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Are injured workers receiving the care they need from WorkSafeBC?

Readers may be aware that workers who are injured on the job could obtain workers' compensation benefits to help to cover the expenses that arise as a result of the injury. To secure these benefits injured workers must go through WorkSafeBC. Employers register for WorkSafeBC insurance to cover the individuals that work for them.

Recently the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a paper regarding the treatment chronic pain suffers receive from WorkSafeBC. It focused specifically on the stress and strain connected to resolving matters with WorkSafeBC.

The paper was based on a study involving nine people, between the ages of 40 and 65, who in addition to suffering chronic pain due to musculoskeletal injuries, also worked with either the Workers' Compensation Board of B.C. or WorkSafeBC, to get for benefits.

Eight of the nine people involved in the study ultimately received the compensation sought. To resolve their claims it took between two and 20 years. The median length of time was three years. The ninth person who participated in the study is in the midst of trying to get the compensation.

Having to wait for much needed compensation is difficult. It is that much harder when one is dealing with chronic pain. The study found that in the course of trying to obtain this compensation, two of the nine individuals were hospitalized for suicide attempts. Four others said they had contemplated suicide.

While this study involved only a few people, according to the CCPA the findings are similar to WCB's statistics. The WCB's director of special care services indicates that the organization has taken steps to address the matter by, among other things, creating a 24-7 crisis line and contracts with 10 social workers to provide assistance when people threaten suicide.

When compensation isn't initially granted it can be frustrating for the injured worker. It is possible that working with a lawyer could make that process easier.

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