This comprehensive assessment is designed to evaluate a worker’s physical capabilities and limitations following an injury. The results of the FCE test can play a significant role in shaping your workers’ compensation claim.

If you need to undergo an FCE test, it’s important to know what to expect, how to prepare, and what to do if you dispute the test’s findings. Working with a Minneapolis, Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the process and fight for the benefits that you deserve.

What Happens During an FCE Test?

An FCE test is intended to assess an injured worker’s physical abilities to determine if he or she can return to work. It usually takes place at a medical facility, such as a physical therapy center, and is conducted by a certified healthcare provider who has received the referral. 

From start to finish, an FCE test can take two to three hours. During this time, your provider will assess different abilities to determine your physical strength. These may include:

  • Functional Testing: The clinician will guide you through various physical tests involving activities like pulling, pushing, lifting, and carrying materials. 
  • Dexterity Assessment: This test assesses physical capacity for actions such as squatting, walking, kneeling, reaching, standing, balancing, crawling, bending, and sitting. 
  • Injury Testing: The doctor will measure your muscle strength and range of motion in the areas affected by your injuries. Then, the results will be compared to your previous physical condition as documented in your medical records. 

All the information gathered during the FCE test will be added to your workers’ compensation case file by your case manager. This includes any remarks or concerns you express during the appointment, as well as the observations made by the testing physician.

Who Is Required to Get an FCE Test?

Anyone who has filed a workers’ compensation claim may be required to undergo an FCE test. It is usually ordered by a physician, but it can also be requested by your insurance company, lawyer, or employer. You have the right to refuse an FCE test, but it could adversely affect your workers’ compensation claim and ability to secure benefits.

How to Prepare for Your FCE Test

When the day of your FCE test arrives, it is important to be prepared. By keeping the following tips in mind, your provider can accurately assess your physical capabilities, increasing your chances of a successful claim:

  • Arrive at least 10 minutes early to avoid delays that could impact your overall claim.
  • Act as though you’re being observed at all times. 
  • Be truthful during the examination and display your symptoms honestly.
  • Refrain from taking pain medication before the exam. Even over-the-counter medication can undermine the accuracy of the evaluation.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows for unrestricted movement during the physical tasks involved in the examination.

What If You Disagree with Your FCE Test Results? 

If you disagree with your FCE test results, you have the option to appeal and request a reevaluation. However, this process can be complex and challenging. In these situations, it is best to consult with a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer.

An attorney can provide valuable guidance and fight for your right to fair benefits. Schedule a free consultation as soon as possible to explore your options and plan your next steps.

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