Stage 1: Reporting your injury
You've been hurt at work. Now what? You probably have some (or a lot of) questions about what's next. That's why we're here. We want you to have the best recovery possible, with a good understanding of the steps required along the way.
1. Tell your employer
If you've been hurt at work or discover that you are suffering from an occupational disease, you have the right to report your injury. Let your employer know exactly what happened to cause your injury/illness. Once they've been notified, your employer is required by law to report your injury to WCB within 72 hours if:
- You need medical treatment beyond first aid.
- You cannot do your job beyond the day of accident (example: miss time from work).
2. Tell your doctor
Tell your doctor or other health care provider (e.g. chiropractor, physiotherapist) that you were injured at work. They are required by law to report your injury to WCB within 48 hours.
3. Tell WCB
We want to know your story. Completing a report of injury form right away, containing the details of your injury/illness, will help us to make correct and timely decisions for you. You can get this form from your employer, here on our website or at any WCB office.
For instructions on how to report an injury see Report an injury: For workers.
In order for the claim process to begin, we require reports from everyone noted above.
Learn more about reporting an injury, the claims process, and services provided for workers.
Interpretation and translation services
Access interpretation or translation services for medical, vocational and other claim-related appointments required by WCB.
Instructions for these 3 steps are available to print in 15 different languages.
Go to Stage 2: Claim classification
Stage 2: Claim classification
After reporting, your injury will be classified and a decision will be made about the status of the claim.
Types of claims
WCB registers your claim as one of the following:
- lost-time claim
- no-time-lost claim
- interjurisdictional claim
Your claim will be assigned to an adjudicator who determines which benefits you are entitled to receive. If you need additional rehabilitation support to return to work, your claim may be transferred from an adjudicator to a case manager.
If you did not miss work past the day of injury, a claim process team will monitor medical treatment.
If you are injured in a province that you are working in, but are not a resident of, you can choose to have your claim started in the province of employment or your home province.
For example, a worker that lives in British Columbia, but gets injured on the job while working in Alberta, can have his/her claim initiated in B.C. if they prefer.
Go to Stage 3: Claim decision and next steps
Stage 3: Claim decision and next steps
Once an initial decision has been made on your claim, it will be given one of the following status types:
- not accepted
- pending (a decision has not been made yet)
- processed (a claim has been registered and medical costs are being paid, but the claim has not been reviewed for a decision)
- medical investigation (further medical assessments are required before a decision can be made)
Once your claim is accepted, your adjudicator will contact you to discuss the benefits you are entitled to, along with other services that can help you return to work.
Just like you and your injury, each claim is unique. Some claims require more support and ongoing communication than others. If that's the case, your adjudicator may transfer your claim to a case manager, who will work closely with you and your employer to determine the return-to-work options that are best suited to you.
Once your claim has been accepted, you can check the ongoing status of your new claim online.
Claim not accepted (denied)
Your adjudicator may reject your claim if any of the following is true:
- Your injury did not arise out of employment.
- Your diagnosis is for a condition not caused by work.
- There is not enough information in your file to support that an injury or illness occurred.
- Your claim was not filed within 24 months of your injury.
- Your employer is not required to have workers' compensation coverage and has opted not to purchase it.
You can request a copy of your claim file at any time during the claims process. Find out how to do so here.
If your claim is rejected, you have options.
We are committed to making claim decisions that are fair. It is important to us that you understand the decisions that affect your claim.
As a worker, you can question any decision made on your claim. As decisions are made, you will receive decision letters and it is important that you read these carefully to understand the decisions made and the rationale behind them.
See Review and appeals for workers to learn more about this process and the help that is available to you.
Go to Stage 4: Treatment and recovery
Stage 4: Treatment and recovery
We want you to feel better. A healthy, positive recovery is one of the most important parts of successfully returning to work. To help you get there, we have a wide range of rehabilitation services available.
Just as you are, each claim is unique. We review each one individually to determine the benefits and services that are best suited to you and your recovery. We place a strong focus on rehabilitation that will get you back to your pre-accident job.
A wide range of treatment and rehabilitation services are available, and will be offered to you based on the nature of your injury and/or progression of your claim. To learn more about these options, visit Treatment and recovery.
Go to Stage 5: Return to work
Stage 5: Return to work
Throughout the entire claim process, our priority is always to help you get back to work safely—but we don't do this alone. Recovering and returning to work happen because you, your employer and health care providers work with us to make it happen.
Creating a plan
Once your claim is approved, we develop a case plan with you and your employer. A case plan lists clear return-to-work goals and how we will work together to achieve those goals. The case plan has distinct phases through which a claim typically progresses:
- Entitlement determined: WCB confirms claim acceptance.
- Case plan defined: Together we determine appropriate treatment and return-to-work options.
- Fitness to work determined: We define the standards required for your safe return to work.
- Return-to-work status confirmed: We follow up to make sure you have returned to safe and appropriate work.
- Case plan conclusion: Determination of long-term WCB benefits and services, if appropriate.
Returning to work
Your case manager will work with you to determine when you are able to return to work, based on progress reports from you, your doctor and other health care providers. He or she will contact you to discuss return-to-work options and will check with your employer to determine if there is modified or alternate work you can do. Modified work is a change in job duties that can allow you return to work while recovering, providing you with an opportunity to remain active and continue contributing to your workplace.
If you'd like to learn more about return to work options and how to start planning, see Return to work.