You have had an accident at work. The Employer immediately sends you for a urine test. The urine test registers positive for a drug such as cocaine or marijuana. Does flunking this test mean you “lose” your claim for any compensation?
First, the Employer may well try to deny your claim based on the failed urine test. The Employer will probably back this denial by hiring a physician who will claim the drug found in your urine caused or contributed to your accident.
Second, if the accident occurred as a result of a fall from a height, it may be easy for the Employer to suggest the illegal drug caused a loss of balance or dizziness (that contributed to the fall from the ladder, scaffold, or roof). Even if it is not the sole factor causing the fall, the worker still may lose his/her claim if the illegal drug is merely contributes to the fall.
Third, an illegal drug can remain in one’s system for a long time. This is true even if has been days or even weeks since the drug was used. The unfortunate fact is that the residual drug in one’s system could result in a failed urine test.
Fourth, many Employers also have a policy stating a failed urine test will mean a termination for misconduct. Thus, even if the accident does not result in disability, it could result in termination of employment for misconduct. It does not matter the illegal drug was never used in the work place.
Fifth, the best course of conduct for Workers is never to use illegal drugs; therefore, one would never fail a urine test.
Sixth, but if a failed urine test does occur after an accident, the Injured Worker, must realize he/she is in big trouble. He/she must immediately talk to an experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney. He/she must not give a recorded statement to the Insurance Company. The Attorney may be able to have your urine test examined by another doctor. Hopefully, the doctor can dispute the Employer’s or Insurer’s doctor giving the Injured Worker a chance at winning his/her claim.
In summary, a failed urine test is no laughing matter and can result in a denied accident claim. The best policy is to refrain from the use of illegal drugs. However, if a failed urine test does occur, then all is not lost if the Injured Worker seeks help right away.
Copyright© 2006, Gerald G. Lutkenhaus. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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