Recreational marijuana is now legal here in Minnesota, and while you don’t have carte blanche to use the substance as you please, it will certainly create some challenges in the workers’ compensation industry. For example, it’s not uncommon for employers to request that an individual undergo a drug test if they suffer an on the job injury. If your test shows that you had recreational marijuana in your system, will this automatically nullify your right to injury compensation? We explain what will happen if a drug test shows that you tested positive for marijuana following a work injury.
Will A Positive Drug Test Ruin My Work Comp Claim?
Even though marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in Minnesota, there is a good chance that your employer has stated that employees should not work while they are under the influence of marijuana. However, this doesn’t mean that you are automatically disqualified from filing an injury claim if you are injured on the job and a post-injury drug test reveals that you had marijuana in your system. People get injured violating OSHA standards and company policies all the time, and the presence of marijuana does not automatically make you ineligible for injury compensation. It could lead to repercussions for your employment, but it doesn’t render you automatically ineligible for injury compensation.
Conversely, you are not automatically eligible for injury compensation either. Now that marijuana has been legalized in Minnesota, it is considered on the same level as alcohol in the eyes of workers’ compensation law, meaning it would be subject to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act’s intoxication defense statute. This statute effectively states that the presence of intoxicating substances only renders an individual unable to collect compensation if the employer or their insurance company can prove that the substance was the driving factor in the cause of the injury.
For example, it doesn’t matter if you were high as a kite at your warehouse job when the injury occurred if your intoxication was not the main factor in your injury. If you slipped on a wet tile or a coworker operating a forklift knocked over some shelves that fell and caused your injuries, you would still be entitled to complete compensation. You being under the influence of alcohol or drugs was not the proximate cause of your injuries.
On the flip side, if the other side can prove that your injuries were caused by your altered state of mind, you could see your benefits rightfully denied. The onus is on the employer to prove that your intoxication was the proximate cause of your injuries, not the other way around, but you’ll still want to build a strong case that suggests your intoxication was not the direct cause of your injuries.
The best way to protect your interests and secure the biggest award following a work injury, regardless of whether or not you were under the influence of alcohol or recreational marijuana at the time, is by connecting with a workers’ compensation attorney like Dean Margolis. We’ve helped clients win these types of cases in the past, and we’d be more than happy to go to bat for you if your employer and their insurance company are trying to paint you in a bad light and keep you from getting the compensation you deserve. For more information, or to see if you may have a valid injury claim, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.