How Drug Tests Affect Workers’ Compensation

Posted on by

Failing a drug test may not disqualify you from receiving benefits

Many employers require their employees to get urine tested after a work injury. If this happens to you, here are some things you should know.

1. If you are sent to a doctor’s office for a urine test, you do not have to – and probably should not – treat with that doctor for your injury.

Many occupational medicine offices, such as Concentra, offer drug testing to employees. However, in order for such a clinic to be the doctor for your workers’ compensation injury, you need to tell your employer that you chose that doctor instead of your family doctor. Choosing an occupational medicine clinic to treat your workers compensation injury would not be smart. Concentra has been accused with conspiring with Walmart to limit the care of their injured workers. Separately an occupational doctor in Lincoln (not affiliated with Concentra) will often-times change a diagnosis of injury from “work-related” to “non-work-related” with no medical evidence. The potential consequence of such a finding is that an injury that is found to be personal is not covered by workers’ compensation. If the injury is bad enough <!–more–>that you are unable to work completely, having a non-work-related injury that completely disables you cuts you off from both workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits.

If you let your employer steer you to an occupational medicine outfit, an experienced Nebraska workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you change doctors and be covered by workers’ compensation.

2. Failing a drug test does not disqualify you from workers’ compensation benefits if you weren’t intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Failing a drug test does not disqualify you from receiving benefits. An employer must show that your intoxication was the sole cause of your work injury. This is difficult, but not impossible. However, failing a drug test may delay payment of lost-time benefits (TTD) and limit your permanent benefits if your employer can argue that, but for you failing a drug test, that they could have accommodated any work injuries you have or might have had. The question of whether your employer could have accommodated your injury, but for you failing a drug test, is determined by a judge on case-by-case basis. If you have been fired because of a failed drug test and are not receiving workers’ compensation benefits because you can’t work, you should talk with a lawyer who knows workers’ compensation.