Can I Be Denied Workers Compensation if I Take Prescription Medications?

workers compensation

We meet with new clients every week who’ve had the workers compensation claims denied. These claims get denied for a variety of reasons. We’ll discuss some of these in more detail below. However, some of the hardest cases for our Charlotte workers comp lawyers to win are those where an employee’s claim was denied due to drug use or intoxication. Once an employer or their insurance company finds out an employee tested positive for drugs after their workplace accident, there’s no way they’re going to pay their claim.

The reason the workers compensation system was put into place was to protect both employers and employees. The system is there to make sure that when an employee gets hurt at work, there’s insurance in place to cover their medical care and provide them with replacement wages. Workers comp also protect businesses because they no longer have to pay to defend personal injury lawsuits every single time a worker gets hurt on the job. Nowhere does it say that an employer has to pay for medical care and replacement wages for an employee who got hurt on the job because they were either high or under the influence of alcohol.

There is one exception to this rule. If your workers compensation attorney in Charlotte can prove that you were taking legally prescribed medications, you may be able to successfully appeal your claim. The burden will be on you and your attorney to prove that this is the case. However, as long as you have medical records showing that you were prescribed medication and that you were taking it as prescribed, you should be able to receive the benefits you deserve.

Not Everybody is Entitled to Workers Compensation Benefits

A lot of people think that they’re entitled to workers compensation benefits simply because they were hurt on the job. This isn’t entirely true. Most employees are entitled to apply for workers compensation benefits. Many of these people work in the retail sector or as commercial drivers. A lot of construction workers suffer workplace accidents. However, regardless of what it is you do for work, you must meet certain criteria in order to collect workers compensation benefits in North Carolina.

Some of these requirements include the following:

  • your injury must have taken place while on company property
  • you must have been hurt while acting within the scope of your employment
  • you must have been on the clock at the time of your workplace accident
  • you must report your accident right away to your manager or human resources
  • you must agree to take a drug test prior to being treated
  • you must agree to be treated by state- approved workers compensation physician
  • you must comply with your treatment plan.

If you meet all these requirements, there is a good chance that your workers compensation claim will be approved. However, if your drug test comes back positive for any medication, your employer has the right to deny your claim. Usually, if your claim is denied due to the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system, your Charlotte workers comp lawyer can demand a further investigation.

For example, they can ask to see the results from the drug panel to see exactly what drugs showed up in your system and at what levels they were at. If any of the drugs that show up in your drug screen are ones that are legally prescribed to you, and you can show proof of this, there’s a good chance your employer will approve your claim.

workers compensation prescription medication

Your Charlotte Workers Comp Lawyer Will Have to Prove that the Drugs Were Legally Prescribed 

While it may not be all that difficult for your workers compensation attorney in Charlotte to prove that the drugs were legally prescribed to you, it will be hard to prove that you took them as prescribed. One way to do this is to look and see if the appropriate number of pills are still left depending on when the prescription was written.

For example, imagine that you’re prescribed to take Xanax once per day as needed. Your prescription is for one milligram Xanax. When you take the drug test following your workplace accident, the presence of Xanax in your system is 10 to 20 times higher than the amount your doctor had prescribed. If this is the case, your employer will deny your claim and there will not be much that you or your Charlotte workers comp lawyer can do to help.

You’ll Need an Experienced Workers Compensation Attorney in Charlotte

If you were hurt at work and your employer denied your workers compensation claim because they said you were under the influence of drugs, you’re going to need to call an attorney right away. There are a lot of different reasons why your claim can be denied. Most of these can be appealed. For example, if your employer denied your claim because they didn’t think you were seriously injured, your workers compensation attorney in Charlotte could get an independent doctor to evaluate you and prove that you did suffer a significant injury. However, if your workers compensation claim was denied because you were under the influence of drugs at the time of your workplace accident, there’s nothing an appeal is going to do to help you.

No employer is going to be required to payout a workers compensation claim to someone who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their workplace accident. The only argument your Charlotte workers comp lawyer can make is that the drugs were legally prescribed to you and that you were taking them in the manner in which they were prescribed. These cases can always get tricky and can take quite some time to sort out. The last thing you want to do is try and handle it yourself. It’ll feel like your employer and their insurance company are ganging up on you. Rather than let them take advantage of you, just make sure that you hire a workers compensation attorney in Charlotte as soon as possible after you find out your claim has been denied.

We do offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to sit down with a worker’s comp lawyer in Charlotte and tell them your side of the story. Since you don’t have to pay anything upfront, you have nothing to lose.