Workers’ comp and weed: Can I still claim if I tested positive for marijuana?

workers comp and weed

If you tested positive for marijuana after being injured at work, your employer may try to convince you that you’re ineligible for compensation.

But testing positive just means you consumed the substance at some point in previous weeks, not that you were “high” at the time of your injury. If your attorney can prove that you weren’t high when the injury occurred, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries thanks to Illinois’ legalization laws.

Workers’ compensation attorneys from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates are standing by to review your case. Call (800) 985-1819 to discuss your options, but in the meantime, keep reading to learn about workers’ comp and weed in Illinois.

Major Changes to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

There have been significant changes to Illinois Law under 820 ILCS 305/11, which details the obligations of an employer in terms of on-the-job injuries and workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Now, the Burden of Proof Falls On the Employee

“Burden of proof” is a requirement to produce evidence in support of your position. Burden of proof prevents people from being wrongfully charged or accused of something they didn’t do. 

In criminal cases, the government has the burden of proof, and must produce evidence that a person committed a crime. When it comes to injuries on the job, the burden of proof shifts, meaning the employee must provide proof in support of their “innocence,” or lack of liability.

So, if you were injured at work and tested positive for marijuana, you’ll need to prove that your marijuana use (or potential impairment from thar use) was not the cause of your accident or injury.

“Proximate Cause” as a Possible Defense

For a party to be legally responsible for the injuries that came about as a result of an accident they caused, they must have been the “proximate cause” of the injury. 

Proximate cause is the actual or primary cause of an injury. It’s legally sufficient to support the other party’s liability and can be put to work in your favor. For instance, your attorney may argue that having tested positive for marijuana was not the actual cause of injury, and is not legally sufficient to deny your workers’ compensation claims under Illinois law.

Additionally, the concept of “sole proximate cause” can be employed, which explains that the evidence shows that the conduct of a third party caused the injury.

Burden of proof can be difficult to explain in a way that is legally enforceable if you do not have experience with similar cases. That’s why you need an experienced attorney to handle your claim.

Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help You Get What You Deserve

Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates supports workers’ best interests, and our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys are here to assist on your case. 

If you’ve been injured on the job and are having difficulty collecting the benefits you deserve because of a positive marijuana test, you could have a claim. We’ll provide a free assessment of your case, and if you have a claim, we’ll handle it every step of the way, from collecting evidence to receiving compensation.

To receive your risk-free, cost-free initial case review, reach out to us to schedule a consultation or call (800) 985-1819 to discuss options.