Your workers’ compensation case can definitely be affected by a positive drug test after your accident, but you should not automatically lose your benefits.
After a work injury in Illinois, your employer may want you to take a drug test to see whether you had any drugs or alcohol in your system. They can use a positive test to argue that you were under the influence when the accident happened, and your case should be denied.
Employers have even drug tested an injured employee as much as six months after an accident, and tried to cut off benefits if the test comes back positive. Though this is clearly ridiculous, knowing it’s a possibility can help prepare you.
Even when the drug test is done immediately after the accident, the results do not necessarily show that the drugs were in your system at the time of the accident. Drug testing results are different from alcohol testing results.
If you smoked marijuana a few days before the accident, you could still test positive for drugs in your system that day, but it may not have been the cause of your accident, and you may not have been impaired at the time. You should still be entitled to benefits for your accident on Monday, even if you test positive for marijuana use from the weekend.
A positive drug test can be used to deny your claim, but it shouldn’t be automatic. Your employer will still have to show that the marijuana was the cause of the accident.
In one case in Illinois, a worker was injured when he fell into a hole in the floor. After a positive drug test, the employer claimed that the drug impairment was the cause of the fall. But the court didn’t agree. If the hole hadn’t been there, the employee wouldn’t have been hurt.
So there is no need to assume that just because you are being asked to take a drug test, that you won’t get your benefits. You can refuse to take the test. But most importantly, as with any injury, tell the truth when you’re reporting your injury, and make sure your doctor has all the facts of the accident.
We are workers’ compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.