Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1211 16
L. Gehrke - R. Ouellette - K. Hoskin
  • Consequences of injury (suicide)
  • Death (suicide)
  • Dependency benefits (death results from an injury)
  • Psychotraumatic disability

The worker suffered a left shoulder injury in October 2000, for which the Board granted the worker a 6% NEL award, increased to 16% after shoulder surgery in November 2006. He never returned to work after the surgery, He committed suicide in December 2007. The worker's estate appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying the worker entitlement for psychotraumatic disability and denying the estate survivor benefits after the worker's death by suicide.

In addition to the NEL award for the left shoulder impairment, the worker had previous pensions of 12% for the neck and 17% for the low back.
The worker had entitlement for psychotraumatic disability. The worker's depression and anxiety were due to emotional reaction to the injury and to the surgery, which was unsuccessful and left the worker in pain and unable to work.
The pain, depression and functional impairment resulting from the injury were a significant contributing factor to the suicide. The worker was a high-functioning individual with a happy family and social life. He continued to work even after the shoulder injury. The surgery was the turning point. The worker's death resulted from the injury. The estate was entitled to survivor benefits.
The appeal was allowed.