If you work in Ontario, you are entitled to a safe and healthy workplace! In fact, you are within your rights to refuse to work if you believe that your health and safety are in jeopardy. Even so, that doesn’t mean you’ll never suffer an injury at work, but if you do, know that there are systems in place to help you receive all that you’re entitled to.
When you are injured, your supervisor is supposed to report the injury to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (otherwise known as the WSIB) within three days. You will be entitled to free health treatments, including prescription drugs. Your employer must accommodate you by modifying your work if you return to work while you are recovering.
You should also be compensated for any wages you lose due to your injury. The person who decides exactly how much compensation you receive is an adjudicator employed by the WSIB. The adjudicator will make the decision based on the information you submit, and it will be sent to you once the supervisor reports your injury. The nurse caseworker can answer some questions, but an experienced workplace injury lawyer can advise you on how best to fill out the form and react to any hurdles along the way.
Adjudicators can come to unfair decisions, and you have every right to appeal them. Once the WSIB receives your complaint, they will send you your file. Your supervisor will also receive your file, including your medical information, but you can object to your supervisor seeing this information. Yet another form must be filled out in order to register your objection, and the adjudicator can still decide to send them to your employer. Your recourse is to take your case to the Insurance Appeals Tribunal, which is a separate bureau in the Ministry of Labour.
The adjudicator will try to keep the case from going before the insurance tribunal, and they will want to review the file. If the case is a bit more complicated, they will hold an in-person hearing. An experienced lawyer can help you get the most out of this hearing. If the hearing doesn’t go your way, you can bring your case to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal. You will definitely be well advised to hire an experienced workplace injury lawyer when you reach that point. The tribunal changes their policies often. For instance, this year they introduced a 6-month time limit on appealing board decisions. The tribunal can award non-economic losses as well as rule on what sort of benefits you will receive.
Every Canadian has the right to be compensated for workplace injuries. If you’re not an expert in legal proceedings, or in the WSIB, then ask for help by turning to a reputed firm. Remember that when you’re injured, and remember to stack the odds in your favour of a beneficial settlement by enlisting the assistance of a legal expert.