If you are on prescription medication while you sustain a work injury and your employer asks you to take a drug test, you should know that this puts you at risk of being denied your workers compensation claim.
It doesn’t seem fair to be denied benefits after your work injury in Brandon, especially if the medication you are on had nothing to do with your workplace accident. As any workers compensation attorney will tell you, even if the test results only show a medication that’s legally prescribed to you, the insurance company may still deny your claim for benefits.
Is Your Employer Allowed to Make You Take a Drug Test After a Work Injury in Brandon?
In Florida, employers are legally allowed to drug test their employees. When you first attend orientation, Human Resources will give you a copy of the Employee Handbook. In this handbook, you’ll find the rules as they apply to a mandated drug test.
Some companies perform random drug tests. You’ll be used to this, so it won’t be so much of a surprise when it happens. The handbook should also outline the policy on workplace accidents.
This way, if you suffer a work injury, you’ll be prepared for what comes next.
What Happens if You Refuse the Drug Test?
If you’ve used illegal drugs in the past thirty days, we can understand why you’d refuse the drug test. However, if you refuse to take the test, the insurance company reserves the right to deny your claim.
Even if there’s evidence to show that your work injury was not drug-related, that won’t change the insurance company’s decision.
Your Brandon workers comp attorney will have to negotiate with the insurance company to get your claim approved. In most situations, if you refuse the test, the insurance company won’t pay no matter what your lawyer says.
There Are Special Rules for Companies That Participate in Florida’s “Drug-Free Workplace” Program
Employers that take part in the ”Drug Free Workplace” program in Florida have even more leeway when it comes to drug testing. Their goal is to keep their workplaces and facilities drug-free.
If you happen to fail a drug test after a work injury, you could even lose your job. If your employer maintains a drug-free workplace, they will have policies in place supporting your termination in a situation like this.
If Your Test Is Positive It’ll Be Presumed That Drugs Caused Your Injury
Another thing about working for a company that keeps a “Drug Free Workplace” is that your employer doesn’t have to prove that you were using drugs at the time of your injury.
The fact that you refused the test will be proof enough that you were under the influence when you got hurt. Your attorney will have to show one of two things.
First, they can prove that your taking medications had nothing to do with your work injury in Brandon. Second, they can prove that the drugs in your system were prescribed to you by a doctor. If this is the case, it may be harder for your employer to deny your claim.
Can Your Claim Be Denied if You Test Positive for Prescription Medications?
You may think that, just because your medications were prescribed, your employer can’t hold it against you. That isn’t true. Your employer can argue that you did not take the medication as prescribed.
Depending on the type of medication you were using, they may be able to prove that it has contributed to your accident. For example, if you were prescribed an anxiety medication such as Xanax, they’ll argue that it made you disoriented.
Can Your Attorney Prove You Had a Valid Prescription at the Time of Your Injury?
What your lawyer will have to do is prove somehow that the legal prescriptions you were taking the day of your accident had nothing to do with your being injured. One way they can do this is by showing that you were taking the proper dosage of your prescription medication.
For example, imagine that you were prescribed thirty Xanax on the first of the month. Your work injury occurred on the 15th of the month. If you can prove that you still had fifteen pills left, it will help show that you were not abusing the drug.
The Insurance Company Will Argue That the Medication Led to Your Accident
Once your employer reports the results of your drug test to the insurance company, they will almost always deny your claim. They’ll put the burden back on you to prove that drugs had no role in your workplace accident.
The other thing your attorney can do is demonstrate that the medication you were taking could not have caused your injuries.
For instance, imagine that your drug test came back positive for a weight loss drug that is known to boost your energy. Your workers compensation claim was filed because you were diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome due to the repetitive tasks you perform as part of your job.
It will be hard for the insurance carrier to argue that your weight-loss medication had anything to do with your carpal tunnel.
Consult with a Workers Compensation Attorney in Brandon, Florida
A lot of people don’t realize that, if they get hurt on the job, they’ll be subjected to a drug test. The fear is that, even if you had used recreational drugs days prior to your work injury in Brandon, they’ll show up on the drug test.
What’s even scarier is that the insurance company can deny your claim, even if the drug test is positive for prescription medications. A workers comp lawyer in Brandon can help explain why certain drugs showed up on the drug test. They can also argue that the drugs had nothing to do with your work injury in Brandon.
All you have to do is call our office at 954-833-5226 and schedule your free, initial consultation.