Avoiding the Finding of an Exaggerated Claim

Make sure the expert knows all your past and ongoing injuries from the accident

When doctors/ therapists are assessing you, particularly ones hired by ICBC, often they are looking to see if you may be exaggerating your injury claim. You should remember that doctors/ therapists are trained experts and it is difficult to trick them.

You should not go into the assessment trying to convince the expert that you are injured. Rather, you should be as forthright as possible with the doctor/therapist and that way, you won’t run into problems where they allege that you are exaggerating your claim. Having said that, make sure the expert knows all your past and ongoing injuries from the accident. If you get cut off, keep going on the injuries and the impact of the injuries on your life. Don’t let the expert write that your injuries are largely resolved unless that is the case.

The most common way of checking whether you are exaggerating a claim is for the doctor/therapist to assess you for “Waddell Non-organic signs”. There are basically seven different tests run by the expert and if you are positive on more than one then the expert can turn around and say you are exaggerating. The tests are:

  1. Superficial tenderness- this is where the doctor/therapist touches you slightly and you say it hurts. Wisdom tells the expert that you are overstating your injuries;
  2. Deep tenderness- this is where the doctor/therapist is poking you and you say everything hurts. Wisdom tells the expert that you should not be tender everywhere;
  3. Axial loading-This is where the doctor/ therapist presses down on your head and you say you have low back complaints. Anatomically, this pressure should not cause any low back complaints whatsoever;
  4. Simulated rotation- this is where the doctor/therapist instructs you to rotate the trunk of your body and you say you have back complaints. Anatomically, this rotation should not cause any low back complaints;
  5. Straight leg raises- This is where the doctor/ therapist asks you to bend over and touch your toes and then tests the exact same movement by placing you on your back on the bench and asks you to lift your legs upwards. The amount of movement on both tests should be identical or close to identical;
  6. Motor weakness- this is where the doctor/ therapist considers your complaints of muscle weakness and determines whether they are anatomically correct; and
  7. Sensory distributions-This is where the doctor/ therapist asks you about numbness and tingling and then sees if your complaints make sense when it comes to how the nerves are aligned.

Often, a doctor/ therapist will be assessing you as you come to and from the office to see if your presentation outside the examining room is the same as when you are in the examining room. Many experts watch you come and go from the building, evening having a look out the window. Assume you are under a microscope as you near the office. Indeed, ICBC is known to run surveillance on claimants travelling to and from appointments especially if ICBC is cynical about your injury claim.

If you are going for a functional capacity evaluation, the occupational therapist also runs additional tests on you such as:

  1. Heart rate monitoring- they monitor your heart rate to see if you are trying during the testing;
  2. Grip strength testing- they see if you are trying your fullest when you are asked to test your grip strength;
  3. They run the same tests early in the day and later in the day to see if you are consistent over the day;
  4. They run a strength test to see if you are meeting the average expected scores; and
  5. They observe your posture and other biomechanical activities during testing to see if you look like you are trying.

In summary, the experts, most notably ICBC’s experts, are trying to trick you into showing them you are exaggerating your complaints and injuries. Do not think you can trick the experts. Try your fullest and don’t exaggerate but do explain in detail all your issues stemming from the accident. Focus on the negative not the positive.