In today’s ever-evolving personal injury world, insurance companies are also changing the way they relate diagnoses to an injury as well as how they equate those diagnoses to an impairment.
What does this look like? Well, when someone gets injured in a car accident, they typically endure soft tissue injuries such as damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Many times these types of injuries are not considered serious or life changing and can be a challenge to prove their severity to an insurance company. With soft tissue injuries it can be difficult to verify severity because of the subjective nature of the tissue which can’t be quantified in medical reports. For example, a doctor cannot document that your lower back is 50% more stiff after your car accident because that is purely a subjective complaint from the patient. There is no way to objectively measure or quantify the subjective severity of the increased stiffness.
Patients can also suffer from more severe injuries that cause a higher degree of pain and suffering. These injuries are more catastrophic in nature such as head injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, amputations; etc. These types of injuries are more easily documented and are objectively quantifiable through diagnostic testing measures.
Whether your client has sustained a soft tissue injury or a catastrophic injury, you must always go a step beyond getting the diagnosis to win your case. The problem with solely relying on a diagnosis is that the diagnosis often describes the type of injury sustained but not the full extent of the damage. Without a full understanding of the extent of the injury(ies) how can you prove the impact of the injury and/or what care the client will need long term?
Confidence in the injuries sustained in the client’s accident must come from a correct diagnosis as well as how that diagnosis affects the injureds’ life. The only trial-proven test to confirm the diagnosis and prove the impact is the FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY EVALUATION (FCE). During this 4-hour evaluation, the client’s impairments and disabilities are discovered which confirms not only the diagnosis itself but it also quantifies the severity of the diagnosis.
As a certified functional capacity evaluator, I have encountered numerous cases where a client has come in with a diagnosis and discovered through the FCE that this particular diagnosis has caused numerous other impairments and disabilities that would never have been discovered had the diagnosis been the only form of artillery that the attorney presented to the insurance company in their demand letter.
Arm your case with double barrels ablazing. One barrel is the diagnosis and the other barrel is the functional capacity evaluation. Both fired together produce a tremendous force that launches a substantial impact.