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Drug tests and workplace injuries: What you need to know

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2021 | Workplace Injuries |

When someone gets hurt on the job, it automatically affects their employer’s bottom line.

Naturally, a lot of employers (and their insurance companies) go out of their way to minimize their losses by looking for ways to minimize or outright deny a workers’ compensation claim. One way they do that is through post-injury drug testing.

Why is post-injury drug testing a shady tactic from many employers?

If your workplace injury was caused by voluntary drug or alcohol intoxication, you generally aren’t eligible for workers’ comp benefits. However, most people (and most employers) realize that many drugs and traces of alcohol can still show up in lab tests long after the substance’s intoxicating effects have worn off.

They impose post-injury testing as a psychological mechanism that tends to discourage injured workers from filing a claim. Since they don’t fully understand the way that the “intoxication rule” works, the intimidation is effective.

When can intoxication be used against you in a workers’ comp claim?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has taken a firm stance against blanket post-injury drug and alcohol testing. In essence, that means your employer can still request testing if they have a valid reason — but they don’t have an unlimited amount of time to do so — and they must justify their reasoning.

In addition, your workers’ comp claim can only be denied if they can prove that you were intoxicated at the time of your injury and that your intoxication somehow either caused or contributed to your condition.

Don’t let an employer intimidate you out of what you are due after a workplace injury — and don’t count on them to tell you about your rights. In many cases, the smartest thing an injured worker can do is to speak to an experienced legal advocate here in San Antonio to learn all their options.