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Will a Positive Drug Test Sink Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Will a Positive Drug Test Sink Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?A workers’ compensation insurance company will search for reasons that they can deny your claim, including blaming your conduct for your injury. That is why some employers will ask you to submit to a drug test after an injury. According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee is ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits if their intoxication was the proximate cause of their injury. You can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you failed a drug test, but you will have to prove that your injury was unrelated to the intoxicating substance in your body.

Drug Testing

In September 2011, Illinois changed its burden of proof for intoxication claims in workers’ compensation cases. Previously, employers had to prove that an employee was intoxicated and that the intoxication caused the injury. Now, employees who test positive for drugs bear the burden of proving that they were not intoxicated or that whatever effect the drug had on them did not cause their injury. According to state law, employers can use results from a blood, urine, or breath test as evidence of the presence of:

  • Alcohol;
  • Cannabis;
  • Controlled substances; and
  • Intoxicating compounds.

Intoxicating compounds are otherwise legal substances that can cause intoxicating effects, such as huffing chemicals. The law presumes that you were intoxicated if you refuse a drug test after your injury.

Your Response

You can overcome the presumption that intoxication was the cause of your workplace injury by presenting your own evidence. Several factors could be in your favor:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration may be lower than 0.08, which is the point of legal intoxication;
  • Traces of marijuana can linger in your body for days after the impairing effects have subsided;
  • A drug test taken more than 48 hours after the injury is less reliable as evidence of intoxication;
  • A licensed professional must administer the drug test and prevent contamination of the sample; and
  • The injury may have been unavoidable, regardless of whether you were intoxicated.

To present any of these arguments, you need a detailed account of the circumstances leading up to your injury, supporting testimony from witnesses, and the opinion of an independent physician.

Contact a Crystal Lake Workers’ Compensation Attorney

The stakes are high if your employer accuses you of being intoxicated during your workplace injury. Not only could the insurer deny your workers’ compensation claim, but your job may be at risk if your employer believes that you showed up to work intoxicated. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will contest the accusation that you were intoxicated and help you obtain the injury benefits you need. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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