Marijuana And Workers’ Compensation: Everything You Need To Know About How Weed Impacts Your Claim

BY: Koszdin | Saturday, June 23, 2018.

You may have heard stories of workers getting their workers’ compensation claim denied due to the use of marijuana, but did you know that weed could also be used to treat certain on-the-job injuries and illnesses or relieve pain or other effects of medical conditions?

It might sound shocking, but the prescription of marijuana drugs to treat some of the most common workplace illnesses and injuries has gone through the roof since California legalized weed. An increasing number of medical studies indicate that marijuana can help cure and relieve the effects and symptoms of many injuries.

Since the use of marijuana in an injured worker’s treatment is still frowned upon, physicians and doctors prescribe marijuana drugs only when there are solid medical studies supporting the health benefits of marijuana for a particular medical condition, workplace illness or injury.

How marijuana usage can impact your workers’ compensation

“But do not forget that marijuana usage could negatively impact your workers’ compensation claim,” warns our Lancaster workplace illness attorney from the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm. If your employer suspects that you were high on marijuana at the time of the workplace accident, he or she might use the “intoxication defense,” to discredit your claim.

If your employer proves that you were impaired at the time of the accident and that it caused the workplace injury or illness, your workers’ compensation claim will most likely be denied. If you are trying to recover workers’ compensation for a non-physical injury or illness, the employer might argue that the use of marijuana was the work-unrelated source of your mental or emotional illness.

Our workplace illness attorney in Lancaster also warns that if your employer discovers proof of marijuana usage in your medical records or through drug testing, your credibility could be negatively impacted no matter how solid and strong your legal case might seem.

Can my employer order a drug test to deny my Lancaster workers’ compensation claim?

Of course. Every employer in Lancaster and elsewhere in California has a right to order a drug test, especially when the employer suspects the worker to be intoxicated. In many cases, employers order drug tests after workplace accidents to rule out the possibility that the injured worker’s intoxication was to blame for the accident.

Our best workers’ compensation lawyers in Lancaster also warn that drug tests can be ordered by your treating physician before or during the treatment. For those of you wondering, “How long can a drug test detect marijuana?” the answer is, “It depends.” If you did a single episode of smoking weed, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active chemical in cannabis) remains in your system for 2 to 3 days.

If you are a moderate smoker and smoke marijuana regularly, marijuana could be detected for up to 5 days. If you are a chronic smoker, on the other hand, a drug test could detect weed for up to 40 days. If you prefer edibles, the detection period for oral ingestion of marijuana can range from 1 to 5 days.

How marijuana impacts workers’ comp litigation and your credibility

Smoking marijuana is your choice, but weed usage could negatively affect your workers’ compensation litigation and leave you with no compensation whatsoever. During the course of your workers’ comp case, you will be required to meet with a number of people, including but not limited to your Lancaster workplace illness attorney, adjusters, investigators, the employer’s lawyer, physicians, doctors, judges, and many others.

Even if you smoke marijuana once a month, your credibility could be negatively impacted if one of the above-mentioned people thinks that you smell like you have been smoking. That is because marijuana users have a very distinct smell on them and their clothes, and this smell can remain for a long period of time. Similarly, showing up high on marijuana in the courtroom can lead to the cancellation of your case and denial of your claim.

Do not jeopardize your case. Consult with our skilled lawyers at the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm. Call our offices at 818-812-5639 or  800-747-3447 or complete this contact form for a free case evaluation.

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