April 19, 2018

What Does it Mean to be a Malingerer?

The term "malingering" can cause you a great deal of problems if it appears in your medical records. If a judge believes that you are a malingerer, he will likely disregard much of your testimony and he will have an unfavorable attitude about you and your case.  Malingering suggests lying and judges rarely award benefits to claimants who appear to be dishonest.

Physicians regularly employ a variety of tests to help identify a malingerer.  Although these tests are not always accurate and can be rebutted, you are much better off doing everything in your power to avoid the malingering label in the first place.

Tests that physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists use to spot malingering usually fall into one or more of the following four categories:

  • Effort tests – are your scores too low based on what prior tests have shown to be your capability?
  • Pain scales – are you identifying pain in parts of your body inconsistent with diagnostic or clinical evidence?
  • Symptom Endorsement – are you identifying too many symptoms, or symptoms inconsistent with your diagnosis?
  • Waddell’s signs – physical actions that should not cause pain but elicit complaints.  A classic Waddell test is the "distracted leg raise" where a patient has no complaints of knee pain when seated, but painful on straight leg raise.

As you might imagine, your physician will not necessarily tell you that you are being tested for malingering.  Obviously, you should be completely honest and forthright with your physician – you want to create a physician-client relationship based on trust, not on trickery.

If you get the sense that your doctor has a bad attitude about you or is suggesting that you are being less than honest when you are telling the truth, report this situation to your lawyer at once.

[tags] malingering, workers compensation, workers comp, Waddell’s signs, symptom endorsement [/tags]

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Jodi Ginsberg

Attorney Jodi Ginsberg represents employees who are injured on the job and who need medical care and missed wage benefits available under Georgia's workers' compensation laws.


  1. terence mclaughlin says:

    hello i read your column on malingering the workerscomp doctor i go to done the leg lift with me and it did hurt but he said that you can sit but when he lifts my leg i hurt i hurt when i sit or stand to long i told him that .see i had a back injury in my lower back when lifting a waterheater into attic i felt a pop in my back,and now i have pain in both legs and burning and weakness in right leg,does it sound like the doctor is tring to label me.

  2. In my experience doctors are often visited by patients making claims about their health that do not seem to fit with their own findings and diagnosis and this can lead to other issues such as patient doctor loyalty and subsequent stress related problems.
    From the doctors point of view we do see many cases of patients who try to “pull one over” so to speak.
    This can create a very suspicious attitude to such cases.
    Usually the more visits you make and the more you persist the more likely you are to be proved right as many patients simply give up if they are not hearing what they want to hear early on.
    Sue Law

  3. Injured worker says:

    The majority of Doctors are lying and normally look the other way when it comes to WC. Why to insure the continued flow of money from the Insurance Company and referrals from the Defense Lawyers

  4. Injured worker says:

    Let’s take a look at the Whole picture not just the claimant. This is another one of the corrupt judges practices.. Just say he isn’t credible or he’s lying and there goes your case. Not once have a seen one of the lame duck attorneys tail tucking Lawyers go after the board or the judges or doctors!

    When was the last time Atty. Ginsberg really challenged the Board and it’s corruption . There scared to call a spade a spade !!

  5. “Injured worker” – I suspect that you are surprised that I published your comment. However, you did take the time to write, which I appreciate and I will give you my answer.

    I do not believe that the State Board is “corrupt.” I do not agree with every decision by every judge but, as a whole, I have been around long enough to say that the members (judges) on the State Board are honest and well intentioned.

    Do judges make mistakes? Yes. Is it possible that a particular judge denied your claim by asserting that you are malingering or faking your injury when, in fact, your claim is totally legitimate? Yes, that does happen.

    Workers compensation is a system designed to make it easier for an injured worker to obtain medical benefits and financial support while he recovers from an on-the-job injury. It is a “no fault” system in which the injured worker loses the right to pursue pain and suffering damages against his employer in exchange for not having to prove fault.

    In practice, workers compensation is equal to divorce law in its adversarial nature. Insurers and their lawyers fight legitimate claims to wear out and outlast claimants.

    At this point, the Georgia legislature limits the rights of injured workers to pursue bad faith claims against insurers. It would be interesting to compare the numbers of really frivolous claims by workers to frivolous defense strategies by employers and their insurers.

    With regard to pursuing a corruption charge against the Board, I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

  6. Injured worker says:

    You suspect ! Of course you do ! Was I surprised ? Pleasantly that is ! What a forum the Internet !

    When you don’t agree with a decision do you abort after the Full Board or have you tried cases all the way up ? And if you’ve tried cases all the way up. What where the results?

    Seeing you been around for so long could you tell us if you personally know of any firing of any WC judges ? Excuse me! Could you tell us all the judges that have resigned abrutly? (Political Correct)

    Malingerer ! No not my claim ! Doctor Malinger? (The finest) What would be interesting the demographic stats that make up the one’s there call Malingerer ! Would you be interested in who the Board is calling a Malinger ? Where are that stats on this stuff ?Im sure you must of had several clients that the boards have called Malingerer?Or does the board just discount the ambulance chasing lawyer clients off as Malinger ?

    Workmans comp was designed like you speak ! However they have created something contrary to design ! Or is at all by design ? Yes , It is a no fault system ! But Faulting may thing ! You can’t sue the employer but you can sure go after the look the other way Hired Gun Doc’s for damages !

    Sorry :0( Im not looking for you to do anything for me !Especially a corruption charge against the Board! YOU would be a ENEMY OF THE STATE if you did that! Im quite pleased with just Bloggin with you ;0) And , I don’t bark ! I bite !

    HUH would you be willing to be interview for a YOUTUBE special on WC in GA ?

    Pro Se

  7. Injured worker says:

    Bad Judges and Corrupt Judges are commonplace today in U.S. Courts. One of the most serious mistakes you can make is assuming tha you will recieve a fair trail from an impartial judge. The proble of corrupt judges is rampant. Instead of objectivity administering true justice, judges are ruling according too their personal biases and political allegiances. It is truly said that power corrupts. Nowhere is this more evident than the judges !

    Pro Se

  8. Injured worker says:

    I wonder how many of the judges that resign for political reasons turn around and get jobs with Defense firms ? Im sure the number is high!Why? Because the Board has historically shopped for them a nice cozy job in an Defense firm ! Let hear you opinion !

    Pro Se

  9. Injured worker says:

    Where can we get these stats your interested in and also the one’s I mentioned ! It would be nice if you would Blog the stats ! Be sure to get the stats about who the Board is calling Malingers’! Just asking for this information from the Board would be misconstruded as an Attack on the Establishment ! OH Well !! Here goes the Request for Information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act to the Board.. Stay tuned !! I’ll keep you posted

    Pro Se

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