Following an injury in the workplace, many employers require injured employees to undergo drug and alcohol testing. The results of the test could have an impact on whether or not the employer's insurance company pays the claim. If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and had an injury at work, here is what you need to know.
Can Your Claim Be Denied?
It is very likely that your employer's insurance company will deny your workers' compensation claim if a drug or alcohol test returns positive results. Workers' comp insurance is usually considered no-fault. No-fault means that regardless of your actions, the claim is supposed to be paid if you were injured while performing work duties.
However, a positive drug or alcohol test can be an exception. The insurance company can argue that being under the influence of drugs or alcohol impaired your judgment and led to the accident.
Can You Refuse Testing?
Whether or not you can deny the testing depends on your state's laws. If you live in a state in which drug testing is mandatory after an accident, you have to take it. If you refuse the testing, your employer's insurance company could deny your claim without even considering the other circumstances of your claim.
What If You Used Legal Marijuana?
State laws regarding marijuana use are changing in some states, but that has no impact on whether or not the insurance company pays your claim. Even if you live in a state that allows for legal medical or recreational marijuana use, your claim could still be denied.
Marijuana is still classified as an illegal substance by the federal government. In workers' compensation claims, the insurance company has the right to defer to federal law. As a result, your claim could be denied.
Do Prescription Drugs Impact a Claim?
Prescription drugs can complicate a workers' compensation claim. If the prescription was not yours, it is most likely that your claim will be denied. However, if the prescription was yours, other factors might be considered in determining whether or not your claim is paid.
For instance, if the prescription advised against operating heavy machinery while taking the drugs, but you did anyway, the insurance company could argue that you are not entitled to compensation. It would be up to your state's Department of Labor to determine whether or not "no-fault" protects your claim.
To better understand your claim and how drug use is impacting it, consult with an experienced attorney. Visit http://www.lovettlaw.com/ for more information.