The doctor declares the claimant to be at maximum medical improvement (MMI) for his or her work place injury. What happens next?
Well in Virginia the doctor often does not set permanent work restrictions. Rather, the doctor refers the worker to a skilled therapist who has been trained as a disability examiner. The disability examiner puts the injured worker through a 4 to 6 hour test to determine what the worker can lift and carry. Also the examiner may test standing, sitting and bending ability. This report is then sent to the doctor for approval. This report is called a Functional Capacity Evaluation or FCE. This report can set the worker's permanent work restrictions if the doctor signs off on the FCE.
The biggest "danger" many workers run into is they will attempt to embellish or exaggerate their difficulties when it comes to the FCE. The second "danger" is the worker will refuse to do activities required by the FCE. If the worker does the first, then the worker can be labeled a "faker" regarding his/her symptoms. If the worker does the second, then the worker can be accused of non-cooperation.
In summary, I always tell my workers to give a "good faith effort" on the exam.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Jerry Lutkenhaus at (804) 358-4766 or call toll-free at (800) 256-8862 or check our website Virginia Workers' Compensation Lawyer.