Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) And Independent Medical Examination (IME)

As you recover from your injury on the job, you could encounter a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) and/or an Independent Medical Examination (IME). Both of these exams play a critical role in your recovery and compensation for your injury.

The insurer will look closely at the results of your FCE and/or IME. As your attorney, I am here to guide you through every step toward your recovery. I want you to be familiar with the process to help you eliminate fear and have a clearer idea of the future.

Functional Capacity Evaluation

After your doctor has exhausted all medical treatment and states in writing that your work injury is at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), the doctor has the option to order an FCE. An FCE is testing by a physical therapist lasting about four hours of your permanent functional limitations like sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, reaching, bending, twisting, squatting, crawling, climbing, etc. Failure to give full effort could hurt your case. If the doctor signs off on the FCE, then these become your permanent work restrictions.

The doctor can also order a Permanent Impairment Rating to assess the permanent loss of use of an extremity. If the doctor endorses the rating, then you can request permanent partial compensation. If the employer, insurer, or vocational counselor tries to return you to work at a job that violates your FCE restrictions, contact a lawyer specialized in Virginia workers' compensation immediately.

Independent Medical Examination

The insurer may request an IME with an insurance company doctor in an attempt to dispute your diagnosis, the causal relation of your injury to the work accident, the need for a costly medical procedure (surgery, injection, etc.) ordered by the authorized physician, or your disability from work.

The IME doctor will usually review your medical records, examine you one time, and write a report. The insurer has the right to request an IME every 12 months per medical specialty. Failure to attend an IME could result in termination of your workers' compensation payments. If you have an unfavorable IME, contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney immediately.

Why You Should Contact A Lawyer

An FCE can often help in valuating an injured worker's claim for settlement. More FCE restrictions usually mean tougher light-duty job placement, longer absence from work, longer period of wage loss compensation, and higher value.

If the insurer uses an IME to cutoff your compensation or deny medical care, you should contact me immediately. If your authorized treating physician rebuts the IME in writing, your doctor's opinion can often trump the one-time nontreating IME.

A Free Consultation Is Available Now

Discuss your injury and options in recovery with me. Call my Richmond area office at 804-554-3168 or send an email for your free consultation today.