One of the biggest reasons employees are disqualified from applying for workers compensation is because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Our workers comp lawyers in Florida run into this issue often. When somebody decides to use drugs before or during working hours, they take the risk that they could get injured. They should know that they won’t be able to collect workers comp benefits if they are found to have been under the influence of drugs. Almost every employer includes this warning in their workplace accident policy. When new employees arrive at a company to start a new job, they are provided with a copy of the company’s policies and procedures. If they choose to ignore it or don’t read it, they can’t blame that on their employer. Nor can they argue that they shouldn’t be required to take a drug test simply because they weren’t aware of company policy.
Here, we’ll discuss what happens if you test positive for drugs or alcohol after a workplace accident. If you still have questions about your own case after reading this article, give our office a call. We can always schedule your free, initial consultation where you can discuss this matter further.
You Will Have to Submit to a Drug Test Prior to Receiving Treatment
A lot of our clients are angry that they were asked to take a drug test before qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits. They argue that this is an invasion of their privacy. However, the law allows your employer to test you for these drugs if you are hurt on the job. They have a right to know if your injuries were the result of your being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your drug test comes back positive, your claim will be denied. There’s very little your Tampa workers comp attorney can do to change that. There is certainly no point in arguing that the drug test is a violation of some sort. Your workers comp lawyer in Florida knows that your employer is allowed to require workers to take a drug test before they go out on workers comp.
What Happens if You Test Positive for Drugs?
If your drug test comes back positive for anything illegal, your workers compensation claim will be denied. There are no “ifs” or “buts” about it. Your employer is not legally required to cover the costs of any injury suffered at work while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if your Tampa workers comp attorney can demonstrate that the drugs you took had nothing to do with your injuries, your claim will still be denied. This is the reason why you’re required to take a drug test prior to leaving for medical treatment.
Of course, the law isn’t designed to deny workers compensation benefits to people who are taking legal prescriptions. For example, if you’re prescribed Adderall for an attention disorder, your employer can’t deny your claim based on a drug test that comes back positive for amphetamines. The same is true for other questionable drugs such as Xanax or valium.
If you are legitimately prescribed this medication, you should be allowed to take them. However, it’s important to note that, if a medication warns you not to take it when working with heavy equipment, then you shouldn’t take it while on the job. The same is true for a medication that has certain dangerous side effects such as tiredness or an inability to focus. Since most of these drugs, especially Xanax, are only to be taken as needed, there is no reason to be taking them while you are at work.
You May Be Okay if You Were Taking Certain Medication as Prescribed
There are times when your attorney can still get your claim approved despite your positive drug test. Your Tampa workers comp attorney may be able to show that you have legal prescriptions for the drugs that showed up on your drug test. The question then will become whether you were taking your medications as prescribed. For example, imagine that you are prescribed opioids for an injury you suffered in a car accident. You are supposed to take the pills three times a day as needed. Your prescription was for 90 pills and it was filled on the first of the month. Your attorney will need to show that you have not taken more than you’re supposed to. So, if your accident happened on the 10th of the month, you should still have about two-thirds of your medication left in the bottle. If you can’t demonstrate that this is the case, your appeal may be denied.
Your Workers Comp Lawyer in Florida Can Always File an Appeal on Your Behalf
If, for some reason, your workers compensation claim is denied, your Tampa workers comp attorney can always file an appeal. Whether your appeal is successful will depend on several factors. For example, if your claim was denied because you didn’t file it in time, your attorney can always request additional time for you to submit the information. If your claim was denied because you had a pre-existing medical condition, your workers comp lawyer in Florida can get an independent doctor to confirm that one has nothing to do with the other. Finally, if your claim is denied because you were under the influence of drugs at the time of your workplace accident, your attorney can argue that the drugs were legally prescribed to you.
We suggest that anybody who gets hurt at work at least talk to an experienced worker’s comp lawyer in Florida. This will help ensure that your claim is handled properly from the start. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. Take advantage of this opportunity to sit down with a seasoned worker’s comp lawyer in Florida who can answer your questions and evaluate your case firsthand.