Why workers’ comp after a failed drug test after a work injury should not automatically disqualify you from collecting Michigan workers’ compensation benefits.
Our clients are routinely drug tested after a workplace injury. This is done to save money on claims that can be denied. We understand why this occurs but take issue with how some injured workers are treated. It is not appropriate to insist on a drug test before emergency medical treatment is provided. Here is some info on your legal rights regarding workers’ comp after a failed drug test in Michigan.
Drug testing is standard procedure for many employers in Michigan and it should not be taken personally. Testing positive for marijuana could be a justification for disputing payment of benefits. However, an employee will not be automatically disqualified unless he or she was intoxicated at the time of injury. This is an important distinction that employers and insurance companies miss. Refusing a workers’ comp drug test is done at your own peril as the fact finder might conclude that you have lied.
Workers’ comp is supposed to pay medical, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation benefits regardless of employee fault. These benefits can be disputed under very limited circumstances. Using marijuana on-the-job is enough reason to deny payment. However, workers’ comp after a failed drug test in Michigan is not the end of collecting benefits. There must be some evidence of intoxication at the time of the workplace accident.
Marijuana is known to stay in the system for days, weeks, or months after use. It should not be assumed that an employee was intoxicated just because he or she failed a drug test. Be cautious of coworkers who say that you were using marijuana on-the-job. Our experience shows that coworkers lie to protect their own jobs. Ultimately, it will be up to the magistrate to decide who is telling the truth and if workers’ comp benefits should be paid.
Employers can also dispute payment of lost wages if they have a strict policy against drug use. This can happen when an employee is fired based upon misconduct. The idea is that a disabled employee is no longer available for light duty work because he or she tested positive for drug use. Employees in Michigan must accept light duty work and getting fired operates like a refusal. It does not matter if an employee has a medical marijuana card or not.
Watch out for employers who unfairly single people out of workers’ comp after a failed drug test in Michigan. We have many cases where coworkers, managers, and even business owners use marijuana. Unless the employer has a strictly enforced anti-drug policy, workers’ comp after a failed drug test in Michigan should not automatically disqualify a disabled employee from receiving lost wages. Speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer if this occurs to ensure legal rights are protected.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.