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Your employer may require you to take a drug & alcohol test immediately following a work-related accident as a condition of receiving Workers Compensation medical and disability benefits. If you refuse to take the test, the Court will presume that you were intoxicated.

Your employer and their medical representatives are required to ensure that you are given a valid test and that "chain of custody" rules are followed for handling the blood or urine sample.
If a test detects the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system and you believe that the results of the test are incorrect, you have the right to be re-tested immediately at your own expense.
You may not be allowed to recover benefits if your injury resulted from your own intoxication or drug use. If the test determines that you had alcohol or unauthorized/illegal drugs in your system at the time of your injury, the Court will presume that it was your intoxication that caused your injury and you may not be allowed to receive Workers' Compensation benefits. It will be up to you to convince the Judge that your alcohol or drug use was not a cause of the accident.

For example, if you tested positive for alcohol or drugs after you were injured in an automobile accident in which you were driving a company vehicle during work-hours, there will be a presumption that your intoxication contributed to your injury. It will be up to you to convince the Judge that the fact that you were intoxicated while driving was not a factor in causing the accident. This is not a good place to be in.

Conversely, if you tested positive for alcohol or drugs after you were injured in an automobile in which you were riding as a passenger in a company vehicle during work-hours, there is still a legal presumption that your intoxication contributed to your injuries. But you may be able to overcome this presumption if you are able to show that you would have sustained the same injuries in the same way even if you were not intoxicated, and that your intoxication was not a cause of the accident.

It's important to be aware that your income benefits may be terminated and your claim for Supplemental Earning Benefits may be denied if you fail a return-to-work drug screen. This rule does not apply to just illegal drugs. You can lose your right to Supplemental Earnings Benefits if you test positive for prescription pain medication that was never prescribed to you.

The Louisiana Workers Compensation Act states:

When an injured employee has been released to return to work with or without restrictions, and the employer maintains an established written and promulgated substance abuse policy which requires employer-administered drug testing prior to employment or return to work, upon the employee's failure to meet the requirements of such employer's established policy and inability to qualify for the position for that reason, the obligation for all benefits pursuant to this Chapter, with the sole exception of the obligation to provide reasonable and necessary medical treatment, shall be terminated and the employee shall be subject to the terms and conditions established in the employer's promulgated drug testing policy and program.  The provisions of this Subparagraph shall not apply to prescription medication prescribed for the employee in the dosages so prescribed by a physician.

Next: Travel Expenses and Prescription Medication Expenses       


David Buie, Louisiana Workers Compensation Attorney and Social Security Disability Attorney, 650 Poydras Street, Suite 1400, New Orleans, LA 70131, (800) 851-9405 / Fax: (866) 702-5297 Representing claimants in:
Alexandria Baton Rouge Bossier City Covington Gretna
Hammond Harahan Harvey Houma Kenner Lafayette Lake Charles
Laplace Marrero Metairie Monroe New Iberia New Orleans
Opelousas Ruston Shreveport Slidell Terrytown

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