People in just about any profession can get hurt at work. Servers at restaurants could slip in a spilled coffee and break an arm, while delivery drivers might get into a crash and suffer a head injury. Workers’ compensation benefits can help eligible employees regardless of the job they do or the type of injury they suffer.
However, there is a certain process that an injured worker in Pennsylvania typically needs to follow to secure benefits, starting with notifying their employer of their injury. They will then usually need to leave work to get medical attention. It is common practice for medical facilities treating someone for a job-related injury to automatically perform drug and alcohol testing.
Some people worry about reporting an injury because they aren’t sure if they will pass a drug test. If a worker fails a drug test after an injury on the job, they will likely worry about being unable to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Does a failed drug test automatically eliminate someone’s eligibility?
Drug tests can complicate claims
Most employers and insurance companies will automatically challenge a claim made by a worker who failed a drug or alcohol test after their injury. Frequently, workers accept that rejection and fail to take any additional steps. Even though they know they are not under the influence on the job, they think that they don’t have any rights because of the drug test results.
However, workers have the option of appealing and fighting for benefits. There are many cases in which a failed drug test is not automatically mean someone is ineligible for benefits. For example, people may test positive for marijuana or cannabis for 30 days or more after using it in some cases, and failing the test is not necessarily mean that someone was under the influence on the job.
In a contested workers’ compensation claim involving a failed drug test, employers will typically need to show not only that someone but also that they were under the influence at the job and their impairment caused their injury. There may be a reasonable explanation for why someone failed the drug test and plenty of evidence supporting their claim that they were, in fact, sober at work.
Understanding the rules that apply to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claims and seeking legal guidance can help those who need benefits but question whether they will qualify for them after suffering harm due to a major accident on the job.