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Intoxication and Workers’ Compensation Denials

Often, an employer will assert that it should not have to pay Georgia workers’ compensation benefits because an injury occurred as a result of the injured worker’s willful misconduct.  Our previous blog posts in this series have provided an overview of the willful misconduct defense and discussed the specific defense of failure to use a safety appliance.  In this blog, we will discuss a third type of willful misconduct – intoxication.

Drug and Alcohol Testing After a Work Injury

Whenever a work injury occurs in Georgia, most employers will send you to a medical clinic for evaluation and treatment.  The medical staff will almost always perform drug and alcohol testing.  This is done because the law in Georgia allows employers to deny benefits when they can prove you are intoxicated.  In fact, it is important for you to know that the refusal to submit to a drug test can create a presumption that a work injury was caused by your drug or alcohol use.  So, if you do not take the test when asked, you may have to prove that you were not intoxicated.

Proving an Intoxication Defense

If you take the test and the results show drugs or alcohol in your system, it may create a presumption that your injury was caused by alcohol or drug use.  However, the employer has to meet some specific requirements to establish this presumption.  First, the testing must actually done within a certain time of the accident occurring.  Second, the test must show an alcohol level above .08 or the presence of marijuana or another improperly used controlled substance.

Proving Intoxication Did Not Cause Your Work Injury

What happens if the presumption is established? It is important to understand that this presumption is “rebuttable”.  That means that it is not the end of your case.  You can have a hearing with a Georgia workers’ compensation judge to determine if your injury actually was caused by drug or alcohol use.   If you hire an attorney and request a hearing, your employer will have the burden of proving its defense in court.

How An Attorney Can Help

Often, an attorney can help you prove that there was not drugs or alcohol in your system or that they did not cause your injury. You can get a free consultation with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys by calling the phone number or completing the “Need Help” form on the right of this page.  Also, be on the lookout for our next blog post in this series where we discuss affirmative defenses associated with injuries arising from the attempt to injure yourself or others.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

Brittney-lee orourkeBrittney-lee orourke
05:23 18 Feb 22
Amazing! Jason and his team were very helpful and had the best communication by far. Walked me though every step with great detail and had answers for any question I had. They handled my case better then I could imagine, it was a weird case and they stayed on top of it and kept me updated every step of the way! Highly recommend this Team! Thanks so much to Jason and his Awesome team!-Brittney
China JonesChina Jones
18:58 08 Feb 22
I absolutely love this group of attorneys, when I was at my lowest they did everything they could to help me get justice for my injury. I believe if I were to have never picked my phone up and called the amazing group that helped me I definitely would not have received my idea of rights. If you have an issue and are just not sure please understand that they will help you, stay in contact, answer any question you have, and for sure get you the justice you deserve I thank them from the bottom of my heart and I will definitely refer them to anyone who has been hurt because they most definitely care about their work and clients.
Luv LocsLuv Locs
16:08 15 Jan 22
The entire law office was attentive and responsive to all of my concerns dealing with my workers compensation case.
21:14 02 Jan 22
If you must get a lawyer involved, you’d do well to work with Jason Perkins and his team at Perkins Studdard Law.They were thorough in gathering information and in sharing all the steps in the workers comp process specific to my case. Jason and the team were responsive to my bevy of questions and concerns.I appreciated the informative videos and consultations provided by Jason over video meetings and multiple phone calls.I hope I’m never injured on the job again. However, if I am and if my employer responds as my previous employer did, I’ll contact Perkins Studdard Law immediately to handle the case.
Dana BessDana Bess
23:57 10 Dec 21
Everyone at Perkins Studdard was kind and professional. They were always extremely responsive and answered all questions that I had and followed up to make sure I had an understanding of what was going on along with emailing videos to explain every step of my case so I would know what to expect and be prepared. Jason is a very genuine person and I trusted him with my case. He answered so many questions for me even before I retained him as my WC lawyer. I highly recommend him and his associates at Perkins Studdard.

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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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