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What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?

Hi this Brian Wiklendt with Garfinkel Schwartz I’m here in my Maitland Florida office today.

I’d like to talk to you about what are called What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation? and in the Defense Base Act context this comes up under a Lack of Earning Capacity.

What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?

Now Functional Capacity Evaluations are usually used by the insurance company to weigh your Lack of Earning Capacity and what you actually physically can do after your injury or when you’re placed on Maximum Medical Improvement.

Unfortunately, normally what happens is these Functional Capacity Exams in this area of law are basically used to see if you’re lacking effort or you’re exaggerating your symptoms or your injuries so they can try to use that against you later in court with the judge to say you’re exaggerating or lying. Or just refusing to give the amount of effort that’s they’re asking you to do.

Do Your Best

Now this is tough because a lot of people don’t want to exert that type of effort not because they want to hide anything but because they have injuries that they don’t want you to re-aggravate. Because when they tell you to bend down and touch your toes ten times while you have a back injury that’s just healing it might be a little uncomfortable to do that.

So the best thing to do is to explain yourself, number one, and say hey I might be a little afraid to do this certain exercise. And just be very upfront and honest with them.

Because what they’re simply looking for more so than how many pushups you do or how fast you can walk is to see if you’re going to exaggerate. And that’s all what they look for. They’re looking to see if you’re exaggerating or you’re not exerting effort acting like you can’t do something that you probably can do.

Be Brutally Honest

And my best advice is to be totally brutally honest and do the exercises that you know that you can do. Because at some point some doctor is going to say that you could’ve done better if you don’t exert the effort that a normal person under normal circumstances would.

So be upfront and honest. Don’t be afraid of it. But just be on the alert because they’re going to be watching you normally. Not every time. But in the Defense Base Act area of law because these cases are valuable, they’ll be watching you all the way from when you get in your car to when you get out of your car. If you’re smoking a cigarette they’ll be watching that and they’ll be recording that as to a written record of what they observed.

So if you’re skipping around the sidewalk and then you can’t bend down and touch your toes, they’re going to hold that against you.

It’s also a very good time for the insurance company to do surveillance on you. Because they know where you’re going to be they know where you are and they may do it beforehand or they may do it afterwards. They may actually follow you throughout the day to see if what you exerted in your Functional Capacity Exam comports with what you’re doing during that day.

So if you do the exam and you can’t do certain things, but then you go home and cut your lawn with a manual lawnmower someone might be watching that and might try to hold that against you in the future.

That’s just a tidbit in this area of law. These types of things are easily argued on our side in terms of abilities and each person’s individual capacities to do jobs and especially overseas in a combat setting.

So don’t be afraid of it. And just be honest with everyone upfront. If you don’t feel comfortable and exert your best efforts it works better in the long run.

If You’re Injured or Not

IFunctional Capacity Evaluationf you’re injured you’re injured and if you’re not you’re not. So that’s just a little tidbit of advice.

If you ever have any questions about Functional Capacity Evaluations or any other thing that has to do with your Defense Base Act claim, please call us anytime for free.

We’ll be glad to answer any of your questions and we’ll be able to help you in any way that we can.

That’s what we like to do here.

So thanks for listening, Brian Wiklendt again signing off from our Maitland Florida office.