Insurance companies didn’t become hugely profitable companies by paying out every single injury claim that comes across their desk. Instead, they do research into the accident to see if there is any way they can minimize their liability. One way in which they can minimize or eliminate their liability is if they can prove that the employee acted in such a manner than would absolve the company of their liability.
Since a worker can fully cause their injury and still receive benefits, there’s not a lot of ways that insurance companies can argue the worker acted in such a way that they wouldn’t be entitled to benefits. However, there are two main challenges the insurance company can argue – that the employee intentionally injured themselves, in which case filing for compensation benefits would constitute fraud, or that the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, and that inhibited their ability to avoid such an accident. Below, we focus on the latter situation and explain what rights a company and an employee has if there is question as to whether or not an employee was under the influence when they were injured at work.
Can My Employer Drug Test Me After an Injury?
Although caring for the injured employee takes precedence, Minnesota law states that employers are legally allowed to require an employee to submit to a drug test “within a reasonable time” such that the substance would still be detectable in the employee’s system. In other words, you are legally required to submit to a drug test following a work injury if your employer requests that you do so. Failing to do so will almost assuredly lead to a denial of your workers’ compensation claim.
With that said, it’s not all bad news when it comes to drug testing and your right to compensation. If you test positive for an illegal substance, you can still get compensation. Even in the event that you test positive for an illegal substance, the burden of proof remains on the employer. What this means is that in order for them to be able to deny your right to injury compensation, they have to prove that you were under the influence, and that your intoxication was the primary factor in your injury.
For example, if you worked for a roofing company, fell off a roof while doing a job and a drug test shows that you had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit, it’s going to be pretty easy for the insurance company to argue that your intoxication played a role in your inability to stay safe on the roof. On the flip side, if you’re working on a construction site and a falling object strikes your shoulder, a positive drug test isn’t likely to tank your case since it didn’t have a direct influence on you suffering an injury.
At the end of the day, a positive test won’t sink your case, but it may make it harder to win, simply because the insurance company is going to do everything in their power to make a case that suggests your intoxication was a primary factor in your accident, even if that’s not the case. If you run into a situation like this, it is in your best interest to contact a Minnesota workers’ compensation firm like Hey Workers.
We’ve helped clients get compensation even after a positive drug or alcohol test, and we can do the same for you. Let us go up against the insurance company while you focus on getting healthy. If that sounds like a plan, give us a call at (844) 439-9675.