5 CRITICAL ACTIONS NEEDED

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IMPORTANT STEPS

The most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS tell your employer immediately after you were injured. DO NOT let them talk you out of reporting this to WCB. Most employers are only concerned about their WCB premiums going up. GO TO THE DOCTORS IMMEDIATELY – no matter how temporary or minimal you believe the injury to be. The details of an injury can be forgotten so keep a detailed account of this.

The following critical action listed is what I found to be the most important steps to take after you have been injured on the job. This is not always realistic if you find out a year or more into your claim. I was fortunate enough to be given some good advice in the beginning.  The rest I had to learn over time and that didn’t come without getting shafted by WCB a few times prior to learning. You will discover throughout your claim process, how critical these 5 actions will become!

1. NEVER COMPLETE THE ONLINE INJURY REPORT!

These cannot be printed or saved from WCB's online services page, and have been known to disappear. This form can be found on WCB's website under forms. https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/workers/c060.pdf  

You can also print off a copy of this form from the above link. On occasion, your employer will have a copy. Fill this in to the best of your ability and make sure to get a copy. Some employers say they will send it in for you. I strongly advise against this unless they are willing to provide a copy to you immediately.  Employers are also required by law to provide you with a copy of their report and notice as well. This information is stated under Section 33(1)(i) of the WCA 2000. I didn’t know any of this in the beginning, and have heard the same story from several other injured workers. Once I received my employers copy, I discovered they lied about my hours, wages, job duties and even my accident details. Be sure to go over both copies to make sure the information matches. Reasons for this is my employer’s version of how I fell and got injured was quite different than my version (I was alone when I was injured). However, WCB used the employers and this affected decisions on my claim for many months after!


2. ALWAYS KEEP A DAILY JOURNAL!

The best way I found to keep a journal clear and concise was to base it by each day’s date. Try to include a description of the accident, events, discussions, letters received, phone calls, emails, etc. If you are sent to see their doctor's, write down things said. Be sure to mention pain levels & physical inabilities if you have any. You will be glad you did this when you need to rely on memory for an appeal after a year or two into your claim or incorrect information found on a letter or report.  

I created a daily journal and was very thankful I did. I was referring back to this a year later! These journals will help you when your worker states you were told something important in a letter 6 months ago. You can go into the journal and find that date and what happened back then. Create some type of file system. If your claim lasts more than a year, you will be overwhelmed with paperwork. If you organize this right from the beginning, it will make your life easier down the road!

3. OBTAIN COPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS/REPORTS!

Documents disappear if WCB knows you don't have a copy!  You are entitled to a copy of all reports pertaining to your claim. This is why it’s important to make sure your case manager knows you have a copy.  These can include but are not limited to: All hospital, doctors reports, scans, x-rays, MRI’s, blood tests and doctor’s notes. Other documents can also include mandatory progress reports from physio therapists, psychologists, specialists and assessments. There is a section in the WCA 2000 stating that medical providers must provide you with copies of all reports applicable to your injury and claim. This can be found in Section 33(1)(a) WCA 2000.

  
You are also entitled to a copy of your entire claim file and can request an updated copy every 6 weeks.  Phone the WCB Contact Centre; In Edmonton at 780-498-3999, Press 1 then 3, In Calgary at 403-517-6000. You will be asked to provide your name, claim #, and birth date. You can have this sent by email in a pdf file or a hard copy mailed to you. It has been my experience that the email copies have multiple copies of the same document. I was forced to wonder why that was and if they made others disappear! With the hard copy, you are not wasting money on ink for your printer if you have one. 

Hint: They will tell you it takes 20 days to receive a copy of your claim file but if you tell them you need the documents to prepare for an appeal, they have to get it to you in 10! ;)

4. NEVER PROVIDE WCB ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS!

Always keep a copy for your records. There are a lot of doctors that get over-powered by WCB and things like doctor's notes and reports disappear. If WCB knows you have copies of any reports or documents, they usually don't disappear. NEVER RELY on doctors, specialists, physiotherapists, etc to send WCB reports. It is pertinent that you send your case manager an email telling them you have copies.

You can attach the document to the email, but it’s better to send it in to contact centre. If you take the documents into the WCB office on a visit you can prepare yourself as they have rules to protect themselves from you. Do not put your paperwork in an envelope and remove all staples and paperclips. They will make you open the envelope in front of them and remove the staples with your fingers or they wont accept it.Send them yourself by email or fax, and be sure to get a confirmation email from the contact centre. If you are faxing, make sure the fax is set up to print off a confirmation page. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours, keep sending every day until you do. WCB's email: contactcentre@wcb.ab.ca     Fax# 780-427-5863

5. HAVE YOUR DOCTOR SEND YOU FOR SCANS/TESTS IMMEDIATELY

If your doctor refuses to send you for some form of scan, get rid of them! You can't be accused of doctor shopping if your doctor is not looking out for the best interests of your health. If the injury is serious, have them send you to the applicable specialists as well. Personal experiences have shown me the radiologists that WCB uses seem to come up with different results than what is reported from a scan your doctor sent you for.  WCB will send you to their specialist's, and use these reports, that in my opinion and experience are often inaccurate! These specialists are able to expedite a scan the following day. 

WCB Policy states you have the right to choose your own doctor, specialist, physio therapist, etc. https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/public/policy/manual/printable_pdfs/0406_2_app1.pdf This will become very crucial because most claimants know how WCB's doctors operate with medical reporting. If you have a specialist's report contradicting WCB's doctors, the specialist's report prevails. The medical consultants reporting cannot overpower a specialists.

The biggest corruption in the WCB system is the continued denial of legitimate claims due to WCB’s doctors fabricating medical reports to assist with the denial of claims and pertinent medical treatment. 

If you are in a position to pay for a private scan, have your doctor give you a requisition for one. These scans will be done within 48-72 hours. You also get to pick up the results from the imaging clinic. Once you get the results, send a copy in to your claim file as well as to your case manager by email or fax. Policy states they have to reimburse you for this. https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/public/policy/manual/printable_pdfs/0406_2_app1.pdf I had a CT Scan due to WCB’s doctors and med consultants burying serious injuries and claiming that I was healed. I paid out $975. For this scan and had it reimbursed to me within 2 weeks!