MO: “She’s a Drama Queen” Defense Fails In PTSD Claim

MO: “She’s a Drama Queen” Defense Fails In PTSD Claim

Claimant alleged post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder after a semi rear-ended her car, resulting in physical-mental injuries and the need for a thoracic fusion.    The Commission affirmed an award of permanent and total disability benefits, and rejected the employer’s psychiatric expert because he “was not objective” and he concluded claimant was a “drama queen.”  The case is Sellars v Orkin Pest Control, DOLIR 8-13-10.

The Commission rejected the defense that the administrative law judge over-relied upon subjective findings and misapplied 287.190.6(2) that requires objective medical findings shall prevail over subjective medical findings where conflicting medical opinions exist.   Psychiatric claims are inherently subjective and sometimes baffle “the greatest medical minds”.  Claimant is not required to always objectively determine a cause of a psychiatric condition. The Commission found that the administrative law judge properly applied 287.190.6(2), which the Commission concluded required an assessment whether any subjective psychiatric allegations were “out of proportion” to the physical injury.   The opinion identified claimant’s significant orthopedic injuries including procedures from T10-L1 resulting in permanent lifting restrictions.  Claimant failed to return to work in an accommodated position.  The Commission further noted employee’s expert had also performed additional “tests” as a basis for his opinion, which the employer’s expert had not performed.

Source: Martin Klug, Huck, Howe & Tobin. Read Martin Klug’s Mo. Workers’ Comp Alerts