The employer has to prove that your use of drugs caused the injury in order to deny you workers comp benefits. Find yourself a workers comp lawyer and have a consultation.
Attorney Wolf is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania only. He is Certified as a specialist in the practice of workers' compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Section on Workers' Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. A response from Attorney Wolf cannot constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like to arrange to speak with Attorney Wolf, he can be reached at 610-323-7436.
Even though you failed the drug test, you may still be eligible for Workers Compensation Benefits if the injury occurred while in the course and scope of your employment. Section 201 of the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act precludes Workers Compensation Benefits to an injured worker if the Defendant can establish that your injury was caused by intoxication or reckless indifference to danger. The Burden of Proof lies with the Defendant and they are required to show that but for your alleged intoxication, you would not have sustained your work-related injury. This is a very high burden of proof and should not preclude you from pursuing your Claim.
In light of the intricacies of your case, it is my recommendation that you contact an Attorney who has been Certified as a Specialist in Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Law. The initial consultation will almost certainly be free of charge and most Attorneys will accept your case on a Contingent Fee Basis.
This answer to your legal inquiry is based upon the limited facts stated in your question. Accurate legal advice is based upon an exchange between a lawyer and a client. The lawyer can then ask about other facts that may change or confirm the answer. Without that exchange, this reply should be considered limited in value. You should rely on this answer only at your own risk. Direct consultation with a lawyer is always recommended. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship. The answering attorney is licensed in Pennsylvania and all answers are given pursuant to Pennsylvania law, unless otherwise indicated. If you have further questions regarding your issue, or my answer you may contact me to discuss this issue further by calling 215-496-9607 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You may not be eligible to receive wage replacement benefits from workers compensation due to the failed drug test. If you are losing wages because you were terminated due to your own fault, rather than due to your injury, you are not entitled to wage replacement benefits. While it is theoretically possible to argue that your loss is related to your injury until you can go back to work, all your employer has to do is claim that it would have made modified duty work available to you at no loss of wages.
Your eligibility for medical benefits from workers’ compensation is not affected by your termination. If the employer can prove, however, that your injury was caused by intoxication, then you would not be eligible for benefits.
You should consult with a workers compensation lawyer immediately to determine whether it makes sense to pursue a claim.
This answer to your legal inquiry is based upon the limited facts stated in your question. Accurate legal advice is based upon an exchange between a lawyer and a client. The lawyer can then ask about other facts that may change or confirm the answer. Without that exchange, this reply should be considered limited in value. You should rely on this answer only at your own risk. Direct consultation with a lawyer is always recommended. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship. The answering attorney is licensed in Pennsylvania and all answers are given pursuant to Pennsylvania law, unless otherwise indicated.
I agree that you need to talk to a workers compensation atty. At a minimum you need to be sure that you have filed the state forms necessary to get the claim started. Since each state is different I cant say what that would be there so talk to one of the Pa. attys here to get things started. In most states they have to show that the drug that they tested for had an impact on the injury and that the test if valid. Here I would be asking for the second sample so that it can be tested just to make sure they have one and that the testing was accurate (even if my client told me it would likely be valid)
Your question requires two answers:
1) As Attorney Wolf points out, the insurer would have to prove your injury was caused by drug use to deny the claim successfully. If the carrier is found to be liable, they'd have to pay for your wage loss and related medical bills.
2) HOWEVER, as Attorney McGraw points out, your right to wage loss benefits might be severely limited. If you are terminated because of the test failure, and the employer can convince a judge that they'd take you back within your limitations, that judge could stop or even deny your right to wage loss benefits.
I do agree with everyone here. You need a lawyer.
The answer to this question is based on Pennsylvania Law only. Workers' Compensation statutes and case law vary from state to state.
If the reason you are losing wages is not the injury (but, for example, the failed drug test), then you may only be entitled to workers' compensation benefits for a limited period of time (for example, the period when you were disabled from any work, if such a period exists). There are many different aspects to a case like this, and each case depends on the exact facts involved. As suggested above, you really need to meet with an experienced workers' comp attorney to see what rights you have, given your specific facts.
Brilliant & Neiman LLC