After a workplace accident, your first thought is likely to get medical care. For your employer, it could be obtaining a drug and alcohol test for you. The results of the test could have an impact on your ability to receive workers' compensation benefits. If your employer requires a drug and alcohol test after an accident, here is what you need to know.
How Can the Test Impact Benefits?
Although workers' compensation benefits are in place to provide financial and medical support to employees after workplace accidents, the insurance company responsible will often work to prove that employees are not eligible for benefits. Part of that process is to request a drug and alcohol test immediately following the accident.
If the test is taken and the results prove that an employee did have alcohol or drugs in his or her system at the time of the accident, the insurance company could deny his or her claim. Depending on the state laws, there is a possibility that there is no legal option available to force the insurance company to pay.
Can You Refuse?
If faced with taking a drug and alcohol test after a workplace accident, you have the right to refuse. However, refusing could hurt your claim for benefits. If the language of the workers' compensation insurance policy requires the test after each accident, you could be denied benefits for not complying.
There is also the possibility that your employer will terminate you. If drugs or alcohol are suspected or you failed to comply with the testing and it was part of your employment contract, you could lose your job.
What Can You Do If You Test Positive?
If you do agree to the testing and the results indicate that you did have alcohol or drugs in your system, there might still be a chance you can receive benefits. Whether your employer and its insurance company can link your drug or alcohol usage with the accident plays a major role in if you can get benefits.
If your employer and the insurance company are unable to establish a link, there is a good possibility that you can still receive benefits. If your claim is denied, your attorney can file an appeal and argue that there was no link.
The best way to handle your workers' compensation claim is to work with an attorney from the beginning. He or she can help determine if you should be concerned about the results of a drug or alcohol test.