One of the great advantages of workers' compensation is that it covers all occupational injuries and
illnesses, without the injured worker having to prove fault. There is one exception, however, and that applies to cases where workers are injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are injured in a
work accident and your employer or the workers' compensation insurance provider determines that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time, your right to benefits may be in jeopardy.
This is a scenario where involving an attorney is of the utmost importance. You may expect your workers' compensation claim to be denied due to the alleged involvement of alcohol or drugs, but you can take steps to appeal such a denial.
The first step is requesting a hearing. Filing a written request with the Hearings Division will grant you the opportunity to an administrative hearing where you can present evidence that supports your right to benefits. This is where a competent lawyer may make all the difference. In handling a hearing or appeal for a workers' compensation claim involving intoxication or drugs, we at Shook & Stone utilize our experience and resources to the fullest extent.
If you submitted to a blood or urine test after your workplace accident, and this was positive for alcohol or drugs, we can conduct an independent analysis of this test. We can look to determine whether the test was administered properly and whether the blood or urine sample was preserved and tested correctly. Challenging the test itself may open the window to proving that you were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your accident.
Another approach may be to consider whether your abilities were actually impaired at the time of the accident, regardless of the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system. We may be able to get co-workers to testify of your normal and alert behavior leading up to the incident to show that you were unimpaired. We can also look at the circumstances surrounding the accident itself to determine whether a safety violation or other form of noncompliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards may have contributed to your accident. Finding a missing guardrail, improperly installed scaffolding or malfunctioning piece of equipment may help us prove your case and right to benefits.
Remember, if your workers' comp claim is denied, you may find yourself saddled with exorbitant medical bills and serious financial difficulties caused by lost wages and missed work. You need to do everything you can to seek a positive result to your claim so you can receive the benefits and medical care you need. It starts with having a legal professional review your claim to offer insight on your options at this point in time. Call a Las Vegas workers' compensation lawyer at Shook & Stone today to see how we can help you.