What If I Fail a Drug Test After a Work-Related Accident? | Staver
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What If I Fail a Drug Test After a Work-Related Accident?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Workers' Compensation

Employees in the state of Illinois who suffer an injury in a work-related accident may be required to take a drug test when determining eligibility for workers’ compensation. If drugs or alcohol are detected after the work accident, it may impact your eligibility for benefits. However, in this type of “failed drug test after work accident” scenario, you may still receive benefits if the alcohol or drug detected in your system was not the cause of your injury.

An experienced attorney representing you may be able to present a convincing case that the controlled substance in your system had nothing to do with the accident. For instance, the reason for the accident may have been due to a lack of adherence to OSHA safety protocols by your employer. Or, a mechanical failure of a piece of equipment may have directly caused your injury without your involvement whatsoever. In these and other instances, you may still have the opportunity to obtain workers’ compensation benefits despite failing a drug test.

Have you suffered an injury at work and are facing a potential or existing denial of your workers’ comp claim for either a failed drug test or other reason? At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we can help with strong and intelligent representation and can provide you with options for recovering the compensation to which you may be entitled.

Call us today at (312) 236-2900 to request a free, no obligation consultation about your case.

The Illinois Workers’ Comp Law

The workers’ compensation law in Illinois prior to 2011 placed the burden of proof on the employer to prove that the intoxication of the worker was the cause of their workplace accident and injury. In 2011, changes were made to the law that placed the burden of proof upon the injured worker to demonstrate their substance use did not cause the accident resulting in their injury.

A portion of the modified Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act that addresses the issue of an employee incurring a failed drug test after work accident can be summarized as follows:

If an employee is involved in an accident on the job that is directly caused by drug or alcohol use, that employee is not entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The employee may also not receive these benefits if they fail an alcohol or drug test (which the statute states should be taken immediately after the accident).

The presumption will be made that the employee was intoxicated and intoxication was the proximate cause of the employee’s injury if evidence of a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or impairment resulting from the use of cannabis or other drugs is found in the employee’s system. The employee may challenge and overcome the denial of benefits by presenting evidence that demonstrates intoxication was not the exclusive cause of the accident.

In short, the Illinois statute permits an insurance company to immediately deny a workers’ compensation claim to an employee in a failed drug test after work accident situation. The change in the law presumes that the detected substance in the employee’s system caused the injury. It is the responsibility of an injured worker and their attorney to prove otherwise in order to gain eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

Denial of Claim Based on Positive Drug or Alcohol Test

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, compensation may only be provided to injured workers arising from injuries connected with their employment. Some employers attempt to deny the claims of an employee based on their positive alcohol or drug test. Due to the fact that alcohol and drug use is prohibited during work hours, an intoxicated employee is deemed to be breaking the rules of the company, and hence, not officially working at the time of their accident. Therefore, based on the law, the conclusion made by an employer faced with a workers’ comp claim from an intoxicated employee is that the claim is invalid.

Required Drug Testing Procedures

Illinois law permits employers to test their employees for drugs and alcohol. However, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) governs the manner in which these drug tests must be carried out. The requirements include:

  • A trained professional must administer urine and blood collection
  • The employee’s anonymity must be protected during the testing
  • The employee must complete a chain of custody form

If the drug test you took from your employer was not performed according to IWCC requirements, you and your attorney may have the right to challenge its validity. In such a failed drug test after work accident scenario, you may still have the right to collect workers’ compensation.

Speak With an Experienced Illinois Workers’ Comp Attorney

A highly skilled attorney from our team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can represent you in the process of settling your workers’ compensation claim or going to arbitration if necessary. We can make sure the best arguments are presented in the most effective manner possible on your behalf in order to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today at (312) 236-2900 to arrange a free case evaluation.

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(312) 236-2900
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