“Delay, denial and debt mark WSIB struggle for man who lost his memory in a workplace struggle.” / Sara Mojtehedzadeh (Toronto Star, Mar. 12, 2016)
58-year old Burlington man, Darryl Bold, is still battling for compensation six years after suffering multiple injuries from a fall while working at the GTA railyard Autoport, a CN Rail-owned company. According to his medical records, these included fractures to his pelvis and ribs in six places, a bruised lung and kidney, lacerated spleen, multiple fractures of his back and a small brain hemorrhage. But the injured worker says dealing with the WSIB over his February 2010 accident “has been just as agonizing as his injuries.. [the] WSIB has delayed its decisions, changed its mind on his medical condition, and so far failed to compensate him either for his brain injury or psychological trauma.”
Also adding to the delay, two appeals against his claim by the temporary agency, Express Employment Professionals. Its Burlington manager, in affirming the company’s safety priorities, points to its ” ‘great record’ receiving rebates from WSIB for low injury claims…” Mr Bold estimates medical expenses, lost income and legal fees have so far cost him between $80,000 to $100,000.
Banking on the drop-out rate?
According to his lawyer, Michael Green, the delay and denied recognition of a permanent neurological injury (a reversal of the WSIB’s previous ruling) is an example of “how harshly the board treats people with brain injuries and psychological conditions.” He notes that Mr Bold’s experience has become increasingly common since 2010 when the Board began its current focus on cutting its unfunded liability. The WSIB, in its response to the Star, says permanency of psychological injuries, like that of physical injuries, is decided based on the medical evidence. However, the lawyer, with 30 years’ experience in workers’ compensation, sees Mr Bold’s case as part of a larger problem that the Board has in dealing with claims involving subjective evidence. Additionally, that by setting up a separate unit in 2012 to deal with “secondary entitlement” – psycho-traumatic disability and chronic pain – the WSIB has only increased the delay in dealing with these claims.
“One of the things the board banks on is what we call the drop-out rate” – when injured workers and their families are worn down by the time, costs and despair caused by handling of their claims.
This is the latest of several recent articles by the reporter that cover ongoing concerns about how the Board is dealing with the costs of permanent disability claims.
- Colantonio, Angela. 2016. “Return to Work After Work-related Traumatic Brain Injury” NeuroRehabilitation 39(3): 389-399
- Ontario Brain Injury Association. 2012. The OBIA Impact Report: A Statistical Snapshot of Acquired Brain Injury and Its Effects on Survivors and Caregivers”