Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation protects employees who sustain injuries at work. The law creates a system that pays benefits for work injury claims regardless of the cause of the accident. However, certain circumstances could invalidate a Workers’ Compensation claim. The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, in Tulsa, examines drug testing and Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Basics
The law in Oklahoma essentially creates a “no-fault” system for Workers’ Compensation claims. Employees do not need to prove negligence by the employer to get benefits. Also, employees get benefits even if their negligence or a mistake caused the accident or if no one caused it. The coverage protects the worker by providing the following:
- Medical care for work-related injuries or illnesses
- Payments for wages lost as a result of work-related injuries or illnesses
- Replacement for lost wages through temporary total disability (TTD)
- Compensation for permanent disabilities (with limitations)
- Death benefits for the families of workers who died due to a work-related injury
- Vocational retraining and/or job placement for workers who are unable to return to their prior occupation
An Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Lawyer from the Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, can explain more about the benefits you are entitled to receive in a confidential consultation.
Can My Employer Require Drug Testing After a Work Accident?
The Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act includes the following provisions:
“A public or private employer may require an employee to undergo drug or alcohol testing if the employee or another person has sustained an injury while at work or property has been damaged while at work, including damage to equipment. For purposes of Workers’ Compensation, no employee who tests positive for the presence of substances defined and consumed pursuant to Section 465.20 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, alcohol, illegal drugs, or illegally used chemicals, or refuses to take a drug or alcohol test required by the employer, shall be eligible for such compensation.” (§40-554 Section 3 -Post-Accident Testing)
This law makes it clear that if your employer requests drug testing after you suffer an accident at work, you must comply to be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Any refusal cancels your right to receive benefits. Also, if the drug test reveals a positive result, you may be denied benefits.
Fighting a Positive Drug Test Result in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law presumes a work accident was caused by intoxication if a positive drug test result is obtained within 24 hours. However, you could still receive Workers’ Compensation benefits if you prove that the intoxication was unrelated to the accident. An Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney can help you gather evidence to prove this and reinstate any voided benefits.
Here’s how the process would work:
- A positive drug test causes your denial of benefits.
- Your attorney files for a case review before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
- Your attorney presents clear and convincing evidence to the ALJ that your accident and any intoxication were unrelated. Some evidence that can meet this standard includes:
- Witness testimony affirming no signs of intoxication
- Medical records of another test soon after the accident (a negative result)
- Ambiguities with the original drug test results (results were barely over the limit)
- The circumstances of the accident do not connect with being intoxicated (something fell on you; intoxication doesn’t matter)
- If the evidence provided clearly indicates that your work accident did not result from intoxication, the ALJ could reverse the previous denial and order that you receive benefits.
Get Help with a Work-Related Accident Claim in Oklahoma
If you have been injured in an accident at work and your employer requests a drug test, submit to the test and then call The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, in Tulsa. We can review your claim and advise you on your rights and options. Drugs or alcohol present in your system do not necessarily mean intoxication. For example, a few drinks the night before may still be detected in drug testing, but that is not the same as a drink on your lunch break.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers can help you with conflicting or positive drug test results and other issues with your claim. Call (918) 582-2500 or complete the contact form online today to request a free consultation. Because the most effective drug test is obtained within 24 hours after an accident, time is short. Call now.