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Results of functional capacity evaluation can be overturned

When an accident occurs, things can change for a person in an instant. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident there are various ways that someone might seek compensation for their injuries. If the accident occurred at one's workplace, workers' compensation benefits could be available.

Unfortunately, these benefits are not always easy to secure. A British Columbia worker is well aware of this. He recently secured a ruling in his favour regarding his ability to do an alternate job following a workplace accident that left him permanently partially disabled.

Following a workplace injury that results in a worker being unable to do the job he or she previously held, an assessment will be conducted to determine what jobs they are qualified to do. In this particular case, after he was stuck by a falling log, the man was no longer able to drive trucks. A functional capacity evaluation conducted by an occupational therapist determined that with restrictions, one of the jobs he could do was dispatcher. The restrictions placed on the dispatcher position by that occupational therapist include sitting for only one hour at a time and the utilization of a headset.

Even with those restrictions the man believed that he could not do the job. Despite applying for multiple jobs a day, he was unable to find one that suited his disabilities and at the end of 12 weeks, his wage-loss benefits were discontinued.

Several years later the man underwent another assessment which determined that he could not sit upright for longer than seven minutes. Despite this, when a WCB reconsideration panel took another look at his case several years later it confirmed its original decision regarding his ability to do the dispatcher job. This prompted the man to appeal to the B.C. Supreme Court.

In finding in favour of the man the court cited several things. One is that there was a lack of proof that the recommended modifications to the dispatcher position could be done.  In addition, it pointed to the subsequent panels' reliance upon the original assessment despite the inability of the man to secure a dispatcher job for years.

Though this decision was reached 14 years after the initial assessment was completed, this case illustrates how it may be possible to overcome a seemingly hopeless situation. If you have a workplace injury and are in need of advice or assistance, an employment lawyer can help you through the process.

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