Psychological Testing and Workers’ Compensation: What You Need To Know

California Workers’ Compensation Law allows for Psychiatric Injuries.  As part of both the treatment and evaluations for Psychiatric Workers’ Compensation Claims, Mental Health Practitioners employ psychological testing.  This article is intended to discuss the nature of psychological testing within this setting.

It is not uncommon that Injured Workers become overwhelmed with the amount of Psychological Testing that is required in connection with their workers’ compensation claim.  Some of these tests can have up to 500 questions to answer.  Injured Workers, who are already suffering from an emotional disturbance, become frustrated at going through the process of having to answer all these questions. It is a lot of work.

Psychological Testing presents itself with many issues of legal import to Injured Workers.  For example, an Injured Worker’s background can impact on the quality of the testing.   Injured Workers may have reading, language, intellectual barriers or confusion (perhaps from medications or pain) which can impact the results of the tests. There are times when test results are considered invalid.

What Is Psychological Testing?

Psychological Testing is a means upon which an evaluator can assess an individual’s psychological state via objective and standardized format.   Testing can show the nature and extent of an Injured Worker’s complaints and symptoms.   Testing can also assess the credibility of the Injured Worker.

Why Is Psychological Testing Done on Workers’ Compensation Cases?

Psychiatric Workers Compensation Claims require that Psychological Treaters and Evaluators make determinations concerning Injured Worker’s diagnosis and the nature and extent of their condition. Testing is a tool used to make these assessments. It can also be used to evaluate credibility.

When Is Psychological Testing Administered?

Psychological Testing will be done as part of both the treatment and the evaluation of the Injured Worker.

  • Injured Workers, during their treatment, will generally be testing when they are first evaluated by their treating doctor.  Further, they will generally be tested when they are released by the treating physician.
  • Injured Workers, during medical-legal evaluations by either a Qualified Medical Evaluator or an Agreed Medical Evaluator, will be asked by the evaluating physician or psychologist to perform various testing.

What Are The Tests That Are Administered?

Some of the tests include the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), MMPI-2, MCMI-III, Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Bender Visual Motor Gestalt, Rey 15 Item Memorization Test, Rey Dot Counting Test, Incomplete Sentences Blank, Beck Suicide Scale, Beck Hopelessness Scale, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Pain Drawing, Brief Pain Inventory, Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices Test, Adult Neuropsychological Questionnaire, and the Insomnia Severity Index.

Why Is Psychological Testing Important?

Psychological Testing is used to determine psychiatric diagnosis.   It is used to determine the severity of the conditions. It is used to determine permanent disability.

How Can Psychological Testing Be Found Not Credible?

Credibility in Psychological Testing does not necessarily mean that the Injured Worker is not being truthful.

Sometimes, the determination that the testing is not credible is simply that the results show that the Injured Worker may not have properly taken the test.   For instance, they may not have completed all of the answers, they may have answered the wrong questions, and they may not have understood the questions.  Other times, they may not have placed the answers on the correct location on the test paper.

Further, it is been noted that testing can be problematic concerning testing that involves elaborations, the reading acuity of the test taker, the language skills of the test taker, or the intelligence of the test taker.  Further, there can be problems resulting from confusion.   The test taker may not understand the question.   This could be due to intelligence, ambiguity or the fact that the test taker may be on medications which could cloud their ability to understand and answer the question.

Will the Testing Solely Determine My Psychiatric Workers Compensation Claim?

No.  Psychological Testing is only part of the Psychiatric Workers Compensation Claim.   Mental Health Practitioners will also look towards the face to face evaluation, the history obtained and the review of records to assess your psychiatric claim.

In sum, Psychological Testing provides the evaluator only part of the puzzle.   There are additional pieces by evaluators needed to make their final conclusions.

What is the Purpose of the Various Tests? 

The following is a description of a number of the tests that are taken and their purpose:

  • MINNESOTA MULTIPHASIC PERSONALITY INVENTORY (MMPI): The MMPI is a test which assesses personality traits and psychopathology.
  • BECK DEPRESSION INVENTORY: The BDI is composed of items relating to symptoms of depression. This includes hopelessness and irritability.  Further, it covers guilt or feelings of being punished.   It also covers physical symptoms.
  • BECK ANXIETY INVENTORY: This test measures the severity of anxiety.
  • BECK HOPELESSNESS SCALE: This test measures three major aspects of hopelessness. This testing includes evaluation of feelings about the future, loss of motivation and expectations. It can be used in assessing suicidal risk.
  • EPWORTH SLEEPINESS SCALE: This test is a questionnaire is intended to provide a measurement of the subject’s general level of daytime sleepiness.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding your Psychiatric Workers Compensation Claim, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.

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