Stanley Cup Finals riot leads to workers’ comp claims

Most people have heard of the riots that ensued after Boston beat Vancouver in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals on June 15. Pictures show that there were fires, flipped over cars and looting that took place on that night. But the city’s bill doesn’t stop there.

Reportedly, more than twenty people who were working in downtown Vancouver the night of the riots have come forward with WorkSafeBC claims, which is British Columbia’s equivalent to workers’ compensation, for physical injuries and physiological damage.

According to a spokeswoman for WorkSafeBC, over the past month two dozen people have filed claims for issues ranging from cuts and bruises to post-traumatic stress as a result of the riot.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see more PTSD claims come in,” the spokeswoman said. “It is likely that a PTSD diagnosis would not be made by a physician immediately [after the riot], that longer-term effects would have to be assessed.”

The staff members of some businesses in the area were evacuated quickly by their employers as things escalated, but others reportedly were trapped inside their stores and spent hours hiding in backrooms or bathrooms, frightened that they would be attacked if found.

The spokeswoman for WorkSafeBC did not specify what kind of workers made the complaints. She said that about half the claims were for health-care costs only, but the other half were from lost wages resulting from needing time off of work.

Some business owners have reported seeing staff members break out into tears in the weeks since the rioting. They said it was a very traumatic experience as rioters broke store windows and roamed the stores looking for items to loot.

In all, there were about 150 injuries reported on the night of the riot and many more likely suffered psychological damages. However, as would be in the United States, only people who were injured while on the job will be able to make a workers’ compensation claim.

If you were injured while working, there are several ways that you may be able to receive compensation. Contact someone with experience who can help you determine the next step.

Source: The Globe and Mail, “Workers’ compensation claims from Stanley Cup riot mount,” Frances Bula, 7/18/2011.