How Drug and Alcohol Use Affects Eligibility for Workmans’ Compensation in Bessemer AL

How Drug and Alcohol Use Affects Eligibility for Workmans’ Compensation in Bessemer AL

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, about 15 million employees drink heavily and another 10 million use illicit drugs. Almost all employers prohibit employees from using these substances while on the job. If an employee comes to work intoxicated and gets into an accident, is the person still eligible for workman’s compensation in Bessemer, AL?

Workers’ Compensation Is No-Fault Insurance

Workers’ compensation is designed to be no-fault insurance, which means it will pay an injured employee’s claim regardless of who caused the accident. The trade off for this blanket coverage is the employee cannot sue the employer in civil court to recover compensation for his or her injuries if the individual takes any money from the insurance.

So even if the employee was intoxicated when he or she was injured, workers’ compensation will pay the claim as long as the person is eligible for benefits.

However, there is one exception to this rule when it comes to drug and alcohol use. If the person’s intoxication caused the accident, then the individual will not be eligible for benefits. For instance, if an employee was too intoxicated to properly hold a jackhammer and severed his foot, as a result, then workers’ comp would not pay for that injury because it resulted from the person’s drug or alcohol use.

The Burden of Proof Rests with Workers’ Compensation

Although workers’ compensation is perfectly within its rights to deny coverage to those whose drug and alcohol use resulted in his or her accident, it is incumbent upon the insurance provider to prove the employee was intoxicated at the time and that the individual’s intoxication was the root cause of the accident. This can be surprisingly challenging to do.

Most employers require injured employees to undergo drug testing, but the results of those tests don’t always conclusively prove the person was intoxicated. For instance, people who drink heavily may take a blood test that shows they had a .08 BAC, but they may not actually experience the usual signs of intoxication because of their high tolerance levels.

People who think their drug or alcohol use may impact their eligibility for workman’s compensation in Bessemer, AL should contact an attorney who can help protect their right to be compensated for their injuries. Click here to schedule a consultation with a lawyer.

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