Can I Apply for Work Comp Benefits After Failing a Post-Accident Drug Test?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Michigan’s workers’ compensation system helps employees obtain benefits such as medical care, lost earnings, and rehabilitation. However, there are exceptions to the no-fault rule. If you were intoxicated at the time of the accident, you are automatically disqualified from receiving workers’ comp benefits.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can provide more information about receiving workers’ compensation benefits after a drug test.
Drug Testing After a Workplace Accident
Michigan is one of the few states that does not have laws governing drug screening in private employment. Therefore, employers may request drug testing after a workplace accident under their own drug-free workplace policies.
Drug testing should not violate other federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on disability, race, religion, age, or gender. Under Michigan’s libel and slander laws, the employer may also be liable for defamation for publishing or discussing a false drug test result.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) prohibits drug testing as retaliation against workers who report workplace injuries. A workers’ comp drug test should be limited to situations where there is a possibility that drugs may have contributed to the workplace accident.
You can test for drugs with hair, urine, blood, breath, and/or sweat samples. These drugs are also listed as controlled substances under Michigan law. If you test positive for any of these controlled substances, you are disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation benefits:
- Amphetamines (such as meth and speed)
- Opioids (such as heroin and morphine)
What a Positive Drug Test Means for Workers’ Comp Eligibility
Even if you failed a drug test and tested positive, the results don’t automatically mean you won’t receive workers’ compensation benefits. There must be sufficient evidence from the employer that the employee was intoxicated at the time of the accident. If the employer cannot prove that a worker’s willful violation of the company’s drug policy caused the injury, the employer and its insurance company must provide workers’ comp benefits to the injured worker.
However, the employer does not need to provide workers’ compensation benefits, including coverage for medical treatment, if an employee violated the employer’s drug policy that led to their injury. Michigan law provides that if an employee suffers a work injury due to willful misconduct, he is ineligible for compensation. Specifically, Michigan limits willful misconduct to deliberate and substantial disregard for the employer’s interests or duties.
Michigan allows the use of medicinal marijuana, so you may have legal protection if you test positive for marijuana use. You must prove that you not only lawfully consumed marijuana but that you used it to treat a medical condition at the time of the accident. A Michigan workers’ compensation attorney can help you if you failed a workers’ comp drug test and were denied benefits while using medicinal marijuana to treat a medical condition.
Reach Out to a Workers’ Comp Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Even though workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, it can still pose some complications. This is especially true if you test positive for drugs in your system following a workplace accident.
To negotiate with your employer or an insurance company for your workers’ comp benefits, you will need the help of a workers’ compensation attorney experienced in helping those injured on the job.
At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates P.C., our attorneys have extensive experience representing injured workers and assisting them with their workers’ compensation claims.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.