If you have tested positive for drug use in Florida, you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits. Here is what you need to know.
In Florida, most employers are required by law to provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees. These benefits offer coverage for medical expenses and wage replacement in the event that an employee is injured while working. While workers’ compensation benefits are “no-fault” benefits, which means that the employee neither has to prove fault nor will be denied coverage if he or she contributed to causing the accident, there is an exception to this: If an employee tests positive for drugs, then his or her claim for workers’ compensation can be denied.
Workers’ Compensation and Drug Use in Florida
In most cases, an employee will be allowed to recover benefits without having to prove fault of any other party, as well as without having to prove that their own fault was not the cause of the accident. If an employee is suspected of drug use, the employer can require a drug test “if the employer has reason to suspect that the injury was caused primarily by the use” of a drug. If the drug test is issued and the employee tests positive for the drug, then the positive test will serve as a presumption that the injury was indeed primarily caused by the use of the drug.
An Employee’s Rights After a Positive Drug Test in a Workers’ Compensation Case
If an employee is asked to take a drug test after a workplace accident and tests positive for drugs, they can rebut the presumption described above. In order to do so, the employee will need to present evidence showing that an external cause (not related to and independent of their use of drugs) was the cause of the accident. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the employee may also need to present evidence showing that the drug in their system was a residual of recent usage, but not usage directly before the accident occurred (i..e in the event of marijuana use, a drug that can stay in the system for up to one month after use).
Do I Have to Take a Drug Test?
If an employer maintains a drug-free workplace program in place, the employer can test an employee if there is a reasonable suspicion of drug use, if the employee returns to work following rehab for a positive drug test, or if the testing is part of a fitness-for-duty medical exam and is routinely scheduled as such. If an employer adopts a drug-free workplace program, they can be eligible for workers’ compensation premium discounts under Florida law, and are therefore incentivized to do so.
It is Important to Work with an Attorney
If you have been denied workers’ compensation insurance due to a positive drug test in Florida, you should hire an attorney immediately who can defend your case and help you to recover the benefits that you deserve. At the law office of Rooth Law Firm, P.A., our experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyers care about you. For a free consultation, connect with our team today.