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Loss of future earning capacity.
- Is there a profession dedicated to measuring injured people's physical limitations?
- Yes. Specially trained occupational therapists (O. T. s) called certified work capacity evaluators spend a minimum of 4 hours testing how an injured person is able to function. The assessment is called a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). These therapists sometimes visit a patient's home or place of work to see what the patient's demands are and how he or she is doing. This is a very powerful tool in proving your case. In your case, the O. T. may conclude that:
- you showed your maximum abilities at present during testing,
- you can or cannot handle sedentary, light, medium or heavy work or chores and for how long,
- the pain levels you reported during the assessment are likely true (the medical profession has no tool yet to measure pain; therefore, this is likely as close as we can now come to proving a person's pain),
- the number of hours per day and days per week you can work,
- the job, household chores and sports you can handle,
- what ergonomic changes would help you at work,
- how many hours per week of assistance you need with your heavier household chores and with your garden chores,
- you would benefit from certain rehabilitation that you have not yet received in order to improve your ability to function, or
- it is unlikely that further rehabilitation will make much difference in your level of functioning at work and at home, and that you should find another line of work.
Even if a family doctor's standard examination shows very little, this type of testing could still show very significant ongoing limitations. For example, some tests will compare your floor-to-shoulder lifting strength with that of thousands of others across North America of your same sex, age, weight and height. Let's say your strength on this test is at the 10% percentile for your age. This means that on this test, 90% of men your age are stronger than you. This is powerful evidence if, for example, you were a house framer and an avid hockey player before the accident. It can also provide equally powerful evidence for women.
This O. T. evaluation is not covered by your regular medical insurance (MSP) or extended health plan. If you hire a lawyer, he may be willing to pay for this testing. The lawyer may request reimbursement of the fees from ICBC when your case is resolved.