The whole purpose of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system is to ensure that employees injured on the job are protected in a number of ways. Specifically, if injured on the job, an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier should pay for the employee’s medical expenses and disability benefits.
In return for providing these types of benefits to employees, the New Jersey legislature has determined that injured employees cannot sue their employers for work-related injuries. In sum, the worker’s comp system is considered “no fault.” This means that an injured worker does not have to prove that the employer was negligent in order to receive benefits.
Because of the way the system is designed, almost all injuries arising out of and in the course of employment are covered – meaning that benefits will be provided. However, not every single injury is covered – even if the injury incurred while the worker was at work and performing job-related duties.
One example of this exception is if you suffer injuries, but then fail a drug test. Here are some things you should know regarding workers’ compensation and failed drug tests.
It’s Not Always No Fault
While the most important question regarding a workers’ comp claim is whether the injury was work-related, other issues must first be resolved before benefits are paid out. Workers’ compensation benefits may be denied if the employee suffered injuries on the job while intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drug use. If tests show the injured employee was on drugs at the time when he or she sustained injuries, the employer may be off the hook for providing benefits.
A Positive Drug Test is Not Always Fatal to Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Employers should have a policy in place regarding drug testing of its employees. And, of course, employers must provide emergency medical attention to injured employees – even if drugs were involved, and regardless of drug test results.
After a work-related injury occurs, drug tests should be administered as soon as practicably possible after the accident. And, they should be administered by the hospital and sent to a reputable laboratory for proper analysis. This does not always happen, and you should know exactly how your drug test was administered.
It is important to note that even if you fail a drug test following a work accident, your employer may still have to demonstrate that the accident was, in fact, related to your use of drugs.
It really all comes down to the specific facts of your case. This is why it is crucial to have competent, experienced legal counsel when seeking workers’ comp benefits in light of a failed drug test.
Contact Us Today
Even if you failed a drug test after sustaining a work-related injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits – regardless of what the insurance company may have you believe. At Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo, we have significant experience representing injured employees who have failed drug tests. However, it is important to seek experienced legal help as soon as possible.
To learn more about compensation and benefits for disabilities, contact us at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo for a free phone consultation.