Does Workers' Comp Require A Drug Test?

Does Workers' Comp Require A Drug Test?


Workers' compensation does require a drug test. Drug testing at workplaces has become customary in these times. When a critical issue like an accident or workplace injury occurs, it becomes the responsibility of the employer to conduct a drug test before offering workers' compensation.

Unlike other forms of workplace drug testing like pre-employment, this test will have strict vigilance because of its criticalness. When an industrial accident occurs, two types of drug testing occur. One test is done immediately after the accident, and the other is part of industrial treatment.

Drug testing is not confined to specific job sectors like before. Every job requires drug testing as the employers prefer running a disciplined work ambiance. In the present business scenario, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and startups believe that "a successful firm is determined by the discipline and the smartness of the employees rather than the talented alone."

Through this blog, we will explore Workers' Compensation and the significance of their drug test.

worker require drug test

Table of Contents

What Is Workers' Comp?

Workers' compensation is an offset fund provided by the company for the employees who are injured or sustained any disability at the workplace. The United States government assigns this fund. It is a kind of insurance presented to employees who suffered work-related injuries. Workers' comp is a layer of protection for both the workers and the employers. For workers, this is medical coverage for injuries that happened in the work environment. For employers, this is an escape from the negligence lawsuit.

You should note that the workers' comp covers the medical fees only if the damage occurred during working hours at the working place. For instance, if a construction worker suffered an accident because the scaffolding fell on his head, then the compensation covers his medical charges. But if the worker gets wounded or impaired on the road while traveling outside of work, this would not apply. If the accident resulted in an unexpected death of an employee, then the employee's family gets the compensation benefits.

Workers' compensation should not be linked with unemployment insurance or disability insurance because the former covers the injuries within the work premises; the latter covers the medical fees outside the work area.

Workers' comp has certain eligibility criteria that need to be fulfilled other than just getting injured or wounded in the working premises.

Who Is Eligible For Workers' Comp?

If you are an employee and carry workers' comp insurance and sustained a work-related injury, then you are eligible to get workers' compensation. Make sure that you meet the state's deadlines while reporting the trauma and filing the claim.

An employer cannot approve workers' compensation to the employee or a group of employees without a legitimate reason. For instance, if a group of employees gets into mishandling and gets crippled within the work premises and claims workers' compensation, the employer cannot approve them. An employee needs to satisfy the eligibility criteria to get the workers' compensation. The eligibility and the deadlines-based laws and regulations vary from one state to another. So, the worker needs to clarify the laws before applying for workers' compensation. To do so, one should know about the procedures involving Workers' Compensation.

How Does Workers' Comp Work?

Workers' compensation covers the cost of injuries, illnesses, and lost wages by the employee during the employment period or in the work environment. This compensation does not involve freelancers or sole proprietors. If they are injured during a workplace accident, they will get partial income coverage to support their medical expenses. As per the time constraints, the time to process the compensation will differ from one state to another based on the laws and procedures. On average, it would take about two to three weeks to process the compensation for the affected employee.

The working process involves the below steps for the employee to claim workers' comp:

  1. Should take the injured employee to a healthcare professional immediately after the trauma. The professional should examine and evaluate the injured employee and give a medical report to file for the employees' injury.
  2. Produce the medical report and the necessary document for the claims and contact details of the business' insurance company.
  3. Once the insurance provider approves the claim, they would send coverage for medical expenses and rehabilitation work and two-thirds of wages (if the employee is unable to work).
  4. To get the workers' comp benefits, the employee should accept the employer's insurance scheme rather than accepting any insurance company's schemes.

Why Drug Testing After A Work Accident Is Important?

Drug testing post-accident is done to determine if the trauma occurred due to the intoxication of the worker. According to the Labor Code section 5705, with the help of a drug test, the employer can prove that the accident happened due to drug abuse. Despite it comes out positive, the insurance body cannot decide on the side of the employer. They would do two forms of drug testing and will take appropriate disciplinary action based on the results.

Drug tests immediately after the accident would help identify whether the employee has taken drugs during the accident. It cannot determine drug abuse. The tester would again test the employee during the industrial treatment.

How Does It Differ From Industrial Treatment Drug Testing?

There may or may not be any difference in the results. Based on the medical professional's intuition that the employee might have been under the influence of drugs, it becomes a defense for the employer to neglect workers' comp from going into the wrong hands. If the immediate drug test results in false positive or negative, it is the industrial treatment drug test to confirm the drug presence. Generally, a urine test is recommended for employee drug testing.

Will You Be Eligible For Workers' Comp If You Fail A Drug Test?

Drug testing is one of the factors considered for Workers' Compensation. Even if you failed the drug test, workers' compensation benefits should still be paid to you by your employer and insurance company if there is a legitimate reason for the work-related injury. In short, unless drug consumption is not a factor in the accident, it will not be a deterrent for the workers' compensation claim.

Final Words

Workers' comp is a humanitarian-based remuneration given to the employee during industrial accidents and workplace injury. Drug testing is one of the impeccable factors determining drug consumption as a source of the accident or injury. It ensures employee cleanliness and prevents the employer's money from reaching the wrong hands.

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