If I Get Injured at Work and Fail My Drug Test Can I Still Get Workers Compensation in Virginia?

Jan 13, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

 

It’s a fair assumption that if you get injured at work, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will cover the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with your injury.

 

However, a significant percentage of Virginia workers’ compensation claims get denied for a variety of reasons, including a failed drug test.

 

The good news is that even though your claim may be initially denied if you test positive for an unprescribed controlled substance, you may still be able to receive compensation for your injuries.

 

In this article, we’ll outline three reasons you can still get workers’ comp even if you failed a drug test.

 

 

Reason 1: Your Employer Has to Prove that You Failed Your Drug Test

 

Though proving you failed a drug test may seem relatively straightforward, there are several factors that can call the validity of a drug test into question. There are also legal procedures your employer has to follow to ensure the admissibility of your drug test results.

 

For example, your test has to be administered by a SAMHSA-certified lab. Short for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this organization is a government agency subject to federal regulations. Failing to utilize a lab with this certification can nullify your test.

 

Reason 2: Your Employer Has to Prove that You Were Intoxicated at the Time of the Incident

 

In addition to showing that you test positive for a controlled substance, your employer also has the burden of proving that you were intoxicated at the time the incident occurred. This can be difficult because drugs can stay in the body’s system for several days.

 

For example, if your employer conducts a urine test, you could test positive for marijuana days or weeks after inhaling. With a drug like Valium, it could show up on a drug test up to ten days later. While your employer (and the workers’ compensation insurance company) may be quick to assume that you had been under the influence at the time the accident occurred, a drug test alone is likely not enough to prove intoxication.

 

In order for the connection to be made between drugs and your workplace injury, there will need to be an analysis of the concentrations of the substance in your body at the time of the test.

 

Reason 3: Your Employer Has to Prove that Your Intoxication Was the Cause of Your Injury

 

Even if your drug test is positive and it can be shown that you were under the influence of a substance at the time of the accident, your claim may still be successful.

 

If you can show that your intoxication had no bearing on the incident itself, then you may still be eligible for benefits. For example, if you were drunk on the job (not something we condone), and a defective piece of equipment injured you, then it was the faulty machine, not your intoxication, that caused your injury.

 

Though your employer may try to argue that you would have noticed the defect or acted differently if you were sober, the fact remains that the machine was the proximate cause of your injury.

 

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Help

 

While it’s true that a positive drug test often results in an automatic denial of Virginia workers’ compensation benefits, you still have several ways to be successful in your claim. Contact Geoff McDonald & Associates for help. Our firm has a successful track record of helping employees win workers’ compensation cases. We offer free consultations to discuss the incident and explore your various options.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 866-369-9051.

FREE CONSULTATION

No Fees Unless We Win





    If I Get Injured at Work in Virginia, How Long Do I Have to Report It?

      Whether you’re in Virginia or another state, all work-related injuries or accidents must be reported to your employer as soon as possible.   Our workers’ compensation attorneys often get asked how long they have to report their injury and what happens if they...

    What Are My Rights if I Was Injured by a Third-party at the Workplace?

    You have a right to pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against a third party when they cause a workplace accident. If the accident is not due to your work specifically and your employer is not the reason for the accident, workers’ compensation might not cover the...

    Our Case Results

    $4,700,000
    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    $1,750,000
    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    $1,250,000
    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    $860,000
    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    $700,000
    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald