Workers Compensation Claims: A Few Quick Tips

If you have a Workers Compensation claim there are a few things that may save you some time in dealing with the WCB. We’ve culled these from 30 years of dealing with the Board.

Trying to reach your case manager but she won't call you back?

It’s good optics to tell people that they have the “direct line” to their case manager; makes it sound like there will be a minimum of bureaucracy to get in touch. While some case managers may be good about returning calls, others seem to consider their phone an impermeable firewall to prevent workers (and their representatives) from getting through. Here’s the thing: if you have left a message for your case manager or vocational rehabilitation consultant (VRC) on their direct line, you can`t prove it. This means that if you later complain that you called him 30 times and got no reply, you have nothing to support your claim.

What to do? Call the main switchboard of the WCB and ask them to leave a message for your case manager/vocational rehabilitation consultant. This message will be on the file and if you later want to complain to a Client Services Manager, you've got the record to back you up! The switchboard numbers are:

Lower Mainland: 604.231.8888

Toll-free: 1.888.967.5377

2. Waiting for a decision from the Board that seems like it's never going to come?

If your case manager or VRC promised you a decision of any kind (for example, are they going to approve physiotherapy, or refer you to Disability Awards) but it's weeks overdue and she won't call you back, or if you have any complaint generally about your case manager or VRC, call their Client Services Manager (CSM). We are unaware of any site that actually lists who these Client Services Managers are however all you have to do is call the main switchboard number above and give them your claim number. They will tell you the name of your current case manager and the Client Services Manager they report to. The CSM will generally light a fire under a case manager who has been unduly slow.

(Remembering that for something to be “unduly slow” in WCB world, it has to be REALLY slow.)

3. Finally, if you still can`t get that decision letter you’ve been expecting for months, you can call the Fair Practices Office of the WCB.

The Fair Practices Office is woefully understaffed and always struggling to keep up. They don’t have much power but the one thing they can usually do is get the case manager or vocational rehabilitation consultant to issue a decision letter where it is long overdue. The Fair Practices Office is on the WCB website.

Contact information is: Website: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/fairness-privacy/fair-practices-office

Phone: 604.276.3053 (Lower Mainland)

Toll-free: 1.800.335.9330 (B.C. and Alberta

4. Help Yourself.

We say this over and over again, year in and year out, just because it's so important: see your doctor regularly!

We can`t emphasize enough the importance of having ongoing medical documentation of your condition. Save yourself a lot of grief in the long run. Even if you are no longer in active treatment; maintain regular contact within your family physician, even if it's just making an appointment once every two months.

Go in and tell your doctor if you still have any symptoms at all from the injury. If your condition flares-up and you have to go off work again, this will stop the WCB from saying that you had completely recovered from your prior injury and that your current problems are unrelated. Think of going to your doctor regularly as an insurance policy for yourself, just in case, you experience problems in future. It can`t hurt you; it can only help.

5. One More Thing You Can Do

Keep a diary. Get yourself a small diary or a calendar and write down your symptoms: when did it hurt, how much, where and what were you doing that day? Make a note of your medical appointments. Remember that you could be in an oral hearing at the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal a year or two down the road. Not only will this help you to remember, but notes made at the time carry much more weight as evidence than your recollections a year later. It takes very little time and you'll be glad you did.

Rush Crane Guenther, Barristers & Solicitors

Suite 300 – 111 Water Street | Vancouver, B.C. V6B 1A7

Tel: (604) 687-5611 | Fax: (604) 681-0912 | E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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