Can You Still Collect Workers Compensation Benefits if You Refuse to Take a Drug Test?

Many of our clients are not happy when they learn that they have to take a drug test after their workplace accident. For some, it has nothing to do with being afraid they’ll test positive for drugs. They just don’t think it’s fair that they can be forced to take the test. While our Miami workers compensation lawyers understand how you may feel, we also know that the law isn’t on your side.

Here, we’ll discuss what happens if you refuse to take a drug test after reporting your workplace injury.

It Seems Like an Invasion of Privacy for Your Employer to Require You to Take a Drug Test

Anybody would feel that it’s an affront to be told you have to take a drug test after a workplace accident. It seems like that should be the least of your employer’s concerns. After all, you may be in need of emergency medical treatment.

The truth is that your employer will certainly send you out to the hospital. However, once your emergency medical issues are addressed, you will be expected to submit to a drug test.

Florida Law Allows Your Employer to Request You Submit to a Drug Test Prior to Treatment

According to Florida Statute 440.102, anyone who suffers a workplace accident can be asked to take a drug test. Your employer has a right to know if you were under the influence of drugs at the time of your workplace accident.

The way the legislature sees things, your employer is the one responsible for your medical care. They are the ones who have to pay insurance premiums to cover their employees. Therefore, they have a right to make sure that your accident wasn’t the result of your intoxication.

Your Miami Workers Compensation Lawyer Understands Why They Would Require a Drug Test

Over the years, our Miami workers compensation lawyers have handled a great number of cases where our client refused to take the drug test. Sadly, in most of these cases, their claim was denied.

When our workers comp attorneys in Miami appeal these claims, the insurance company usually denies the appeal. Since the law states that employers have the right to drug test their injured employees, there’s no reason why the insurance carrier would pay your claim.

It Isn’t Fair for Your Employer to Have to Pay if You Were Using Drugs or Alcohol

If you refuse to take the drug test, your claim will be denied. The criteria for workers compensation are clear. You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your workplace accident.

you can't collect benefits if you were under the influence of drugs.

The only way for your employer to confirm that your accident wasn’t the result of drugs or alcohol is to have you take a drug test. If your test is positive for drugs, your claim will be denied. If you refuse the test, your employer will assume it’s because you know it’ll come back positive for drugs.

Why Would Your Employer Think You Were Under the Influence of Drugs?

Even if you’ve worked for the same company for a decade, that doesn’t mean they know your personal habits. Your employer must enforce their drug testing policy equally, regardless of who you are of how long you’ve worked for them.

There’s also the chance that your employer does suspect that you were using drugs at the time of your accident. Perhaps they observed you acting strangely. Your manager may have raised concerns prior to your accident.

Your employer is going to do whatever it takes to protect themselves.

Have You Been Disciplined for Possible Drug Use Before?

If you have ever been written up for being under the influence at work, you shouldn’t be surprised that they want to drug test you. The same is true if you’ve been written up for attendance issues or performance problems.

Your employer is not only looking to protect themselves. But the insurance company isn’t going to pay a claim without knowing for sure that the accident wasn’t caused by drug use.

You Have a Legal Right to Refuse to Take the Drug Test

One thing your Miami workers comp attorney will tell you is that you have a legal right to refuse to take the drug test. However, it’s important that you know what the repercussions will be.

If you refuse to take the test, your employer will just assume that you were under the influence at the time of your accident. They’ll deny your claim. This means that your medical care won’t be covered, and you will not receive weekly benefits.

In fact, your employer may not keep you on if you end up missing a significant amount of time due to your injuries.

What if You Just Wait Until the Last Minute to Report Your Workplace Accident?

What some of our clients have done in the past is just wait until the last minute to report their injuries. They know that they have thirty (30) days to report their accident to their employer. Their thought is that, if they wait until the thirty days are almost up, the drugs will be out of their system.

Needless to say, our Miami workers comp attorneys don’t recommend this approach. Your employer will likely try to argue you weren’t actually hurt at work if you wait until the last minute to report your accident.

There is also the chance that you will still test positive on the drug test. While you can argue that it was due to your using drugs well after your workplace accident, that doesn’t mean your claim will be approved.

Will Your Miami Workers Comp Attorney Be Able to Help?

There are a lot of things your Miami workers comp attorney can do to help with your claim. However, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your workplace accident, your lawyer’s hands may be tied. The law is very clear about this.

Now, if you had taken medication that was prescribed to you, then your Miami workers compensation lawyer can help. They’ll provide proof that you were taking prescription drugs rather than illicit ones. Even then, your employer may still deny your claim.

The problem is that, if you refused to take the drug test, it will be hard to convince your employer to approve your claim. They’ll naturally assume that you refused to take the test because it would come back positive.

We Offer New Clients a Free, Initial Consultation

We suggest that you contact our office and speak with one of our Florida workers compensation lawyers right away. If you haven’t reported your injury to your employer, you may still have time to right the ship.

Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, it makes sense to contact our experienced Miami workers comp attorneys and find out what your options are.