Intoxication can negatively affect eligibility for workers’ compensation in Georgia, but only if you were intoxicated at the time of your accident and if intoxication caused your injury. If you were given drug tests at the doctor’s office or hospital after your work injury and your workers’ compensation claim is denied on the basis of intoxication, it’s crucial to call a lawyer immediately to begin working on your defense.
Georgia Workers’ Comp Claims & Intoxication
O.C.G.A. 34-9-17(b) provides the following: “No compensation shall be allowed for an injury or death due to intoxication by alcohol or being under the influence of marijuana or a controlled substance…”
Notice the phrase “due to.” In other words, there must be proof that intoxication caused your injury. Furthermore, the law stipulates that the burden of proof will be upon the employer/insurer; their attorneys will have to prove that 1) you were intoxicated at the time of the accident, and 2) the substances were the direct cause of your injury.
Defenses for Claims Denied Due to Intoxication
There are a couple of types of defenses commonly used in intoxication-related claim denials.
- Lack of causation – One of the defenses your attorney may use is that the injury did not occur because you were intoxicated, i.e., it would have occurred anyway, despite intoxication. For instance, if you had a trace amount of cocaine in your system from the weekend prior to your accident and you slipped and injured your back at work, your attorney can argue (and rightfully so) that the drugs had absolutely no bearing on your accident. Expert testimonies and coworker testimonies all can vouch for this.
- Faulty testing – Another line of defense is to attack the veracity of the drug testing itself. Your attorney may argue that there were administration errors in the testing, that the sample wasn’t labeled or stored correctly, or that the sample was tampered with. He or she also may argue that just because drugs showed up on the test (which may have been taken hours after your injury) doesn’t mean those drugs were in your system at the time of the accident.
Accused of intoxication? Bader Law Firm, LLC, Can Help
If your claim has been wrongly denied on the basis of intoxication, we encourage you to call our work injury attorneys at Bader Law Firm, LLC, in Atlanta. You can call us for a free confidential consultation so that we can review your case and start discussing how to approach your claim.
Don’t miss out on the benefits to which you’re entitled. Call us today at 678-562-5595.