I’m forever searching for a decent explanation as to why the AMA Guidelines used to assess injured workers in the WorkCover system are so poor and out of date, especially when it comes to assessing chronic pain (and in my case of pudendal neuralgia measures a total score of 0!!).
Along my social media travels, searching for answers and researching for treatment or updated information regarding my condition, I have met John and had the pleasure of some great discussions. Dr John Quintner is a consultant physician in rheumatology and pain medicine and has kindly offered to share his published opinion on the matter. Thanks John!
Here’s an excerpt, or download the full pdf document.
Personal injury compensation: lessons from Talmudic law
People claiming or entitled to monetary compensation for personal injury tend to have poorer health outcomes overall than those with comparable injuries when compensation is not an issue.1
This article examines some of the principles upon which our personal injury compensation systems are based, in order to better understand why the process of tort litigation has itself become such a major factor in healthcare in modern societies.
In attempting to explain this phenomenon, researchers have implicated a large number of psychosocial factors, but have not found any readily isolated causes. Moreover, it is not understood how the various factors might operate in individual cases.2
That the legal process itself can adversely affect the health of those litigating for personal injury compensation has long been known. As Sir John Collie, the famous British medical examiner, observed in 1932:
‘Litigation magnifies pain, perpetuates incapacity and introspection; and subjective sensations are unwittingly fostered.’3
More recently, Nortin Hadler, Professor of Medicine in North Carolina, has reiterated the negative impact of the interaction between injured people and compensation systems.4 He stated a truism: ‘[A]nyone who has to prove that he or she is ill cannot get better. In fact, they can only get more disabled; any other option will compromise their veracity.’5
A detailed exposition of the principles of compensation for injury can be found in the Talmud, which spans a period from 200 BCE to 700 CE, during which time the oral tradition of the Jewish people (the Mishnah) was committed to writing by generations of sages. The sages looked upon the law as an expression of the life of man, not merely abstract theory.
TALMUDIC LAWThe Talmud consists of 63 chapters within six categorisations. Tractate Baba Kamma (first gate) deals with Nezikim, or civil and criminal law. The laws regarding torts and damages are to be found in Chapter 8.6 The Mishnah says [83b] that:
‘One who injures a fellow man becomes liable to him for five items: for damages (depreciation), for pain, for healing, for loss of time and for degradation (indignity).’7
The Talmud explains that five was the maximum number of items that could be considered by the court. An individual case may not necessarily require compensation under all items.
When determining depreciation for injuries resulting in loss of a limb, loss of an eye, or a fracture, the injured person was assessed as if he or she were a slave on sale in the open market place. A valuation was made as to the person’s present worth, compared with that prior to the injury.
Obviously factors such as age, sex, education, and employment skills would be taken into consideration when judges determined the present worth of the injured person.
The offender then had to pay the amount by which he had diminished the monetary value of the other person.
When the injured person claimed to be deaf or blind, monetary compensation was paid only after a long period of observation had eliminated the possibility of pretence.8