It is essential for those who get hurt at work to know the ins and outs of reporting a workplace injury in Nova Scotia. By reading this article, you can make sure that your rights are not compromised in the future.
If you get injured at work in Nova Scotia, you will usually be covered under the provincial Workers’ Compensation program. The Workers Compensation Board of Nova Scotia runs the program. It is a type of disability compensation insurance for people who suffer workplace injuries in Nova Scotia.
Here is what you have to know if you are reporting a workplace injury in Nova Scotia.
There is a time limit
It is imperative that if you have been injured at work, you report the injury immediately. Delay in reporting your workplace injury might eventually defeat the purpose of having a safety net in the event of a debilitating work injury.
We recommend that someone injured at work immediately notify their employer. Tell your employer even though you might not think of the injury as serious enough to warrant telling them.
The Workers Compensation Board requires a report within 5 days of the injury. It is critical that you notify the employer, and that you and your employer notify the Workers Compensation Board.
Report your workplace injury to avoid trouble in the future
It is common for people who have had an injury at work to downplay the extent of their injury. They might be embarrassed about it or think that reporting an injury would have a negative impact on their employment. Or, they simply do not want to go through the hassle of filing paperwork and reporting their injury.
This might seem like the easy way out at that point in time. But, such a delay may have negative consequences if the injury gets worse down the road and was not reported in the first instance. You will have a hard time explaining, connecting, and proving that the medical issues you face now are a result of an unreported injury that occurred months back.
Connecting the dots and linking current medical conditions to a previous injury is key to successfully obtaining workers’ compensation. However, delay or failure to report a workplace injury will leave an impression that you are simply making up a story to get benefits and there is a high probability that such a claim will be rejected.
Therefore, it is essential that no matter how minor the injury may appear in the first place, you report it to your employer and then to the WCB of Nova Scotia.
What if your employer doesn’t want you to report?
There will be some employers and unions who do not want people to report their injuries and would deploy different techniques to achieve their objectives. Employers and unions might overtly tell someone to not report their injury to avoid any untoward and unintended consequences.
In most cases however, they will subtly divert people. They will do this by recommending that you apply for Employment Insurance or Short Term Disability rather than reporting your injury to WCB.
This could be a fatal mistake.
So, let’s say you report your injury to your employer and they are dragging their feet and not wanting to do it. You are beginning to worry that this is not being handled properly and your rights are not being looked after by your employer and/or your union.
What can you do?
We would suggest you reach out to a disability law firm like ours who can help you to get that report put in. Alternatively, you can go to your doctor and report your injury to your doctor.
Even if you decide not to engage a law firm, it is important for you to get your injury on the record with your doctor and note it as a workplace injury. Doctors have a form that they can submit to the Workers Compensation Board of Nova Scotia to report a workplace injury suffered by their patients.
Once your doctor has submitted the form to the Workers Compensation Board, a process will be triggered. The WCB will reach out to you and your employer to ask for the injury report. This is an alternative way to get the Workers Compensation Board actively involved if you are having difficulty with your employer or union in reporting the injury in the first place.
Why you have to report your workplace injury
The law requires that an injured worker reports their workplace injury to the Workers Compensation Board within a given timeframe. If someone does not report the injury and later deals with an insurance based disability claim, there can be problems. If the insurance provider finds out that the injury was caused at the workplace and they can show that it should have been reported to WCB, they are entitled to not pay you anything. To make matters worse, if they discover the fact of the workplace injury years down the road, they will want you to refund them for their payments.
There is no reason for you not to report your workplace injury. It is in your best interest and also in your employer’s best interest to have a healthy workforce which is cared for if they are injured during work.
However, some employers and unions might have a financial incentive not to report workplace injuries to keep their premiums and rates at a minimum. This financial incentive not to report workplace injuries goes against the worker’s well being and rights.
Sometimes unions will try to put people off from reporting injuries by alluding to how tedious the workers compensation process is. They might say that you would be better off getting EI. There is some truth to this, but it’s not entirely accurate. Workers Compensation is not always a nightmare and you are much better off to have reported this injury to them.
How to report a workplace injury in Nova Scotia
First, you have to notify your employer immediately. You now have 5 days for you and your employer to fill out the WCB injury report form. You can send that in by fax, mail, or email. Some employers have the option to submit it online as well. If available, this should be the preferred method.
Nova Scotia WCB Injury Report form — Click here to download
Fax it to:
Mail it to either the Halifax or Sydney office:
5668 South St,
Halifax, NS B3J 2Y2
404 Charlotte Street, Suite 200
Sydney, NS B1P 1E2
If you are in one of these difficult situations, we would suggest reaching out to us for a free case review. If you qualify, we will look at your situation and give you pointers on what to do. In some cases, we could actually represent you and file the report for you. In other situations, we may be able to direct you on what to do and you can get everything done yourself while protecting your rights.
It is just important that you get your workplace injury reported. Too many workplace injuries go unreported — and the person that ends up losing in that situation is you.