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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

What is malingering and why should employees avoid it?

The government spends a lot of money every year in workers' compensation claims. In fact, a report from the Social Security Administration shows that in 2014, approximately $62.3 billion went to covering the medical costs of employees injured on the job. 

There is a rigorous process in place to ensure employees do not take advantage of the system. However, many workers every year attempt malingering. Malingering occurs when someone lies about or exaggerates the extent of an injury to receive more in compensation. This can lead to more harm than good, so it is best for employees to avoid taking any chances. 

Employers will find out eventually

Any employee who suffers an injury on the job site needs to go to a doctor immediately. This doctor will write up a report detailing the extent of the injuries. A doctor is not going to lie on behalf of someone, so it does not make sense for an employee to lie about his or her condition. Malingering simply hurts an employee's chances of receiving compensation for the injuries he or she did sustain. 

There are significant consequences

Malingering, in and of itself, is not necessarily illegal. However, if an employee malingers with the goal of frauding the government out of monetary compensation, then charges could be on the table. Most employees who malinger end up getting caught, so it is best to play it safe.

Employees should still protect themselves against false malingering charges

While it is rare, there have been cases of employers falsely accusing employees of making up injuries with a doctor backing up the claims. This is why employees want to be wary of only seeing the company-approved doctor. It never hurts to obtain a second opinion on the matter. While employees should see the company doctor first, they should also see someone else if they believe the diagnosis left out important information.

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