Alabama Workers Compensation Questions: (25) Do I have to take a Drug Screen after a Job Injury?
Do I have to take a drug screen after a Job Injury? If you want to receive the Alabama Workers Compensation benefits that you are entitled to receive following a job injury, YES, you do have to submit to a drug or alcohol screen post injury. Failure to do so will estop you from receiving any monetary compensation for the job injury you suffered.
What does a positive drug or alcohol post injury screen mean to your claim for workers’ compensation benefits? Well, it doesn’t help matters. Taking illegal drugs, or misusing prescription drugs, is against the law–we all know this. If you suffered a job injury because you were under the effects of an illegal drug, or because you were abusing a legally prescribed drug or alcohol, then you are not entitled to workers compensation benefits. No one argues that this is not just.
However, just because you may have tested positive for drugs does not mean that you are automatically disqualified from receiving workers compensation benefits in Alabama. Failing a drug screen is not what would prevent you from receiving benefits; suffering a job injury because you were under the influence of said drugs is what estops you from receiving benefits. Several years ago, the defendant in one of our cases argued that since my client failed a post-accident drug test, my client was not entitled to any benefits. My argument was to give the court the following example: “Hypothetically, say my client had recently smoked marijuana, and later at work the steel beam he was standing on broke, causing him to fall and be injured. It was not the marijuana that caused my client’s injury, it was the fact he steel beam he was standing on broke.” Using this analogy, the court was able to easily understand that the defendant had the burden of proving that the presence of any illegal substance caused the job injury; if the defendant is not able to prove this, then the injured worker is still entitled to workers compensation benefits.
Additionally, any drug screen must be taken after the job injury was suffered and the test must comply with legal standards. Having a drug test taken 2 days after a job injury will most likely not be sufficient to deny benefits.
If you live in Alabama and you have questions about what your rights are under Alabama’s Workers Compensation Statute, don’t hesitate to contact one of the experienced Alabama Workers Compensation Lawyers at Powell and Denny today.
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