Positive drug tests, if properly conducted within the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act’s statutory guidelines, are often a tool used by employers and insurers to deny otherwise legitimate workers’ compensation claims. A positive drug test will create a rebuttable presumption that a worker’s injury is not work related. This presumption can be challenged, but it is an additional hurdle in getting an injured worker the benefits that he or she deserves.
Testing for alcohol, marijuana or a controlled substance must be conducted within 8 hours of the accident. If an injured worker unjustifiably refuses to take a drug or alcohol test, the insurer can legally deny the claim and the burden will be on the injured worker to prove that the test was invalid or that the injury was not caused by intoxication.
A study conducted by Quest Diagnostics found that in 2019, the number of injured workers who tested positive for marijuana rose by 11%. Overall drug tests for marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines hit a 16 year high in 2019. Many stakeholders in the workers’ compensation industry fear that COVID-19 may prove to be an accelerant of this trend.
There are ways that a positive drug test can be disputed in court and an injured worker’s claim can still be found eligible for compensation. To defeat a positive drug test, you need to retain an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to fight for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.