On February 8, 2021, a CBC news article titled Injured Woman Secretly Videotaped by Insurer, then Wrongly Accused of Fraud caught my attention. It was about Alicia Micallef, who had a workplace incident during work in May 2015. Alicia Micallef hit her head on an open locker door and sustained a concussion at work. Her case was granted entitlement to WSIB benefits. After some treatments, she was required to return to work. As a result, she sustained a second injury. This is quite common as most injured workers are prone to further injuries after returning to work. After the second injury, Micallef did not go back to work.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) determined that Micallef’s treatment and recovery were taking too long. The WSIB hired professional private detectives to track and photograph Micallef’s daily activities, e.g., when she went out for a walk and grocery shopping. The WSIB claimed that the video recordings proved that Micallef was lying about her injury and inability to return to work. For this reason, the WSIB not only reduced her benefits but also required her to return part of the loss of earning benefits she had received previously. When Micallef refused, the WSIB took Micallef to court for false claims.
It is worth noting that Micallef fought back bravely against the charges in court. After two years, Micallef was finally acquitted by the court and continues to fight for her workplace injury benefits. Regrettably, a lot of injured workers easily give up their right to fight their claims due to the complexity of the appeal procedures and their aversion to litigation.
The truth is workplace injury cases may take several years to claim. A case may have multiple issues at different stages, such as workplace injury initial entitlement, medical care benefits, loss of earnings benefits, permanent impairment recognition and non-economic loss award, work injury recurrence identification, secondary work injury identification, etc. As it involves the interpretation of the laws and policies and the evaluation of evidence, any work-related claims can be rejected by the WSIB, especially for those gradual onset injuries.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act established a three-level process for work-related injury claims and two judicial bodies (the WSIB and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal – the WSIAT) to protect injured workers’ rights and interests.
How to protect an injured worker’s right to WSIB compensations? Here are some tips:
- Don’t be afraid to appeal. It is not unusual when a work-related claim was denied by the WSIB. Do not give up your right to appeal. Fight on.
- File an appeal promptly. Failure to file an appeal application within the prescribed time limit will result in losing your right to appeal.
- Effective Appeal Stategies. Appeals involve evidence collection, litigation skills, strategies and other legal professional knowledge and experience. Seek professional help in time when needed.
Should you require legal advice about workplace injuries, MiaLegal specializes in workplace injury claims and appeals. The team is headed by Mia Liu, a licensed Paralegal in Ontario who has extensive experience handling WSIB work-related claims, legal disputes and appeal procedures. Book a 30-minute no-obligation free consultation with us, or call us at 289-968-9599.
Disclaimer: This article aims to share relevant legal knowledge and does not constitute legal advice. Reading this article does not constitute a legal commission relationship with MiaLegal.