We frequently hear the question at our office, “Can a workers’ compensation claim be denied because of a positive drug test?” This question is a difficult one to answer for many reasons. There have been legal challenges in cases where workers tested positive for drugs and were denied workers’ comp, but the outcomes have varied.
Sometimes, workers received the benefits. Sometimes they did not. As a result, there’s no definitive answer to what happens to your workers’ comp if you fail a drug test in PA. It largely depends on the circumstances of your case. Consulting with an attorney can help clear up specific questions you have if you’ve failed a drug test and are eligible for workers’ compensation.
Do You Have to Take a Drug Test for Workers’ Comp?
You are not required by state law to take a drug test to receive workers’ compensation, which pays a part of your salary during the time you’re injured and unable to work. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to take one per your company policy. Many businesses have their own rules governing drug testing. You may be asked to take a drug test after your injury occurs. If you fail the test, your company might cite that as a reason for denying your claim.
What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test for Workers’ Comp?
Failing a drug test does not make you ineligible for workers’ compensation. Many factors go into the decision. If you challenge the denial of benefits, you can make a number of arguments, such as:
- Timing: Was the drug test administered within eight hours of your injury? If not, you can argue that the drugs in your system may not have been there when the injury occurred.
- What happened in the accident: An attorney can argue that the accident had nothing to do with any drugs you may have taken. For instance, if you were performing your job duties in your designated area and someone driving a forklift plowed into you, breaking your leg, you did nothing to cause the injury. The results of the drug test did not impact the circumstances of the accident.
If I’m Fired for Failing a Drug Test, Do I Still Get Workers’ Comp?
You can be fired for failing a drug test. Some companies lay out explicit policies prohibiting drug usage by their employees. Even if you get fired, if the accident occurred before you were let go, you’re still eligible for workers’ compensation. Your injury took place while you were still employed and covered under company workers’ compensation policy.
The laws regarding drug testing and workers’ compensation are complicated, and you may want someone to offer guidance throughout the process. Our team at Frommer D’Amico can provide the assistance you need. We specialize in workers’ comp cases, representing employees only, and we charge fees that are lower. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
Joe D’Amico has more than 20 years of experience fighting for injured workers. He is Certified as an Expert in Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Joe is one of the very few Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys who have obtained a recovery in excess of $1.5 million for an injured worker.
Reviewed by Joe D’Amico.