Drugs, Alcohol And Workers’ Compensation
If your injury was the result of illegal drug use or alcohol, it may have a serious impact on your workers’ compensation benefits. In order to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the workers’ compensation process, it is important to work with an attorney with experience in this area as well as one who knows how to resolve potential drug and alcohol issues.
With more than 30 years of experience handling workers’ compensation cases in Colorado, attorney Cliff Eley can provide you with guidance at every stage of your case. Whether or not drugs or alcohol played a role in your work accident, he can provide you with the advice and representation you need. Contact Eley Law Firm by calling us at 720-759-3064.
What If You Test Positive For Drugs Or Alcohol After Your Initial Injury?
If your work injury was the result of illegal drug use or alcohol, your nonmedical benefits can be reduced by as much as 50 percent. Your medical benefits, however, will remain intact.
In order to prove that you were intoxicated at the time of your accident, your employer may require you to take a drug test immediately after your accident. Your employer can only require this drug test if it has a written drug policy in place prior to your accident. Additionally, the drug test must be performed at a licensed facility and this facility must preserve a second sample for future testing.
If your drug test comes back positive, it may be possible to retest in order to prove that you were not intoxicated at the time of the accident. While your employer must pay for the first test, a second test may be at your own expense. Even if you tested positive, you can avoid the 50 percent reduction in benefits by proving that the substances had nothing to do with the accident. For example, if a worker is at a stoplight and is hit from the rear by a negligent driver, the fact that there may be some level of drugs in his system has nothing to do with the workers’ injuries. However, if having drugs or alcohol in your system is against your employer’s rules, you can be terminated and not receive lost wages from workers’ compensation. You would still be entitled to permanent disability and medical benefits. There are ways around this severe penalty in many cases, so contact attorney Cliff Eley for more information.
Marijuana And Workers’ Compensation
Even with the legalization of marijuana and the widespread use of medical marijuana in Colorado, use of marijuana on the job can have an impact on your workers’ comp benefits. Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, your nonmedical benefits can be reduced by up to 50 percent if you were on marijuana at the time of your accident. You can also be terminated for violating federal law.
Other Consequences Of Drug And Alcohol Use
While evidence of drug or alcohol use at the time of your accident may not impact your medical benefits, there can be other consequences. First, you may lose your job as a result of the drug or alcohol use. Also, drug and alcohol use can impact your severance or unemployment benefits.