The Impact Of Substance Abuse On Workers Compensation Claims
Substance abuse in the workplace is an issue that is often not talked about enough.
In addition, regular substance abuse in the workplace can lead to lost productivity, decreased quality of work, and high turnover.
But when it comes to filing a workers compensation claim, you need to be aware of how substance abuse can impact your claim.
In most cases, your workers compensation coverage will either be denied or suspended if OSHA learns that you were under the influence of drugs at the time of a work injury or accident.
More importantly, your life can change forever and now you won’t have benefits that you can rely on when you’re injured.
But how exactly does substance abuse make an impact on your workers compensation claim? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
Understanding Substance Abuse In The Workplace
As stated from John Hopkins Medicine, substance abuse is a pattern of using a drug that can cause significant problems and distress. Some signs of substance abuse dependence include:
- Needing An Increased Amount of a Drug Regularly
- Withdrawal Symptoms That Continue To Happen
- Lack of Motivation To Attend Social Activities
With these symptoms to keep in mind, some of the industries with the highest substance abuse include restaurant and hospitality workers, lawyers, and entertainment professionals.
Often, people who enter these professions may enter extreme amounts of stress, long hours, and even rapidly declining mental health in the process.
And usually, all substances are usually alcohol, drugs, and prescription medications.
The Link Between Substance Abuse & Workplace Accidents
According to the US Department of Labor, substance abuse contributes to 65% of on-the-job accidents, as people who use substances are 3.6 times more likely to have an accident on a work site.
With these accidents happening, it’s important to recognize how important it is to recognize how much these accidents can impact company operations.
The negligence of one individual can not only cause damage to company property, but also to project timelines that may happen or even having to get OSHA involved in a potential workers compensation claim.
Legal Implications & Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
In the workers compensation system, being caught with substances at the time of an accident can either decrease or remove your benefits altogether.
Most construction sites or places where there is a high risk of accidents usually require drug tests to prove that their employees are sober on the job.
In most cases, a failed drug test means a loss of workers compensation. However, it also does not mean that your claim will be denied all together, but a dramatic loss in benefits will likely happen.
You have a few choices. You can either try to appeal your claim on your own, but with the complex workers compensation laws in each state, it can seem impossible to navigate it on your own.
If you’re in a highly complex situation, it could be of your interest to get in touch with an experienced Washington D.C. lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation claims.
An attorney that is knowledgeable in the specific laws and statutes that surround your city can help you protect your rights and fight for the compensation and justice that you deserve. You don’t need to navigate the workers compensation system on your own.
In addition, most workers compensation attorneys work on what is called a contingency-fee basis. Meaning that if they don’t win your case, you don’t pay.
How To Address Substance Abuse In The Workplace
Substance abuse is a highly complex problem that can plague people for generations to come. When it comes to addressing something such as substance abuse, there are a number of ways employers can address it. Here’s some practical methods to use today:
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
- Management Consultations With Struggling Employees
- Rehabilitative Measures such as Alcoholics Anonymous
When employers choose to address these issues, they can promote better long-term wellbeing for their employees, while also helping themselves at the same time.
Substance Abuse Leaves A Tremendous Impact
In summary, substance abuse can leave a tremendous impact on how workers compensation claims work. It can potentially make your claim denied or even revoked to begin with.
Based upon how much of an impact substance abuse can have on a workers comp claim, it’s important to remember the legal implications of substance abuse and how to address it at a high level.
Remember, that if you are an employer, it is up to you to make a safe workplace while also promoting employee wellness at the same time.