Workers who are on prescription medication also have a right to workers compensation, as long as they were taking it based on a doctor’s prescription and not self-medicating.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017 there were 952 cases of overdose death involving opioids in Missouri, leading to a 16.5 rate per 100,000 persons. The national death rate is 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
The opioid crisis has been declared a national public health emergency, and its effects are, unfortunately, also very poignant in the state of Missouri.
Many workers continue with their daily activities while on these prescription drugs. If they get injured at work, Missouri law states they are entitled to workers compensation. But can being on these drugs affect their workers comp claim?
What Does the Law Say?
Drug usage in the workplace tends to focus on employee consumption of illicit drugs such as marijuana or heroin. These substances are explicitly forbidden not just by law, but the employer also has the right to fire an employee if they were found under the influence of these illicit drugs in the workplace.
But, when it comes to prescription medication the matters get slightly complicated. Some of these widely used medications are known to have negative side effects, such as drowsiness or confusion. Those symptoms could potentially increase the chances of a worker making a mistake and being injured.
However, if the worker was on these opioids because a doctor prescribed them, then legally speaking they should be allowed to receive workers compensation for their injuries.
Fault Is Irrelevant
In workers compensation claims, the issue of fault does not come into question. As such, benefits are awarded regardless of who is to blame for the injuries.
If the worker made a mistake, then they are still entitled to compensation. If the employer was negligent, and the worker chooses to file a workers comp claim, then that worker cannot sue their employer for damages.
By this rationale, workers who are on prescription medication also have a right to workers compensation, as long as they were taking it based on a doctor’s prescription and not self-medicating.
However, it’s possible for the insurance company to try and dismiss your claim if you were on medication at the time of the accident. They will most likely bring other details of your medication usage into question:
- Should they have informed their employer?
- Did they respect the doctor’s recommended dosages?
- Did they intentionally act carelessly with the intent of getting workers compensation?
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured on the Job?
If you get injured on the job while on prescription medications, don’t automatically assume you are not eligible for workers compensation. The law only forbids those under the influence of illegal drugs to apply for these benefits.
At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we have been helping injured workers receive the benefits they need and deserve for more than 20 years. Call us today at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online case evaluation form to request a free consultation.