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What is a malingerer and how do you spot one?

If you are in charge of managing your California company’s workers’ compensation and disability cases, you may already be aware of the threat that a malingerer presents. A person who falls under this label is usually guilty of exaggerating their symptoms in hopes of receiving more compensation. They may even make a completely false claim of injury.


Researchers have found that certain types of injuries are more likely to be associated with malingering. A study reported in American Medical News stated that researchers had analyzed 10,000 cases and found that false claims and exaggeration were suspected in 31 percent of chronic pain cases and 39 percent of mild head injury complaints. A total of 30 percent of all disability claims and 29 percent of personal injury cases were likely affected by malingering.


Cases of malingering can cost your business thousands of dollars in compensation costs for uninjured or less-injured workers. While some managers feel that is it easier to treat the patient than to take the time to investigate, exaggerating employees can cost your company thousands of dollars in unnecessary payments. One reason why this is so prevalent is that most people can claim symptoms associated with conditions that are easy to fake after a simple internet search.


One way you may prevent malingering is by working with medical providers and their staff. Some patients have been seen acting normally until they notice a doctor is watching. It is difficult to continue to feign symptoms if the visit or waiting period beforehand is long, making extended monitoring a tactic for identifying imposters. This article should not be taken as legal advice but is intended as basic information.

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