An employee was injured on the job and received workers’ comp. However, his employer appealed the decision because urine tests showed he’d been using an illegal drug before the incident.
Michael Adkins slipped on a patch of ice in a freezer at work. He applied for workers’ comp and received payments.
His employer contested the award. Adkins admitted smoking pot three days before the incident.
At trial, a doctor testified that the drug test report showed Adkins’ physical or mental faculties were altered at the time of the accident.
Texas state law says if an employee is under the influence at the time of a workplace accident, the company doesn’t have to pay comp.
However, Adkins tried to say he wasn’t high at the time of the accident and presented two co-workers as witnesses, who said he didn’t appear impaired that day at work.
State law doesn’t specify a level of illegal drug use at which a person is considered under the influence. It doesn’t work the same as blood-alcohol level after a car crash.
Who won the case?
Answer: The company won. It didn’t have to pay Adkins’ workers’ comp because he was under the influence of a controlled substance when he sustained the injuries.
The court put more weight on the doctor’s testimony than that of Adkins’ co-workers.
Analysis: Demand drug tests after injuries
While no two states’ workers’ comp laws are exactly the same, many withhold payments when an employee is injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
That’s why it’s crucial to have employees drug-tested after workplace injuries. The results won’t just affect comp. They’ll also affect the decision on the employee’s future at your company.
(Adkins v. Texas Mutual Insurance Co.) To see court documents related to this case, click here.