An injured worker may lose their rights to workers compensation under certain circumstances, such as drug, alcohol and safety violations.
Anyone who gets injured or becomes ill at the workplace can claim benefits under workers compensation. An injured employee can seek medical benefits, wage loss benefits, and permanent disability benefits under the Missouri workers compensation system. The worker is entitled to benefits irrespective of the type or severity of their injuries. However, the injured worker may lose their right to workers compensation under these circumstances:
• If the injured worker violated the company’s safety policy in relation to the injury.
• If the worker was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the injury.
Section 287.120 of Missouri law says:
“Where the injury is caused by the failure of the employee to use safety devices, or from the employee’s failure to obey any reasonable rule adopted by the employer for the safety of employees, the compensation and death benefit provided for herein shall be reduced at least twenty-five but not more than fifty percent.”
However, the law also states that in such a case, the employer will have to prove that the injured worker had knowledge of the safety policy adopted by the employer, and that the employer had made reasonable efforts to educate the employees on the use of safety devices and to follow the safety policy adopted by the employer to ensure the safety of workers.
Missouri workers compensation lawyers illustrate the point like this. If an injured worker was not wearing his eye gear at the time he sustained the injury, and the injury could have been prevented had he worn the safety gear, the workers compensation benefits including permanent partial benefits and temporary total benefits can be reduced by 25-50%.
Drug and Alcohol Violations
“Where the employee fails to obey any rule or policy adopted by the employer relating to a drug-free workplace or the use of alcohol or nonprescribed controlled drugs in the workplace, the compensation and death benefit provided for herein shall be reduced fifty percent if the injury was sustained in conjunction with the use of alcohol or non-prescribed controlled drugs.”
The law further states that if use of non-prescribed drugs or alcohol in violation of the company policy is found to be the proximate cause of the employee’s injury, the benefits under workers compensation, including disability and death benefits, shall be forfeited. For instance, if an injured worker is due to receive a $10,000 as a settlement for permanent partial disability and the insurance company is able to prove that the employee violated the company policy against alcohol or drug use, the settlement amount may be reduced to just $5,000.
If you were injured at the workplace, and your case has been complicated by a drug, alcohol, or safety violation, call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 to discuss your legal rights.