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What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation (Arizona Work Injury Claims)

In many Arizona workers compensation cases, the injured workers permanent restrictions dictate how much compensation is received for their injuries.  Determining permanent work restrictions is an art, and restrictions can vary significantly between doctors.  For example, John Beghin, a local spine surgeon who is the darling of the insurance carriers, believes that anyone who has had spine surgery is magically healed and rarely recommends permanent work restrictions.  To say that a 60 year old man with a three level spine fusion can return to work as a roofer is a little ridiculous, but I digress…

One manner that some doctors prefer to use to determine work restrictions is a Functional Capacity Evaluation.  Most of these evaluations are done by physical or occupational therapists and involve several hours, often over two or three days, simulating work-like activities and measuring the injured workers tolerance of those activities.  It seems to be a more objective measure of work capability than the doctor pulling restrictions out of….  (My partner, Alex Carpio, once had a client who weighed 98 pounds that the insurance carrier’s doctor said could life up to 100 pounds on a continuous basis in spite of her back surgery!) 

Chad Snow is a workers compensation attorney at the firm of Snow & Carpio.  With offices in Phoenix and Tucson Arizona, he can be reached at (602) 532-0700, (520) 647-9000, or on the firm’s website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.