Drug Use, Horseplay and Other Defense to Workers’
Comp Claims Attorney
claims may be denied for various reasons. Sometimes, it is because the
injury did not arise out of your job. Other times, it may be clear the
accident happened on the job, but the claim was denied because you were
engaged in illegal or improper conduct at the time you were injured.
Under Georgia law, workers’ compensation
benefits (money and medical care) will be denied if the employee’s injury
or death arose from the employee’s willful misconduct, including
intentionally self-inflicted injuries, injuries which arose from the
employee’s attempt to injure another or injuries which arose from the
willful failure to use a safety appliance or to perform a duty required by
statute. If you have questions on whether you qualify for workers’
compensation in Georgia,
contact us today.
Benefits may be denied if the employee was
engaged in horseplay at the time he or she was injured or if the injury
was due to the employee being intoxicated by alcohol, marijuana or a
controlled substance at the time of the accident. Your employer may
require a drug or alcohol test if you report a work-related injury.
Benefits may also be denied if you fail to
disclose a pre-existing condition when you were hired and you were later
injured and became disabled due in part to the pre-existing condition.
However, this duty to disclose prior conditions will only arise if you
were questioned about prior conditions by your employer at time of hire or
in a pre-employment physical.
Answering Your Questions About Work Comp Eligibility
Q1. While working, my supervisor and I had an
argument about work. He punched me, knocked me down and injured my back.
Am I covered?
Yes. If a co-employee or supervisor injures
you in an attack at work and the attack arose out of some dispute related
to the job, your injuries are covered under workers’ comp. You are
prohibited from suing the individual who attacked you, but you can take
out an arrest warrant on the attacker. If instead the assault is due to a
personal dispute unrelated to your job, it does not arise out of your
employment and your claim will most likely be denied.
Q2. I was at a party last week and smoked some
pot. This week while driving a forklift at work I lost control of the
forklift, crashed into some boxes and injured my back. I was given a drug
test and it came back positive for marijuana. The employer denied my
claim, even though I was not intoxicated at the time of the accident. Do I
have a claim for benefits?
If you test positive for marijuana or other
controlled substance pursuant to a drug test taken within eight hours of
an accident, or positive for alcohol pursuant to a test taken within three
hours of an accident, it will be presumed your injury was caused by
intoxication and you will have the burden of proving you were not
intoxicated at the time of the injury. If you cannot disprove you were
intoxicated, your claim will be denied.
Q3. What if I refuse to take a drug or alcohol
test immediately following a work accident?
Unjustifiably refusing to submit to the drug
or alcohol test has the same effect as testing positive for drugs or
alcohol. You will be faced with the presumption you were intoxicated and
the intoxication led to your accident. You will have the burden to prove
you were not intoxicated.
Q4. My employer denied my workers’
compensation benefits because I violated a safety rule which led to an
accident and my injury. Do I have a claim?
Yes. Failure to follow a safety rule is not a
defense to workers’ comp claims. The system is a no-fault system. Even if
you violated job rules or your own negligence caused the accident, you are
entitled to benefits.