You have suffered an injury at work and your employer has ordered you to take a drug test before your workers compensation claim can be reviewed. Your greatest concern is that you may not receive compensation if you fail the drug test.
This is a legit concern especially since workers compensation does not cover every injury suffered at work. If for instance, you work at a clothing store and your girlfriend comes and physically assaults you, your injuries will not be considered work related and you won’t be eligible for workers compensation.
While workers compensation is in place to ensure that you are paid if you are hurt on the job, it may not cover you if you fail a drug test. Here’s what you need to know:
You Do Not Have to be Treated by the Doctor Who Administers the Drug Test
Choosing the same doctor who administered the drug test to treat your work related injury is not a good idea because many occupational medicine offices have been accused of conspiring with employers to limit the care of injured workers.
In Colorado, a class action suit was filed against Concentra and Walmart. The lawsuit alleged that Concentra and Walmart conspired to withhold medical treatment and deny benefits to injured workers. A class action suit means that many people joined to file the lawsuit. Concentra and Walmart ended up settling the case for $8 million.
It’s not uncommon to hear about occupational doctors changing the diagnosis of an injury from work related to non-work related. This means that if your injuries are so severe that you cannot get back to work, you won’t receive unemployment benefits or workers compensation.
If your employer is insisting that you have to get medical treatment from the same doctor who administers the drug test or from an occupational medicine outfit, a Providence workers compensation lawyer can help you.
Failing a Drug Test Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Receive Workers Compensation
First, there are rules to drug testing. Your employer should have and distribute a written policy regarding drug testing in advance and provide workers with necessary medical care regardless of what the drug test results are.
If you fail the drug test, this does not mean that you won’t receive workers compensation because your employer must prove that intoxication was the only cause of your injury at work. It might be challenging but it’s not impossible.
Many people use illegal recreational drugs so you may fail a drug test after being legitimately injured on the job. If the drugs did not impair you, you might still get workers compensation.
Your employer has to administer a drug test within 8 hours of your injury. If they fail to do so, they will have the burden of proving that the drugs in your system caused your work injury.
In most cases, however, the drugs in a worker’s system aren’t the sole cause of work related injuries. Why should you be denied workers compensation if you took drugs outside of work 48 hours ago? And even if you took the drugs within the 8-hour window period, it does not prove that you were impaired at the time of your accident.
Let’s say you were busy preparing a dish in a restaurant and one of the other chef’s tripped and poured hot oil on your back. Your injuries won’t have anything to do with the fact that you took recreational drugs 2 hours ago.
Every situation in a drug test is specific but in a majority of cases involving failed drug tests, workers still end up being compensated because there was no proof of drugs being the direct cause of work injuries.
You Might Get Fired
If your workplace has a strict policy against drug use, your employer will fire you but you will still receive your workers compensation.
Talk to a Providence Workers Compensation Lawyer
If you have had your workers compensation claim denied for any reason, not just a failed drug test, you should talk to an experienced workers compensation lawyer in Providence. You don’t need to despair if your claim has been denied for failing a drug test. If you are really injured, one of our workers compensation lawyers will make a very strong case for you.