Can You Be Denied Worker’s Compensation for Not Taking Medication?

Many people who receive Worker’s Compensation for injuries that occurred at the workplace are prescribed painkillers to take for the pain resulting from the injury. It is not unusual for someone receiving Worker’s Compensation benefits to be tested for drugs. In fact, a worker’s privileges to compensation may be denied in some circumstances if they have evidenced that they have been using certain drugs. However, in one worker’s case, the company he worked for attempted to deny his wage replacement benefits because there was no evidence of drugs in his system. In this case, the drug test revealed that the worker was not taking the prescribed opiod, Kadian which he was prescribed for back pain due to a workplace accident that occurred over ten years ago.

The worker was required to take urine tests regularly to prove that he was taking the medication. The company argued that the employee was violating the Worker’s Compensation provision against making fraudulent representations for the purposes of receiving the benefits. However, the lower court found that it was unnecessary to penalize the worker because although his testimony was discredited, there was no evidence that he was selling or distributing the unused medication. The company appealed.

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division recently heard the argument and affirmed the lower court’s decision, holding that the worker could continue receiving his compensation benefits and should not be penalized for failure to take the prescribed medication.

To read the decision, click here.

If you have been in an accident at your job that prevents you from working, you may qualify for Worker’s Compensation. The attorneys at McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP have experience representing clients before Workers’ Compensation boards throughout New York City and Long Island, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. For a consultation, call (866)557-7500.

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