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Do I lose workman's comp benefits and salary if my post accident drug test came back positive?

Philadelphia, PA |

I was in a MVA where someone rear ended me and was charged for the accident. My job had me take a urine test 2 days after the accident and the results came back positive.

If I'm fired will they drop my workman's comp case and/or will I be able to file for unemployment?

Attorney Answers 6


You have two problems here.

The first is that the insurer /could/ try to deny your entire claim if they can show (or try to show) that the accident was caused by you being under the influence. Acknowledging that you were rear-ended, this can be hard for them to prove, and they may fail, but they still may choose to deny your claim. If this happens, you will have to file a Claim Petition and prove the elements of your case.

The other problem is that your employer may fire you. If you are fired for cause, it /could/ jeopardize your ability to receive wage loss benefits from the carrier, even if your claim is accepted.

I have seen cases like yours go smoothly, with the carrier simply accepting the claim, and some where the carrier simply denies. It would not hurt to speak with a lawyer to be prepared for any eventuality.

The answer to this question is based on Pennsylvania Law only. Workers' Compensation statutes and case law vary from state to state.

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If you were in a work related MVA, you may pursue a Workers' Compensation claim for coverage of your medical expenses. Coverage for any wage loss benefits resulting from the MVA will be subject to the particular circumstances surrounding your positive drug test and possible termination from employment as a result of this occurrence. If you are terminated as a result of the positive drug test, it is likely that your employer will deny your entitlement to Unemployment Compensation benefits based upon willful misconduct for the intentional violation of a company drug policy. Whether or not you are terminated from your employment, it is best for you to discuss this situation with competent counsel.

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No and no. If your employer has a zero tolerance policy, they may fire you, for cause which means no unemployment benefits but that has nothing to do with your WC claim. Hire an experienced local WC attorney as soon as possible.

If this information has been helpful, please indicate by clicking the up icon. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Links:

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The positive drug test may, as already stated, jeopardize your claim for wage loss benefits. The worker’s comp. carrier will probably use this to cut off benefits, so you better talk to a local worker’s comp. attorney ASAP so that you are proactive instead of reactive.

Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

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Good answers so far. If the MVA caused you injuries & those injuries caused a wage loss, you should get WC benefits (wage loss). Regardless of wage loss, you should also get your medical bills paid. If not, call myself or any of the other WC lawyers here on Avvo. Best of luck to you!

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Because you were rear ended and the drug test occurred two days later, you will likely be entitled to receive WC medical benefits for any injury you sustained as a result of the MVA. A positive drug test can be the basis to deny medical benefits if the drug caused an impairment that led to the work-related injury.

Whether you receive wage loss benefits is another matter that will depend on whether any loss of earnings is related to the MVA or attributable to the positive drug test. If you are terminated because of the positive drug test, I would recommend that you speak with an experienced WC attorney, as there are many factors that can come into play on whether you are entitled to wage loss benefits.

As for UC benefits, a positive drug test generally excludes eligibility for UC benefits. Again, this depends in part on the employer's policies and adherence to those policies. If you are terminated, I would apply for benefits and see what happens. Only when appearing before a UC referee on an appeal will you really need an attorney.

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