I often heard my clients say: “I wanted to tough it out because I thought my injury would heal by itself over time, so I did not seek any medical care and did not report it to my employer or the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.” When symptoms worsened, they realized it was too late to claim a workplace injury. Even if they did finally report it, the Board would most likely deny their claims.
For an injury to be granted entitlement to WSIB benefits, the Board looks at five elements, known as the Five-Point Check System: a worker, an employer, personal work-related injury, proof of the accident, and compatibility of diagnosis to accident or disablement history. The Board will consider if an accident or disablement exists and determine if there are any discrepancies between the date of the accident, the date the worker stopped working, and the date the worker sought medical care. Most importantly, the Board will look at the causal link between the injury/diagnosis and the accident/disablement.
Most workplace accidents are pretty straightforward. For example, you slipped and fell on a wet floor at work and twisted your ankle. You felt a sharp pain in your ankle. You immediately told your employer and were sent home or to an Emergency Room shortly after you fell. In this type of event, either your employer would file a Form 7 or your doctor would file a Form 8 to the Board. Such a claim can be allowed immediately.
Let us change the above scenario a little bit. You slipped and fell on the wet floor at work, and you felt discomfort in your ankle, but you were still able to help yourself up. You told nobody about the accident, and there was no witness. You continued to work for another week, as you thought you could tough it out. The following week, your ankle began to swell and hurt a lot. You called in sick, but still did not tell your employer about the accident that caused your ankle injury. You thought the discomfort in your ankle would heal in several days, so you did not even bother to see your doctor until three weeks after the accident when your injury had worsened to the point you could not walk without severe pain in your ankle.
The delay in reporting the accident to your employer and seeking medical attention caused doubt on whether your injury was arising out of and in the course of employment. Hypothetically, you could have twisted your ankle at the gym after work.
To avoid such a problematic situation, the first thing you must do is to report ANY work-related injury promptly to your employer. At least, you can complain about the injury to your co-workers. Under the law, your employer must report a work-related injury to the Board within THREE DAYS of learning it even if they don’t believe it is work-related, except for mild injuries that only require a band-aid. Failing to do such, they may face a penalty from the Board.
Secondly, if you display any workplace injury symptoms, you need to consult a doctor promptly. Make sure you tell the doctor about the injury in detail, including how/when/where the accident happened. Document the date and time you visit your doctor and keep copies of everything related to your injury.
Third, consult a legal professional. An injured worker, who claims a workplace injury, needs to file a workplace accident report to the Board within a time limit, even though the employer has already reported it. A legal professional experienced in workplace injury claims can help you understand your rights and file a strong case on your behalf.
MiaLegal is specialized in Workplace injury cases. We claim every benefit you are entitled to for you and continue to monitor your case to the closure of your claim. If you have a work-related claim, please don’t be hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.