Workplace Injuries and Workers Compensation Claims
March 13, 2023
WorkSafeBC; Occupational Health & Safety
Workplace Injuries and Workers Compensation Claims
Whether you are an employer or an employee, workplace injuries can have serious consequences. The WorkSafeBC process can be complicated, that’s where the experienced employment law team at KSW Lawyers comes in. With over 10 years of experience handling all types of WorkSafeBC cases, our team of lawyers and designated paralegal can help guide you through the claims and appeals process.
We can help injured workers secure the compensation they deserve, by providing guidance and support throughout the entire claims process, including helping submit a claim, gathering expert medical evidence to support their case, and drafting written submissions on their behalf, and navigate the appeals process if their claim is denied.
For employers, we can provide guidance on their obligations and responsibilities, assessing the merits of a worker claim, responding to WorkSafeBC requests, navigating the claims process, reviewing and implementing safety policies, and minimizing the impact of workplace injuries on their business.
In this article we provide some basic information about the compensation claim system, as well as services our team can provide. For additional information about workplace injuries, compensation claims, and the Workers’ Compensation system in British Columbia, please also review the following articles:
- Overview of Workers’ Compensation in British Columbia
- Who is Covered by Workers’ Compensation Act in British Columbia?
- WorkSafeBC Claims Guide for Injured Workers
What Happens When a Worker Gets Injured at Work
When a worker sustains an injury or develops a medical condition that arises out of and in the course of their employment, both the worker and their employer have an obligation to report the incident to WorkSafeBC. If the worker submits a claim for compensation, WorkSafeBC begins the process of assessing the claim to determine if, and how, the worker will be compensated.
Workplace injuries can have serious consequences for one’s health and career. Fortunately, BC’s Workers’ Compensation Act offers many protections and benefits to injured workers, including wage loss and health care benefits, vocational rehabilitation assistance, permanent partial disability awards for workers that have suffered a permanent injury, and more.
In many cases, WorkSafeBC claims are straightforward and short lived. However, when a worker’s injury or medical condition is serious, long-lasting, or contested, the claim can become more difficult to navigate. This is especially the case when a workplace accident results in multiple injuries and/or medical conditions, and in particular psychological conditions, as all injuries and conditions are adjudicated on the claim.
Disputing a WorkSafeBC Decision
Both the worker and their employer have a right to dispute any decision made by WorkSafeBC by way of appeal to WorkSafeBC’s Review Division as well as the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT). The appeals process can be long and arduous. Moreover, a person unfamiliar with the tribunal system may find the process to be quite frustrating. If a worker disagrees with a Board decision, they can ask the Review Division to review it. They have 90 calendar days to file a Request for Review. If the worker disagrees with a Review Division decision, they can further file a notice of appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) within 30 days of the Review Division decision date.
It is important to note that not all matters decided by the Review Division are appealable to WCAT.
What happens when a worker is out of time to file a Request for Review or WCAT appeal? In rare and exceptional cases the Review Division or WCAT allow a late application to proceed. Our KSW Lawyers Employment Group has been successful in late applications. Read more about the Claims process and our Client Wins in our article here.
Having a legal representative assist with claim management and/or a review and appeal of a decision is an asset. KSW Lawyers has a specialized team of lawyers and a designated paralegal with extensive experience handling all types of WorkSafeBC cases (assisting both workers and employers). Appealing a decision is a time-sensitive and complicated process requiring an intimate familiarity with the rules, policies, and assessment programs. We have won reviews, appeals and judicial reviews for our clients over the last 10 years.
WorkSafeBC Claim Management for Workers - Let KSW Do the Heavy Lifting
When an injured worker retains our services for claim management, we conduct a thorough examination of the claim disclosure to ensure that the claim has been appropriately handled to-date and to provide our professional opinion in relation to whether any adjudications or appeals are warranted.
If so, we prepare comprehensive written submissions to the appropriate level (i.e. Board-level, Review Division, or Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal) outlining the arguments for the adjudication or appeal, relying on the applicable legislation and policies, medical records, and any other relevant documentation. We work closely with physicians and other treatment providers to collect the necessary clinical records or medical reports needed to proceed with these matters.
Navigating the intricacies of a complicated WorkSafeBC claim can be grueling at the best of times, and when a worker is injured or suffering from a disabling medical condition, the last thing they need to be dealing with is paperwork. We are dedicated to helping resolve WorkSafeBC claim issues in the most efficient manner as possible, so that workers and employers can move on.
Please see our WorkSafeBC Claims Guide for Injured Workers for our most commonly asked questions about WorkSafeBC claims. If you require further assistance or do not see your question, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team by either calling 604-591-7321 or by filling out our online submission form here.
WorkSafeBC Claim Management for Employers – KSW Is Here to Help
As an employer, dealing with a workplace injury can be a challenging and stressful experience. At KSW Lawyers, we understand the importance of minimizing the impact of workplace injuries on your business. Here are some ways that our experienced employment law team can help employers:
- Assessing and responding to claims: Our team can help you assess the validity of a claim, and provide guidance on how to respond appropriately. We can also help you gather evidence to support your position, and negotiate with WorkSafeBC on your behalf.
- Reviewing and updating policies: We can review your workplace safety policies and practices to ensure they are up-to-date and in compliance with WorkSafeBC regulations. We can also help you develop new policies to address specific workplace hazards or risks.
- Representing you at hearings: If a claim is appealed to the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal, our team can represent you at the hearing. We can prepare and present evidence on your behalf, cross-examine witnesses, and make legal arguments to support your position.
- Providing training: We can provide training to your staff on workplace safety best practices, including how to identify and report hazards, how to prevent workplace injuries, and how to respond to workplace incidents.
- Advising on return-to-work programs: We can help you develop return-to-work programs for injured employees, which can help reduce the costs and impact of workplace injuries on your business.
At KSW Lawyers, we understand the importance of resolving WorkSafeBC claims efficiently and effectively. With a proven track record of success, having won reviews, appeals, and judicial reviews for our clients over the past decade, our experienced team can provide legal assistance to help you manage the claims process and protect your business.
Note to Readers: The information in this article is not legal advice. If you are looking for legal advice in relation to a particular matter please contact our experienced Employment & Disability Group.
Kirsten Hildebrandt is a paralegal working for the Employment & Disability Group at KSW Lawyers. She was raised in Abbotsford, BC and grew up with a passion for learning. She graduated from high school with an International Baccalaureate Diploma and then moved to Kelowna, BC to study history and political science at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus. In 2013, she concluded the rigorous Paralegal Diploma Program at Capilano University and was awarded her Paralegal Diploma with Distinction.
Ale Henao is an associate with KSW Lawyers Employment & Labour group.
Ale’s interest in employment law started with the West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). She facilitated a program that discussed employment rights, human rights, and systemic discrimination with high school students across the Lower Mainland and in Kamloops. Throughout law school, Ale worked as a Research Assistant for the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project...
Chris Drinovz is a Partner at KSW Lawyers and the founder and leader of the Employment & Labour Group. His calling is to excellence through the mastery of his craft and tireless dedication to his clients. He is described as hard-working, analytical, trustworthy, and genuine. Chris works with business leaders and union and non-union organizations to solve workplace legal problems and achieve long-term solutions that align with his client’s values. He is a dedicated advisor and an experienced courtroom advocate with a track record of success.
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