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Functional Capacity Evaluations

FCEs are generally requested by insurance companies who are paying critical illness insurance; companies who are paying sickness benefits or insurance companies involved in litigation following car accidents or industrial injuries.

FCEs have been used to determine the abilities of a person who has been "injured" and, as such, more commonly measure physical ability in such conditions as "back pain" or RSI. Though medical evidence from GPs and consultants still has some place in the evaluation of a patient's illness or physical disability in the UK, the increased "Americanisation" of litigation has led to FCEs being more widely used.

In the USA, the case of Daubert vs. Merrill-Dow pharmaceuticals (Supreme Court 1993) changed the role of the medical expert. The decision in this case mandates that expert opinion must be supported with reliability and validity research, published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Thus the use of FCEs has been vastly increased to provide (so called) "objective" evidence as opposed to the "subjective" evidence of medical professionals.