Article 1 – Injured Worker Series
WorksafeBC (the “Board”) is the provincially legislated body having exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate all issues related to most worker injuries occurring in the province. There are some exceptions which will be dealt with in subsequent articles. This means that injured workers usually cannot sue the party that may have caused or contributed to their injury which in most cases would include other employees and the employer. This also means that employees can receive compensation even if their injuries result solely from their own negligence.
Pushor Mitchell is one of the few BC firms which is prepared to take on cases for injured workers. We find that most workers are baffled by the process and most often accept decisions made by the Board thinking that it is futile to challenge them.
Our experience has been in most cases that outcomes can be improved in a variety of ways. These will be discussed in greater detail in future articles but here are some examples:
- pension awards can be increased by obtaining a greater percentage disability award
- pension awards can be increased by obtaining a loss of earnings (LOE) pension
- requests can be made to the Board to require it to adjudicate losses or benefits that it hasn’t considered
- requests can be made to continue pension benefits beyond age 65
The bottom line is that we have often been able to have claims accepted that were initially rejected by the Board and in some cases we have been able to greatly increase the amount of pensions awarded.
Unfortunately many workers do not realize that they have to carefully scrutinize letters from the Board to ensure that they fully understand the decisions. Workers only have 90 days to challenge Board decisions and then only 30 days to appeal any resulting review decisions. It is possible, but very difficult, to get extensions of time to challenge decisions.
Over the next few months in Legal Alert we will be discussing strategies in dealing with the Board, specific challenges to decisions and cases that the Board does not have exclusive jurisdiction over.