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Can I Still Qualify for Workers’ Comp Benefits in California if I Fail a Drug Test?

  • Published: June 25, 2023

An injury that occurs while on the job can derail your life, leading to costly medical treatment, and may interfere with your ability to earn an income as you recover. You may expect to seek benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage only to face unexpected hurdles. It is not uncommon for certain employers to conduct drug tests as part of a condition for employment. However, what can happen if you fail a drug test following a workplace injury? Does the failed drug test prevent you from seeking money to help cover the losses connected to your injury?

Workers’ compensation laws in California offer extensive protections to workers who suffer an injury at work. In most cases, a worker can pursue compensation in a claim regardless of the cause of their work injury. However, if you fail a drug test after an accident, an insurance company is likely to attempt to deny your claim. California law addresses the possible scenario of a failed drug test after a workplace accident, and fortunately, a worker still has a right to file a claim even in light of the results of the test, although they will need to gather evidence to prove their case.

The Additional Requirements Necessary to Pursue a Claim for Benefits if You Fail a Drug Test

California labor laws place the burden on an employer to prove the cause of an employee’s injuries in light of a failed drug test. If an employer and insurance company moves to deny an employee’s claim on the grounds of a failed drug test, they must prove that the cause of the accident and injury to the employee was drug use. A failed drug test is not automatic grounds for denial of a claim. The employer must be able to prove that the employee was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident and that the drug use directly caused the accident and the subsequent injuries to the employee.

As the individual pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, you can present evidence to counter the evidence and claims made by an employer. However, the burden to prove you are not eligible for benefits initially is on the employer. A California workers’ compensation lawyer can evaluate your case and the events leading up to the accident. Your attorney can help build your case and counter the claims by an employer with evidence available to support your right to file a claim.

What Factors Can Influence How a Failed Drug Test Affects Your Claim?

The situation of a failed drug test in a workplace accident often leads to complex legal issues. Many factors can influence whether an employer will be able to prove that drug use was the proximate cause of your injuries. A lawyer representing you in a workers’ compensation claim can gather any evidence available to prove your right to benefits and counter the claims by the insurance company or employer in an attempt to restrict your right to file a claim.

Examples of factors that can present problems in attempting to deny a claim on the grounds of a failed drug test:

  • The validity of the test
  • The timing of the drug test in relation to the workplace accident
  • Whether another party or external element is to blame for the work accident
  • The results of the drug test and level of intoxication

Often, an employer may use the failed drug test as the justification to deny a claim with no factual basis connecting the failed drug test to the events leading up to the injuries to you. If an employer cannot prove the drugs caused the accident, they cannot be successful in denying your claim under California law.

What Benefits May You Be Eligible for Following a Workplace Injury?

As an employee injured in an accident at work, you have the right to seek benefits to cover certain losses. The amount of benefits you may be eligible for can depend on the injury you sustained, your prognosis, and your income at the time of the injury. Benefits in a workers’ compensation claim can help you meet the financial burdens of your injury and allow you the time you need to heal and reach the maximum recovery possible for your injuries.

Benefits available in a workers’ compensation claim may include:

  • Medical costs
  • Temporary disability
  • Permanent disability
  • Job retraining

Determining benefits is something your lawyer can help you with and allow you to know what to expect as you go through the recovery from your work accident. Properly preparing and filing a claim is essential to ensure you are seeking the maximum coverage available to you under the law.

KCNS Law Group Can Evaluate Your Workers’ Compensation Case Involving a Failed Drug Test

The reality is that when facing a work injury, the last thing you expect to deal with is a failed drug test. An employer attempting to circumvent a claim on the basis of a drug test can have disastrous consequences on your life. The medical expenses related to a workplace injury can be exorbitant. Add to the uncertainty your inability to work and earn income can leave you in dire financial circumstances. You do not need to face this difficult period alone. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney can relieve you of the stress and uncertainty of fighting for your rights to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Although a failed drug test revelation during the aftermath of a workplace accident is not an ideal situation, it does not automatically disqualify you from seeking benefits through a claim. A workers’ compensation attorney with KCNS Law Group can help you by going over the case and preparing for your claim and can anticipate the tactics of an employer or insurer during the claims process to give you the best chance at a successful outcome. For more information on how we can help you in the aftermath of a work injury, contact us at (818) 937-9255 or through our contact form.

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