Helping your client understand the need for a Functional Capacity Evaluation
As your client progresses through their personal injury case, it’s common for them to experience heightened anxiety, treatment burnout, and mental and physical fatigue.
Personal injury cases can be very complex so keeping your clients’ interest and enthusiasm can be a challenge after months or years of treatment has passed. Many times when we as practitioners make referrals to other specialists, we hear, “why do I have to go to someone else?” or “I just want to be done with all of this.” This is certainly understandable because client treatment often feels more like a marathon than a sprint. Many clients describe this process as being a part time job in excess of their actual full time employment. Running to different appointments is exhausting to say the least.
Just when your client thinks their treatment is finally done, you tell them the daunting words that they do not want to hear. Those words are, “you’re now ready for a Functional Capacity Evaluation.” Before the steam starts coming out of their ears, here are some tips for helping your client understand WHY they need this evaluation.
- Start by educating them on why the test is done. Let them know that even though they went through tons of treatment from different providers, the Functional Capacity Evaluation is the evaluation that ties everything together. This is the industry standard of documenting their impairments and disabilities affect their ability to perform work related tasks, activities of daily living, and leisure activities. The hardest thing to prove to the insurance company is how their injuries affect their lives and this is the evaluation to showcase that.
- Remind them that everything has a purpose. The purpose of their medical, chiropractic and physical therapy treatment is to help them heal, decrease their pain and improve strength/range of motion, but this treatment doesn’t showcase the impact the injury has on the client’s daily life and abilities. That’s where the FCE comes in. The insurance company needs to know how these impairments relate to their life and their ability to perform life’s tasks with real-world functional task simulation and evaluative measures to understand the full impact of your clients’ collision.
- The Functional Capacity Evaluation tees-up the impairment rating given by the physician which plays a significant role in educating the insurance company of their overall damages.
It is also important for the client to understand the intricacies of the evaluation itself. For instance, if the attorney has not educated the client as what to expect the day of the evaluation, the client may be surprised to learn:
- The evaluation takes approximately 4 hours to complete.
- They need to wear comfortable clothing due to the physical functional tasks that are required in the test.
I actually had an attorney refer a client for an FCE years ago and reassured me that they had prepped the client about the test. When the client arrived, they were wearing 4” stiletto heels, a dress, and asked how long the evaluation would take as they had a meeting in 30 minutes. Needless to say, the evaluation had to be rescheduled.
If you’re uncertain about how to adequately prepare your client for the Functional Capacity Evaluation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the evaluator so they can inform your client as to why the evaluation is being done and what to expect.
If you have a client that you think may need a Functional Capacity Evaluation in order to help educate the insurance company of how their impairments and disabilities affect their life, feel free to reach out to us at Injury Reporting Consultants. We specialize in the preparation and documentation of easy-to-read and understandable reports to help with a swift and fair settlement process.
Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience providing care as a treating doctor, coordinating rehabilitative case management, and expert trial testimony services. If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Brad Poppie, DPT, CLCP, CFCE, CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy Certified Life Care Planner Medical Cost Projection Specialist Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist