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What injured workers need to know about drug tests

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

People injured at work in Georgia can usually file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can make a major difference when someone requires medical care or a leave of absence because of a job-related medical condition.

However, many people who would qualify for health care coverage and disability benefits will fail to make claims because they believe inaccurate information about this key benefits system. Urban legends and half-truths about workers’ compensation block many potentially qualified workers from getting the benefits they deserve.

One of the most persistent myths about workers’ compensation coverage is that it failed drug test automatically prevents a worker from getting benefits. However, the truth about drug testing is more complicated than that.

Drug tests don’t prove impairment or end eligibility

In theory, a drug test shows that someone may have consumed a specific substance in the recent past. However, depending on the substance, it may have been days or weeks ago. Marijuana, for example, will frequently show up in urine tests several weeks after use, as the chemical test does not establish current impairment but residual chemical byproducts from consumption.

Failing a test after an injury on the job because of something that occurred in a worker’s free time should not prevent them from getting benefits. The company will typically need to prove that impairment was the cause of someone’s injury in addition to showing that the worker failed a drug or alcohol test.

Additionally, if there’s too much of a delay in chemical testing, the test results may not hold up during a contested claim situation. If the test isn’t performed within eight hours of the incident when the worker gets injured, the employer may not be able to use the test results as a defense to the worker’s claim.

Challenging situations demand the right help

If you don’t understand the rules that apply to workers’ compensation benefits, you could make mistakes that could cost you thousands of dollars. For workers who worry about their eligibility for benefits or whether filing a claim is worth their time, a discussion about their condition and its long-term financial consequences, as well as their likely eligibility for benefits, could help.

Learning more about workers’ compensation rules, especially related to drug testing, can help those who might believe they don’t qualify for benefits.

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