Does Marijuana Affect Workers’ Comp Claims?
If you have been injured while on the job and a doctor has prescribed medical marijuana as treatment, you should know about the challenges you may face.
While recreational marijuana is still illegal in the state of Florida, lawmakers have made the use of medical marijuana legal. The news about medical marijuana is good for those that are suffering from cancer, chronic pain, or several other conditions that medical marijuana has been found useful in treating. Even though consuming medical marijuana may sound like an easy treatment in the days and weeks following your treatment, doing so could present a problem when filing a claim for workers’ compensation. Currently, insurers providing workers’ comp coverage are more likely to deny these claims than they are to approve them.
Reasonable Treatment and Workers’ Compensation
Under workers’ compensation, injured employees can receive alternate medical care. Insurance companies are not allowed to reject a claim simply because a person is receiving medication or treatment based on the grounds that it is not the conventional treatment. Many injured workers have used this as grounds to appeal after an insurer has denied their workers’ compensation claims. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that these appeals will be successful any time soon in the Sunshine State.
The legality of any type of treatment will always override the necessity of it. Since both recreational and medical marijuana are still considered illegal under state law, it likely will not be considered as reasonable treatment in the weeks, months, or years to come.
Marijuana Use Under Federal Law
Even when a worker is in a state that allows for either medical or recreational marijuana, such as marijuana, insurance companies are still hesitant to provide coverage for any type of the drug. This is because under the federal definition of the law, distribution of marijuana is also illegal. Insurers that provide coverage for it could be seen as distributing the drug, and they could be the subject of federal drug charges.
There have only been a few workers’ compensation cases involving marijuana that have garnered attention across the country. Still, in these, experts have stated that it is highly unlikely that federal or state prosecutors would try to secure a criminal conviction against any insurance company that provided coverage for it. Unfortunately, insurance companies are still hesitant to take the chance that they could face prosecution. Additionally, insurers are notorious for trying to deny, delay, or reduce claims and any form of marijuana use may provide them with the excuse they need.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Tampa Bay Can Help You File Your Claim
Marijuana use is just one issue that could result in a denial of your workers’ compensation claim, but there are others, as well. If you have been injured while at work, our Tampa Bay workers’ compensation lawyers at Rooth Law Firm know how to overcome the challenges these claims present, and will help you recover the fair benefits you need. Call us today at 727-849-3400 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.