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Know How Marijuana Use Can Hurt Your Workers' Compensation Claim - Larrimer & Larrimer

Ohio has a no-fault workers compensation system, which means people can still file a workers comp claim if an accident was their fault. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and one of them is marijuana use. If the victim fails a drug test, they are most likely to get denied coverage.

Most workers' compensation claims don't go anywhere if the victim was either drunk or high by the moment of the accident, but there are consequently a few exceptions to that rule. Anyone looking forward to filing a workplace accident compensation claim should read this blog post if they think they will get a positive drug test.

Regardless of the scenario, it's ideal to hire a decent work injury attorney to take the case. Why should people hire a lawyer if it's not technically a lawsuit? Because workers' compensation often includes dealing with insurance companies, gathering evidence, and handling a lot of paperwork, which can be highly overwhelming for clients.

Larrimer & Larrimer is one of the best law firms people seeking workers' compensation benefits can hire in Columbus, Ohio. Since this law office focuses on workers' compensation insurance cases, its lawyers already are experienced in this kind of case and know what to do regardless of the circumstances. They can also help answer questions such as Can I get workers’ compensation even if it was my fault?

How Can Marijuana Hurt a Workers' Compensation Claim?

How Can Marijuana Hurt a Workers' Compensation Claim?

Failing a drug test may (and most likely will) hurt someone's workers' compensation claim. That's mainly because the victim's employer will argue that the accident happened due to the victim's intoxication by the time everything happened, which will make the BWC deny the claim.

Secondly, it's important to know that, apart from specific cases such as medical marijuana, consuming marijuana in any way is illegal in Ohio. One of the exceptions in which people can't get workers' compensation is when they get into an accident while committing a crime, so the BWC would take illegal marijuana use into account before giving anyone compensation for a workplace injury.

Even if recreational or medical marijuana use didn't contribute to the accident, insurance companies can still use it against the victim. They may argue that marijuana use makes it impossible for victims to work or to comply with most treatment plans, which could lead to a reduction or denial of workers' compensation benefits.

What About Medical Marijuana?

Although medical marijuana use is legal in Ohio, medical marijuana users need to watch out for how insurance companies may use that against them. If the victim proves they were using legal marijuana, they can at least stay safe from committing-crime-denials, but they still need to show the BWC that being under the influence of marijuana didn't cause the workplace injury they are suffering from.

Getting workers' compensation insurance is as difficult as getting coverage for other accidents such as car crashes, so people need a decent lawyer to build a strong case. It's important to remember that, even if medical marijuana usage is legal in many states, it's still a controlled substance according to federal law.

Medical marijuana users already know what the results of their drug test will be, so once they prove taking drugs didn't cause the accident, they also need to show that it doesn't interfere in any way with their daily activities or that it wouldn't meddle with future medical treatment.

Recreational marijuana impairment is illegal in Ohio, so injured workers also need to prove the medical need for drug use if they test positive on any kind of drug testing. This part of the process is essential since employers have the right to fire workers who don't comply with drug testing policies.

Specific Cases in Which People Can Use Medical Marijuana in Ohio

If injured workers trying to get workers comp need to prove they were only using medicinal marijuana, they need to understand the specific cases when drug use is allowed. These are a few of the diseases that can include smoking marijuana as part of the legal medical treatment in Ohio:

  • AIDS

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Spinal cord diseases

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Alzheimer's disease

  • Cancer

  • Parkinson's disease

It's worth noting that, since marijuana is illegal at a federal level, patients need a recommendation from a certified physician and register with the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program to include this substance in their medical treatment. Otherwise, it would count as recreational marijuana use.

Learning About the Rebuttable Presumption System

Ohio follows a rebuttable presumption system that consists of assuming that when an employee tests positive on drug tests at the time of an accident or injury, the accident most likely happened directly or indirectly because of marijuana intoxication. The same happens with people under the influence of alcohol looking for workers comp benefits.

When there is a presumption that an accident happened because of how drugs negatively affect a person's ability to think, people can still get compensation if they prove the accident happened because of another problem. However, they need to prove that the cause of the injury would have been there even if the victim hadn't been intoxicated by that time.

As mentioned before, using marijuana for medical purposes can also hurt the victim's claim, so they still need to prove being intoxicated didn't cause the work-related illness they are seeking compensation for.

Is There Any Way of Getting Workers' Compensation Benefits Even If the Victim Fails a Marijuana Use Test?

Is There Any Way of Getting Workers' Compensation Benefits Even If the Victim Fails a Marijuana Use Test?

Unless employers prohibit employees from working while intoxicated in the employee handbook, marijuana use shouldn't automatically disqualify a person from getting workers' compensation benefits. Since the law keeps people from getting workers comp if cannabis use caused the accident, they just need to prove another thing did.

Gathering evidence is easier with professional help from a lawyer, so injured employees should hire one as soon as they can. They will also tell the victim the best way to prove they had marijuana for medical use and that it doesn't interfere with any work-related matters. They can also provide insight on degenerative disc disease in workers’ compensation.


Failing a marijuana test is not the end of a workers' compensation claim, but it means that the job will be a bit harder, so victims need all the help they can get. Larrimer & Larrimer is ready to give legal assistance to anyone suffering from a work-related injury, so victims looking for workers comp should call this law firm to schedule a free consultation today!

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