Intoxication Doesn’t Have to Equal a Lost Workers’ Comp Case
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.
Why You Need an Attorney for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?
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 illegal drugs, but you can take steps to appeal such a denial under compensation laws.
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 compensation 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 under proper medical attention 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.
Employer can use termination for cause defense if you test positive
If the test results are positive, you may face a so-called termination-for-cause defense. This means that your employer may contend that intoxication was a factor in your work-related injury and deny your claim for workers’ comp benefits on this basis.
Our Compensation attorneys at Shook & Stone are highly experienced in addressing this challenge. We can review the circumstances of your accident to determine if intoxication was indeed a factor.
We can also present evidence to refute the termination-for-cause defense, citing other factors that may have contributed to the accident. This could include negligence on behalf of your employer or a third party.
Finding Fault: Using OSHA Standards to Build a Strong Case for Benefits
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 workplace injury 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 partial disability benefits.
How to Avoid Financial Hardship with Shook & Stone?
Remember, if your workers’ comp claim is denied, you may find yourself saddled with exorbitant medical providers bills and serious financial difficulties caused by lost weekly wages and missed work. You need to do everything you can to seek a positive result to your claim so you can receive the compensation benefits and medical expenses you need from Insurance companies.
It starts with having a professional review of your claim to offer legal advice on your options at this point in time. Call a Las Vegas workers’ compensation lawyer at (702) 570-0000 or fill out the form for a free consultation.