$$$ Settlement & Pain Recovery

Reference:Spearing NM, et al Are people who claim compensation “cured by a verdict”? A longitudinal study of health outcomes after whiplash. J Law Med. 2012 Sep;20(1):82-92.

This study published in the Journal of Law and Medicine analyzed if injury compensation entices whiplash claimants to exaggerate their pain and disability.

This longitudinal study clearly showed that removing the financial incentive had little effect on self-reported neck pain in a fault-based compensation scheme, indicating there is no such thing as “cured by a verdict”.

Personal Comment: Although I’m all about evidence-based articles, I may debate this paper a bit. Once an individual goes through months or years of legal battle, proving their pain and disability, even when their case is settled with a financial reward, one cannot expect that their pain would suddenly just go away!

If fact, these individuals become inevitably centrally sensitized fighting a battle trying to convince lawyers, insurance companies, employers and family members that they are truly in pain and disabled …what a terrible state for the brain to be in.

Just because the person gets a $10 000 settlement (minus the lawyer’s fee), does not suddenly reverse the central sensitization that has already occurred. The central sensitization may partially be blamed on lawyers magnifying patients’ sense of “perceived injustice”

… and the evidence is clear: “perceived injustice” is directly linked to chronic pain and disability! Is it my imagination or are personal injury lawyers advertising more in Canada, following the trend of our American neighbours?

Going back to our flatulence scenario, I cannot foresee a study demonstrating if people got a financial reward, they would perceive someone else’s flatulence more favourably.

Try this mini-experiment on a friend or a family member; offer them $5 and see if their perceived threat of a foul odour changes. I tried this quasi “scientific” experiment on my wife and kids and not only did it not work, it backfired on me… But I had to do it in the name of science!

Posted on: December 20, 2013

Categories: Fascinating Pain Studies

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