Health Care

Will A Positive Drug Test Deny Your Benefits In North Carolina?

Drug Test
Cardinal Law Partners October 30, 2019

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act allows for medical and disability compensation if workers were injured from workplace accidents. It is common for employers to send their injured workers to designated medical facilities soon after the worker reports the workplace accident. In most cases, the employer will request that the medical facility administers a drug test to determine whether illegal drugs or alcohol contributed to the workplace accident.

The North Carolina statute that addresses failed drug tests in North Carolina is General Statute §97-12.

Cardinal Law Partners has represented injured workers where drug test results have affected their rights to workers’ compensation benefits. If you have a claim where the result of a drug test might have affect your claim, call experienced attorneys from Cardinal Law Partners right away.

Do Failed Drug Tests Take Away All Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act does not prevent injured workers from receiving benefits if they fail a drug test. The Workers’ Compensation Act, however, gives employers in North Carolina a presumption that the injured worker was intoxicated at the time of their injury if they do fail a drug test. Employers and their insurance companies often use this presumption to deny workers’ compensation claims.

In truth, more is needed for an employer or their insurance company to use a failed drug test to deny a workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ compensation carrier must show that the injured worker was intoxicated at the time of the injury and that the intoxication caused the workplace injury. Intoxication is typically defined as the injured worker consuming enough drugs or alcohol that they lose control of their normal mental or bodily functions.

How Does an Injured Worker Rebut the Presumption Of Intoxication?

Since employers and their workers’ compensation carriers need to show that the injured worker was intoxicated and that the intoxication caused the accident, there are several ways for the injured worker to receive his or her benefits.

  • Firstly, the injured worker can rebut the presumption of intoxication after a failed drug test by providing evidence that they were not intoxicated. Evidence that they saw a medical provider soon after the injury and the medical provider noted nothing unusual about the injured worker with respect to intoxication is a powerful piece of evidence. In addition, the injured worker can show that the co-workers or even supervisors worked with them earlier in the workday and did not report anything unusual about their behavior.
  • Secondly, even if intoxication is presumed and cannot be rebutted, the employer and insurance carrier must show that the intoxication caused the accident. Clearly, if the injured worker drove a work vehicle off the road, then intoxication likely contributed to the accident. If a machine that the injured worker was operating, however, broke down through no fault of the injured worker and caused the injury, then the intoxication had nothing to do with the injury. In the above-mentioned circumstances, the injured worker stands a chance of negating the bad effects of a positive drug test.

Contact Cardinal Law Partners for Assistance in Positive Drug Tests

Lawyers at Cardinal Law Partners have over 50 years of combined experience representing injured workers in all aspects of their workers’ compensation claims. Call us today at 833-444-4257 to schedule a free consultation with us.