All lawyers want to believe their current/potential clients. Heck, all doctors do too. Sometimes, however, clients lie or exaggerate their injuries, or try to play down their past medical history. Many of these clients don’t do this because they are bad people, but do it because they feel they need to (ie if my pain is a “5” on a 1-10 scale, and I tell my doctor/lawyer/the jury that the pain is a “7”, they’ll believe “5”). This is dangerous thinking, and can get a person into trouble. (Interestingly, my fiance, who is a nurse, told me that she’s seen patients in full cardiac arrest (actually having heart attacks at that second) rate their pain at a 7. I guess its comforting to know that if I don’t put down the Cheetos and have a heart attack, it won’t be the worst pain imaginable.)
Anyway, doctors use signs to tell if a patient is malingering, exaggerating, or downright faking their injuries or symptoms. As an attorney, it is very important to know what these tests are and what a positive or negative sign means. If you know your client didn’t do well on one of those tests, it’s a good idea to bring that up with the doctor before going to trial and hearing the defense attorney tear your case apart on the basis of one of these tests.
So how do you know? Here’s a great article I found with 8 signs of nonorganic back pain. This is a great resource for any attorney dealing with a back pain injury – if you see this stuff in your client’s medical records, you should recognize it and understand the significance of it.