Workers' Compensation Evaluations   

Although a majority of Workers' Compensation claims are legitimate, there is also an ever increasing need for more in depth assessment of a certain portion of these claims. Such claims are almost always requested to be verified by a physician, in some cases these assessments will be performed by medical doctors, and in some cases by especially trained and qualified psychologists or psychiatrists, all of which are also considered physicians. 

It takes special expertise, years of experience, customized assessment tools and refined diagnostic skills to distinguish valid cases from other,  not work related, underlying  conditions.  These other conditions can range from a simple "misunderstanding" that maybe a pre-existing psychological condition really causes the current problem, to an individual's purposefully trying to mislead the physician by means of what is called "malingering."


An overriding issue in any type of forensic assessment is the issue of malingering and deception. A defendant may be intentionally faking a mental illness or may be exaggerating the degree of symptomatology. The forensic psychologist must always keep this possibility in mind. It is important if malingering is suspected to observe the defendant in other settings as it is difficult to maintain false symptoms consistently over time. In some cases, the court views malingering or feigning illness as obstruction of justice and sentences the defendant accordingly.

In United States v. Binion, malingering or feigning illness during a competency evaluation was held to be obstruction of justice and led to an enhanced sentence. As such, fabricating mental illness in a competency-to-stand-trial assessment now can be raised to enhance the sentencing level following a guilty plea.

(Excerpted from Wikipedia)


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