As a personal injury lawyer, I’m often asked about the challenges faced by people dealing with workplace injuries. Nobody goes to work expecting to get hurt, but the reality is that each year over 250,000 Canadians are injured on the job. Not only do workplace injuries cause physical pain and suffering, but they can have a major impact on everything from income to relationships, mental wellness and even future employment opportunities.
Injured Workers – Aren’t They Just ‘Faking It’?
To make matters even worse is the fact that injured workers are often viewed with suspicion by insurance companies, management and even their colleagues. Unfortunately, there’s a real stigma around workplace injuries — many people (falsely) believe that workers would rather ‘fake’ an injury than putting in an honest days’ work.
It’s common for insurance companies to do everything in their power to discredit injured workers, and these companies even employ private investigators to spy on employees who are on sick or disability leave.
We’ve all heard stories about how a so-called injured worker was caught spending their time off work enjoying a ski vacation, doing renovations on their homes, or even working for another company while collecting workers’ compensation. While most of these stories are little more than urban myths, these fables add to the stigma experienced by workers who are suffering from a real injury or workplace accident.
The Invisible Pain of Workplace Injuries
Another challenge that injured workers must often face is the tremendous strain the situation puts on their personal lives.
Getting hurt on the job means major changes in day-to-day life. Everything from normal routines to roles within the family is impacted — that means unwelcome, and often stressful disruptions to who does certain chores, how the kids get to and from school, and even changes to who is the breadwinner in the family.
At Diamond and Diamond, we understand that most people take pride in their job, and their self-worth and identity are closely linked to their career. Being unable to return to their previous job, or dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the workplace injury can lead to depression, anxiety and social withdrawal.
Workplace Injuries Cost More Than You Might Expect
And one of the most obvious effects of a workplace injury is the financial impact it can have. Even injured employees who work in a unionized environment, have a supportive manager or a good workplace insurance plan usually wind up experiencing financial hardship.
The reality is that sick leave usually only pays workers two-thirds of their usual salary, while long-term disability rates are even lower. Few of us can afford to take a 33% cut in pay, but that’s the situation many injured workers face. Add to that the high cost of rehabilitation, medication, therapies and hiring help at home and it’s easy to see why financial stress is high among those who have been hurt at work.
How To Get Help Dealing With A Workplace Injury
The best way to fight back against the stigma, pain and misinformation around workplace injuries is to find a strong advocate who fights for injured workers.
Diamond & Diamond does not handle WSIB cases but can refer you to a firm that does. Diamond & Diamond handles work-related accidents and injuries outside the WSIB regime.
About Jeremy Diamond
Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer who was called to the Bar in 2008 and practices in the areas of Plaintiff personal injury litigation in Toronto. Click here to learn more about Jeremy Diamond.