Elizabeth Emery acted for the widow of an ICBC claims examiner who had taken his life. Elizabeth was initially successful in obtaining survivor benefits for the widow and her three young children through WorkSafeBC, on the basis that the worker’s suicide was brought about by his employment. The deceased worker had been the primary source of financial support for his family.
The deceased worker’s employer (ICBC) chose to challenge WorkSafeBC’s acceptance of the widow’s claim for survivor benefits, leading to a review before the WorkSafeBC Review Division. The main issue before the Review Division was whether the deceased worker’s employment as a senior claims examiner had aggravated his pre-existing depression, which led to his death. Elizabeth was successful in defeating the employer’s appeal and maintaining survivor benefits for the widow and her children. The Review Division upheld the initial decision of the WorkSafeBC Case Manager, finding that there was evidence of an identifiable series of significant stressors arising out of the worker’s employment and that these stressors were the predominant cause of the aggravation of his pre-existing depression.
The benefits obtained for the widow and her children are worth over $1.5 million.