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Will My North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits Be Denied If I Fail a Post-Injury Drug Test?

April 29 , 2023

Will Our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits Be Denied If We Fail a Post-Injury Drug Test?

Our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys at the Ramsay Law Firm, P.A. know that most North Carolina employers have a policy requiring drug testing after an on-the-job injury occurs.

If your North Carolina employer has an injury-related drug testing policy in place, you must either take the test or risk losing your job for violating company policy. If there is no policy, refusing to take the test — or taking one that results in a positive test — is not always a valid basis for denying a workers’ compensation claim.

A simple drug screen, showing only the presence of a drug, is not sufficient to show that an employee was actually impaired. If an employer can prove that an employee was impaired by drugs when the accident occurred, and the impairment contributed to the accident, then the benefits denial may stand.

These circumstances must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Here is what injured workers need to know.

What Does the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act Say About Drug Tests?

Unsafe Workplaces Law

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act does not prevent injured workers from receiving benefits if they fail a drug test.

However, it does give North Carolina employers a presumption that the injured worker was intoxicated at the time of their injury if they do fail a drug test.

The Act’s statute §97-12 states: Use of intoxicant or controlled substance; willful neglect; willful disobedience of statutory duty, safety regulation or rule.

No compensation shall be payable if the injury or

  • His intoxication, provided the intoxicant was not supplied by the employer or his agent in a supervisory capacity to the employee; or
  • His being under the influence of any controlled substance listed in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, G.S. §90-86, et seq., where such controlled substance was not by prescription by a practitioner; or
  • His willful intention to injure or kill himself or another.

Our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys know that after a work injury occurs, access to medical care and wage replacement benefits are important to your livelihood, If we can prove that you were prescribed the medication that appeared on your drug test, or that the test was inaccurate, you may have a successful reason to appeal your denial.

Again, failed drug tests resulting in denied workers’ compensation benefits must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. We can help.

Contact Our Skilled Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina

Our dedicated Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm provides free consultations to all employees who have suffered a workplace injury in North Carolina by calling 704-376-1616 or contacting us online.

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