If you get hurt on the job badly enough to need medical care or time off of work in Pennsylvania, you will typically file a workers’ compensation claim. Even if you have health insurance or private short-term disability coverage, workers’ compensation benefits are often important to limiting the financial impact of a job injury.
Workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault system that guarantees coverage for injured or sick and workers as long as their employer has an active policy. Even if you played a direct role in the situation that leads to you getting hurt, you can still get benefits. You don’t have an obligation to show fault on the part of your employer either.
While most every worker can qualify for benefits when they need them, there is one mistake you might make that would immediately end your right to workers’ compensation.
Chemical impairment on the job precludes you from workers’ compensation benefits
The only real limit on your right to workers’ compensation is when you violate the law. Showing up to your job while under the influence of alcohol, while misusing prescription medication or while impaired by illegal drugs could lead to a mistake.
If you get hurt while you are chemically impaired, your right to compensation could be at risk. Although state law does not mandate drug testing for workers’ compensation claims, it is standard practice for many companies and insurance providers to demand a drug test as soon as possible after a workplace injury.
Anyone who fails that chemical test could find their claim denied and might even be at risk of losing their job.
Knowing how the system works can help you navigate it
The better you understand the limitations and restrictions placed on workers’ compensation insurance benefits, the easier it will be for you to get the support you need when you get sick or become injured because of your career.
Many people will find that they benefit from getting professional help with their initial application, while others may need help appealing a denial of their benefits. Good support with a workers’ compensation claim can allow you to focus on getting better and getting back to work instead of on paperwork and stressful negotiations.