The law says that you have to take an employer’s drug test if you are injured on the job. If you don’t, your workers’ compensation claim can be denied. Employers are supposed to have uniform policies in place and not selectively require drug tests for only those who get hurt. Generally speaking, however, there isn’t much leeway in refusing a drug test after a work accident. What you can do, is present a good case (if you test positive) that the drug or alcohol was not the cause of your injury.
If you test positive for drugs or alcohol, the law creates a presumption that intoxication or the influence of drugs was the cause of your injury, which means you can’t get workers’ compensation benefits. However, the presumption is rebuttable, meaning that your lawyer’s job is to prove that intoxication was not the cause of your work accident or injury. If he or she is successful, you should be able to get benefits.
This law is unfortunate for workers who get hurt because their job poses a legitimate risk and not because they smoked pot over the weekend. A good attorney can win such a case, but it will take more time than it should, unfortunately, and it can delay treatment and recovery.
It makes sense that you wouldn’t get benefits if you were wasted and that was the reason for your injury, but the law takes it even further by requiring the test and giving it significant weight. Allowing the insurance company to deny your claim until you prove your case is a disservice to legitimately injured workers.
An important aspect of this law is that the intoxication has to be so great that it’s said to be a “departure from employment.” This is what puts the accident outside of the reach of workers’ compensation coverage. In other words, you were not technically doing your job.
Insurance companies aren’t going to let a case like this slip by. They want to deny your claim and this law gives them a solid basis to do so if your drug test comes back positive. Your best course of action is hiring an attorney who has been successful in winning these cases.