Don’t you hate these defense IMEs (Independent Medical Examiners) who claim their “science” supports the conclusion that you, the genuinely injured worker, are a bold faced malingering liar. Oh dear, don’t get us started on this one!
The IME and not the injured worker is malingering!
Did you know that one very common workcover insurance tactic is to send you to an IME, with a pre-written cover letter stating that “… it has been suggested that the worker has a psychological overlay…” or something along those lines. Even if there is zero evidence of this “psychological overlay” and even when not a single treating doctor or other IME has ever mentioned anything along those lines! Well… the insurance company (case manager) is basically desperate to have you classified as a malingerer! (especially where there is no gotcha! video surveillance).
What is malingering exactly?
According to Wikipedia, in medicine, malingering is fabricating or exaggerating the symptoms of mental or physical disorders for a variety of “secondary gain“ motives, which may include financial compensation (often tied to fraud).
The most official definition of malingering is, in the context of workcover, basically an injured worker who meets 2 out of 4 criteria:
- The injured worker is involved in a law suit
- The injured worker’s claimed level of disability is different than one would expect based on objective findings
- The injured worker was not cooperative during the exam, and/or
- The injured worker has some sort of anti social personality disorder
The defense IME and malingering
It is not unusual that the IME doctor retained by the defense (workcover insurer) will claim that the injured worker’s condition exceeds what one would expect for the physical findings.
However, in most cases this will require the defense IME doctor to completely ignore the majority of the evidence, starting with the injured worker’s treating doctor(s). But the defense IME doctor, who acts as an ‘expert’ witness will only rely on other shady defense IME experts to claim the injured worker does not have a real physical condition.
There is a name for this. It’s called “confirmatory bias”¹ (…well, actually we call it bullshit!) which exists when an individual ignores all data and information that is contrary to the conclusion s/he wishes to reach.
(¹) Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis.
Now, for someone to modify their behavior, i.e. act in a certain way to get desired results, that modification is most successful if there are rewards that are direct, immediate and constant. Now think about this:
You were injured in 2010. It may take 5 years to get to Court or settle you case. Even then, the judge/ jury may not make a judgment in your favour.
So, the benefits are not:
But hey, wait a sec!
Doesn’t the defense IME doctor get paid right after, or even BEFORE the examination? I.e. the defense IME’s reward is:
Think about it: Has the defense IME doctor not received payment in ALL cases and doesn’t he or she make millions over the years from the defense?
Thus, yes, the rewards are direct, immediate and constant!
“By the way, dear IME doctor, did anyone administer a test to you to see if you were being honest?”
You can also go down another road guaranteed to get a chuckle in court:
Q: Doctor, have YOU ever lied?
A. No. Not since I was a child.
Q: How old are you?
Q: So you are saying you have NEVER told a lie in 40 years, never fudged a bit if your wife asks, “Does this dress make my bum look fat?”
Q: Doctor, are you aware that if you answer a question on the (MMPI2 – a malingerer test) indicating you have never told a lie you get a point towards being a sociopath because EVERYBODY LIES?
Ok. What if the IME doctor admits to telling a lie?
Q: doctor, you’ve taken no test yourself in this case to tell us if YOU are honest, right?
And just because you lied in the past, you would not suggest that we cannot count on anything you have to say here today, right?
Q: so even if the injured worker DID lie in the past, it doesn’t mean we should reject what s/he has to say here today either, right?
Somewhat related articles
- Malingerers or maligned? Psychological injury and workers compensation
- How to deal with malingering in workers comp cases:aargghh!
- Why on earth would injured workers commit deceit, fraud or malinger?
[Post dictated by WorkcoverVictim and manually transcribed on WCV’s behalf]