What is a Work Capacity Evaluation and why do I need one?

A Work Capacity Evaluation (also referred to as a Functional Capacity Evaluation) is a professional evaluation performed by an occupational therapist, who is generally a Certified Work Capacity Evaluator. The process usually takes at least one day. The evaluation may be done either at the office of the evaluator or at your home or office.

The occupational therapist evaluation is very valuable to your case. It will help prove what your disabilities and limitations are and to what extent, if any, you are able to work; if you can do household chores; the amount of pain that you are suffering from; how much assistance you require on a daily or weekly basis; whether you would benefit from any type of rehabilitation; and what you may reasonably expect in terms of your ability to return to the same type of work that you were previously doing.

The testing involves many different types of real life situations that you face on a daily basis. The comprehensiveness of the evaluation makes it difficult for ICBC’s doctors to argue against since ICBC’s doctors generally only perform relatively short physical examination.

A Work Capacity Evaluation generally costs thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, MSP will not cover this expense. Do not expect ICBC to pay for it either – not until they have to because you have won your case. A lawyer should be willing to spend the money to get an assessment done, knowing that s/he will be able to recover the cost from ICBC after your case is won.

Sometimes it is a good idea to go for a Work Capacity Evaluation in the first three to six months after an accident. A person who has ongoing pain and suffering should have another evaluation every six months to a year in order to continue documenting the patient’s progress.