Article 2 – Injured Worker Series: Settlement of WorkSafeBC Claims

By Alfred Kempf
Categories: Blog, Employment Law

We are frequently asked about “settling with the Board”. Our response is that you cannot settle with WorkSafeBC (“the Board”).

The basic scheme of compensation for injured workers is that the Board adjudicates all claims. In other words, it makes decisions starting with whether the claim will be accepted. If it is accepted a number of other decisions will be made concerning wage loss, medical care, rehabilitation, and pension benefits. Each of these decisions in turn are based on numerous other decisions. For example, in determining wage loss benefits the Board will decide when the benefits commence, how much they will be initially and in the long term, and when they will terminate.

By the time a worker receives his first wage loss cheque several decisions may have been made by the Board. The Board does not negotiate before making its decisions. It has no legal right to do so. It is required to, and does, consider information available to it from the worker, doctors, the employer, and other witnesses in making its decisions.

There are only two ways an injured worker can influence Board decisions: ensure that the Board is provided information supportive of the claim; and/or challenge incorrect decisions by seeking reconsideration or review. If the Board does not change its decision on reconsideration or review an appeal lies to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal. There are strict time limits applying to reconsiderations, reviews, and appeals.

Employers are in the same position with the Board. They cannot negotiate an outcome but they can request reconsiderations, reviews, and make appeals.