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Can You Refuse to Take a Drug Test if You Get Hurt at Work?

Cincinnati workers' comp lawyers get calls all the time from employees who suffered a workplace injury. One of the most common questions they ask is whether their employer can make them take a drug test after their injury. It seems like an invasion of privacy when the Human Resources director asks you to submit to the test. Even if you haven’t been abusing drugs, it seems like an insult.

The truth is that almost all employers insist that their injured workers submit to a drug test prior to leaving the premises. This is something their insurance company typically requires. If you intend to file a workers' compensation claim, you can expect the results of the test to be included in your file. If you fail the test or are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of your accident, there’s a good chance your claim will be denied. If this happens, the first thing you should do is call and talk to an experienced workers' compensation lawyer in Cincinnati.

Almost All Employers Require Workers to Take a Drug Test After an Accident

Unless you work for a small mom-and-pop operation, there’s a good chance your employer has an employee handbook. This handbook will include a copy of the company’s workplace accident policy. The policy will likely state that any employee who is hurt while on the job must submit to a drug test prior to treatment. Most companies have an arrangement with a local hospital or urgent care center. They send any injured employee there for treatment immediately following the accident.

One of the first things they will do there is administer a urine or blood test. The results of this test will be provided to your employer and the insurance company. If the test comes back positive for drugs, expect your workers' comp claim to be denied. If this happens, there isn’t a whole lot your Cincinnati workers' comp lawyer can do to help. Almost any claim involving drugs or alcohol will be denied for cause.

What Are They Looking to Find?

The reason your employer wants you to take a drug test is to make sure your accident wasn’t caused by intoxication. If your test comes back positive for marijuana or cocaine, your claim is going to be denied. Some clients are concerned about their prescription medications showing up. After all, nobody wants their boss or coworkers to know their private business. If you take any regular medications, let the people at the hospital or clinic know. If that drug happens to show up on the drug screen, they’ll make a note of it in your file.

Keep in mind – if you do not take your medications as prescribed, your claim may still be denied. For example, if you’re prescribed an anti-anxiety drug like Xanax, the instructions state that you can’t take them and then operate heavy equipment. If you take this medication and then operate a hand truck, you could get seriously injured. If this happens, there’s no guarantee that your workers' comp claim will be paid.

What is the Rationale Behind the Drug Test Requirement?

As unfair as it may seem, your employer has a right to know if drugs or alcohol caused your accident. They cover workplace injuries and accidents under their insurance policy. If you were under the influence of alcohol or an illegal drug, why should your employer be responsible for paying your medical bills? There are too many occasions on which an employee is injured because they’re intoxicated. In these cases, it would be unfair to expect their employer to cover their expenses.

Can a Cincinnati Workers' Comp Lawyer Help if You Test Positive?

When you meet with your Cincinnati workers' comp lawyer, they’re going to be upfront and honest with you. If they don’t feel your claim will be approved, they’ll let you know. There’s only so much they can do to help. For example, they may be able to convince your employer to keep you onboard and allow you to undergo treatment at a rehabilitation center. However, the odds of them getting your claim approved are small.

It’s a Good Idea to Call an Experienced Cincinnati Workers' Comp Lawyer Right Away

If you or your spouse are hurt while on the job, you should be entitled to workers' comp benefits. To ensure that your claim is handled properly, you should call and set up a free, initial consultation with a skilled Cincinnati workers' comp lawyer.

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