Can I still bring a workers compensation claim if I tested positive for drugs? 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 the 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. This is an example of how having an experienced Alabama Workers Comp Lawyer can be invaluable.
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 benefits you are entitled to receive under Alabama’s Workers Comp Statute, don’t hesitate to contact one of the experienced Alabama Workers Compensation Lawyers at Powell and Denny today.
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Offices in Birmingham, AL and Huntsville, AL
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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