Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

The Economy & The Injured Worker

A very specific form of fraud, deception and malingering will occur in this global economy:

Individuals with valid injuries will find their employers very pre-occupied with critical economic concerns,less invested in the patient as an individual, even less eager to encourage them to seek care, and certainly less willing to authorize treatment.

Concurrently, many companies either do not want an injured employee back on the job, do not want to create/provide alternate/modified duty within the injured workers’ restrictions and, in too many cases, are in the process of down sizing if not closing their doors.

Look at the demographics of the injured worker: production, semi-skilled, seasonal, dependent upon various (e.g. housing) markets and working for companies impacted by wholesale markets and retail sales.

The worker is making $600 per week with overtime and is injured. Even though their workers’ compensation check may be half that amount, it is “stable” in the sense that they do not have to worry about the impact of the company economic health upon their receiving their check.

They may have no job to which to return and/or no one there who wants them back, but they do have steady income as long as their injury-related symptoms/complaints continue.

Such an environment encourages “partial malingering” in which the individual may have some valid complaints but not sufficient to prevent them from returning to some form of work. However, that work simply may not be available and/or may not be available on a stable, long term basis.

The patient is left with looking for work, with educational limitations in this economic downturn or exaggerating symptoms to insure that they continue to receive a weekly check.”

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