If you are an employee, you probably know that drug testing is an increasingly common occurrence in the workplace. Many workers must receive a drug test before their employment, and some companies subject their employees to random drug tests. In addition, drug testing can occur after a worker has sustained an injury on the job.

You may have suffered a workplace injury while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and failed your drug test. Because of this, you may be wondering if you are still eligible for workers’ compensation. While reading this blog post will help answer this topic, you should always call a workers’ compensation attorney to help advise you on your specific case.

The Intoxication Defense

In California, employers must provide workers’ compensation for insurance for every employee. Generally, any worker who suffers an injury on the job is covered, with a few exceptions. One such exception is if the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury.

However, it is not enough for the employer to demonstrate that the employee was intoxicated when they were injured. California law provides an affirmative defense for employers known as the Intoxication Defense. To have a workers’ compensation claim denied based on intoxication, an employer must demonstrate both of the following under the Intoxication Defense:

  • The employee was intoxicated by drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
  • The intoxication was the cause of the accident

The Intoxication Defense is difficult for employers to prove, but not impossible. A lot depends on the facts and circumstances of your specific case. A workers’ compensation attorney will be able to help explain the Intoxication Defense to you and how it may impact your workers’ compensation claim.

Failing Your Workers’ Compensation Drug Test

Because of the Intoxication Defense, failing a drug test does not automatically disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Nevertheless, failing a drug test can still result in some negative consequences. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney will help you understand how a failed drug test will impact your specific work arrangement.

Workers’ Compensation Eligibility and Marijuana

While marijuana is decriminalized in California, it is still considered an illegal substance under federal law. This means that a positive marijuana test following a workplace injury will not lead to automatic disqualification of your workers’ compensation claim. However, it will likely lead to more scrutiny and could impact your employment status.

You can help prevent a positive marijuana test (or any failed drug test) from affecting your workers’ compensation claim by obtaining prescriptions for any drugs that you take.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

Failing a drug test after suffering a workplace injury can be very stressful. You may also have many questions about whether your workers’ compensation claim will be affected. Call an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney today to discuss your case. An attorney can help with the entire workers’ comp claim process and fight for the benefits you deserve.