You shouldn’t. But it’s the law. We don’t like it either but there’s nothing really to be done about it. Without condoning the use of illegal drugs or what is more of an issue – the use of prescription medicine which was not prescribed for you – we don’t see what the relationship is between what happened at a party two weeks ago and how your co-worker drove a forklift into you yesterday. Obviously if you were injured because you were drunk or stoned you’re not going to get benefits and your employer shouldn’t have to pay them. But the mere presence of a drug in your system without a shred of evidence of when you ingested it? That’s a bit much.
We’ve seen cases where an adjuster denied claims when an injured worker took his wife’s painkiller while waiting for an initial doctor’s visit. Why? Because he failed the drug test. Although just about everyone does it… it’s illegal to take a prescription medicine unless it was written specifically for you. In fact within the last hour that I wrote this my father-in-law took a Cipro, which was prescribed to my wife. This isn’t exactly what the war on drugs was supposed to lead us to.
Just because you’ve partied a bit in the past doesn’t mean you shouldn’t file a claim if you were legitimately hurt. But it does give the adjuster some room if she’s inclined to deny your claim for strategic reasons. We’ll need to establish that there was no link between whatever was in your system and what happened on the job.