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  • Writer's pictureJohn Larrimer

Can Employees Claim Workers' Comp for Injuries While Intoxicated?

Workers' comp benefits are available for employees who were injured while conducting their day-to-day duties. However, obtaining compensation for incidents that occurred while the victim was intoxicated is often a complex issue and a matter of much contention.

This article will offer more insight into workers' compensation laws to help claimants and employers understand their rights and responsibilities.

What Is Workers' Compensation?

What Is Workers' Compensation?

To put it simply, workers' compensation is a kind of insurance designed to ensure that injured employees have access to the healthcare they need. The truth is that working environments can expose individuals to a number of risks.

This includes toxins, motor vehicle accidents, repetitive strain injuries, and more. When an employee agrees to accept these benefits following an injury, they forfeit their right to file a lawsuit against their employer. However, they may still pursue legal action against a third party.

The purpose of workers' compensation laws is to guarantee that, in the event of an injury, the victim would get medical attention, coverage for temporary or permanent impairment, and other required recompense, regardless of who is to blame.

Because benefits can be recovered without proving negligence, the system gives workers more protection. Compared to a normal injury-related case, the workers' compensation process is more efficient, enabling most employees to receive payments much faster.

Defining Intoxication

It's important to understand what intoxication is in the context of occupational injuries before exploring its effects on workers' compensation claims.

Generally speaking, this term describes a condition of impairment that is brought on by the use of drugs, alcohol, or other substances that impair a person's decision-making abilities, coordination, or cognitive function.

A drug or alcohol test is often used to determine whether a person is, in fact, intoxicated at the time of an incident.

Claiming Workers' Comp for Injuries While Intoxicated

Although victims do not need to prove liability when filing a workers' compensation claim, it's important to note that there are certain circumstances where benefits will be denied.

When a person is injured on the job because of intoxication, they will not be eligible for benefits. This means that if the effect of drugs or alcohol influences their ability to think, reason, and act in a responsible way, then their workers' comp claim will be rejected.

Employers may argue that the drugs or alcohol caused the employee to be willfully irresponsible, which may have led to the breaking of company policy and safety rules.

There May Be Exceptions

As mentioned already, intoxication can be confirmed through a drug and alcohol test, and if the injured worker fails this test, they may be denied benefits.

However, certain exceptions do exist.

Although drunkenness can make workers' compensation claims more difficult, there are several exceptions and things to keep in mind, depending on the situation.

The first thing is that benefits may still be available to employees who are hurt at work because of the negligence of another or a factor that has nothing to do with their own actions.

Furthermore, workers who sustain injuries as a result of the carelessness of another individual, such as a supervisor or colleague, might be able to file a separate personal injury claim.

Victims are advised to contact a reliable and experienced workers' comp attorney to determine whether they are eligible for benefits despite their intoxication.

Understanding the Burden of Proof

The insurance company or employer has the burden of proof in such cases. This means that it is their job to prove that the claimant was intoxicated at the time of the incident and should be denied benefits for their workplace injury.

Proving ineligibility would involve conducting alcohol and drug testing after the incident occurred. Other evidence, such as surveillance camera footage, witness accounts, and other proof, may also be presented.

Employers Have a Responsibility to Ensure a Safe Working Environment

Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe working environment.

Suppose an injury occurs because of insufficient safety or work rules. In that case, the victim may receive workers' compensation benefits despite the results of their alcohol or drug test.

Moreover, companies have to ensure that adequate measures are taken to address employees who are victims of substance abuse. Early intervention and rehabilitation can help to prevent work-related injuries and ensure the safety of other employees.

A Failed Drug or Alcohol Test Doesn't Always Mean That the Claim Will Be Denied

The common misconception is that every case involving positive test results automatically disqualifies a claimant from obtaining workers' compensation benefits. This is simply not true. There are exceptions to the rule, and every work-related accident is different.

This is why it is important for injured workers to learn more about their rights and ensure that they have received advice before giving up on a claim.

Workers Can Appeal a Denied Workers' Compensation Claim

In some cases, a workers' comp claim may be unfairly denied. When this happens, injured victims have the right to appeal the outcome. The good news is that working with an experienced lawyer can improve the person's chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Good workers compensation attorneys in Columbus are well-versed in workers' compensation law and can provide reliable advice and guidance on how to proceed. They also know that employers may submit unreliable proof or try to twist the truth.

When this happens, a workers' comp lawyer will fight for the rights of the injured worker to ensure that they receive the compensation they are rightly due.

The Attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer Are Here to Help

The Attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer Are Here to Help

Workers' compensation cases involving intoxication are often complex. This is why enlisting the help of a lawyer is crucial to secure a favorable verdict. They can also help with Workers' Comp for electrocution injuries. Injuries can be incredibly severe, resulting in lost wages and mounting medical bills, which is why receiving workers comp benefits is often a lifeline.

Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC has been around for over 90 years, protecting the rights of victims and ensuring that justice prevails.

To learn more or schedule a free consultation to talk about the case, injured workers can contact us.

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