Alabama Workers Compensation Questions: (20) Does a failed drug test mean I cannot get comp benefits?
If you work in Alabama and have suffered a workplace injury, you are probably entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation laws; however, if the injured worker failed a drug test given afterwards, they may be prevented from obtaining any such benefits. This is because Alabama Code §25-5-51 specifically states that “no compensation shall be allowed for an injury or death caused by the willful misconduct of the employee, by the employee’s intention to bring about the injury or death of himself or herself or of another, his or her willful failure or willful refusal to use safety appliances provided by the employer or by and accident due to the injured employee being intoxicated from the use of alcohol or being impaired by illegal drugs.”
No one argues that a worker who engages in foolish and risky behavior, or who is intoxicated, should be entitled to benefit from their actions, but in the majority of cases we have dealt with, the defense of “willful misconduct” simply is not warranted. Just because after a workplace injury the injured worker fails a drug test does not mean that they have forfeited their right to workers compensation benefits. Alcohol and drugs (both legal and illegal) can remain in a person’s blood stream for days or weeks. The fact that a worker engaged in improper activities on Saturday night does not mean that they cannot recover for injuries which occurred when a scaffold they were working on collapsed on Tuesday afternoon. The accident/injury must be due to the worker being under the influence.
If you have suffered a workplace injury while working in Alabama and were told that you are not entitled to workers compensation benefits because of a failed drug test, but you know that you were sober at the time of the workplace accident, don’t give up. Contact the experienced Alabama Workers Comp attorneys at Powell and Denny today-as you may still be entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
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Powell and Denny have been selected as one of the Best Law Firms by U.S. News and World Report for each of the last 5 years, have been selected as one of Birmingham’s Top Lawyers by B-Metro Magazine for the last 3 years, have been selected by The National Advocates as one of the Top 20 Workers’ Compensation Firms (plaintiffs) and Powell and Denny, P.C.-has been selected as one of the “Best of the Best” law firms by The American Registry.
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