Do I Have to Comply With a Drug Test to Receive Benefits?
Workers’ compensation can be a tricky business. There are many aspects of the accident that must be proven by you and your attorney. You must show that the injury or illness happened at work or was a result of the work that you do, you must prove the extent and seriousness of the injury or illness, and you must show that you were not engaging in illegal or prohibited activities that caused the accident to occur. Proving all of these things can be difficult, and even after sufficient evidence has been gathered and provided to your employer and insurance carrier, you still may be denied medical coverage and wage replacement benefits.
Employees Must Submit to Drug Tests after a Workplace Accident if Requested by Employer
Florida employers have the right to perform random drug tests, as well as drug and alcohol tests after an accident occurs. Employees have two choices when their employer issues a drug test: they can take the test or they can refuse the test and face possible termination or loss of eligibility for medical and indemnity benefits, according to Florida statute 440.101. While workers’ compensation is called no-fault compensation, meaning that even if the employee made a mistake that caused the accident, the no-fault aspect is not always true. In some circumstances, the employer may deny benefits if they employee caused their injury. These special cases, according to Florida statute 440.09, include the following:
- When the employee was found to be intoxicated or using illegal drugs at the time of the accident, and inebriation was the leading cause of the accident;
- The employee knowingly inflicted the injury upon their own body in an attempt to injure or kill themselves (or another person);
- The employee is a “seaman” and was covered by the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or the Jones Act; and
- The employee was partaking in illegal or forbidden activity at the time of the accident.
However, it should be noted that the use of a breathalyzer by the employer at work is not permitted under Florida law, and employees do not have to submit to this form of testing.
Proving That Alcohol or Drugs Caused the Accident to Take Place
If you fail a drug or alcohol test after a workplace accident, your employer may, and likely will, use that as an excuse to deny your benefits. However, simply failing a drug test may not be enough for your employer to get away with this. It must be shown that the drugs in your bloodstream at the time of the accident were the leading cause of the accident. Specifically, the cause of the injury must “primarily because the employee is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.”
Call a West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today With the Celeste Law Firm
If you have been denied workers’ compensation because of a failed drug test or failed alcohol test, or have simply been injured on the job and do not know who to turn to next, call the Celeste Law Firm today at 561-478-2447. Our West Palm Beach attorneys are eager to help you today.