Can I File a Workers’ Comp Claim If I Was Taking Opioids at the Time of My Accident?

Whether you are a laborer or an office worker, there are hazards in your workplace that can cause an accident. When an accident occurs at work, it is the responsibility of your employer to pay for your injuries and medical treatment. Therefore, companies are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance.

If you have recently suffered an injury at work, you are likely going through the process of filing a worker’s compensation claim. In addition to having your injuries examined by a medical professional, to file a worker’s comp claim, you must also provide a detailed report on the accident and how it happened. If you were taking opioids at the time of your accident, it is crucial to understand how that factors into your claim.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a medication prescribed for pain management. This classification of drug works by binding opioid receptors in the brain. Common prescription opioids include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone

In addition to prescribed opioids, there are also common non-prescription opioids such as heroin. Typical side-effects of all opioids include constipation, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and gastrointestinal issues. The most widely-known side-effect, however, is an addiction. In the United States, approximately 2 million people suffer from opioid addiction, and 130 people die every day from an opioid overdose. Due to the nature of the opioid crisis in the United States, employers and insurance companies take notice any time opioids are involved in a worker’s compensation claim.

The Impact of Opioids on Worker’s Comp Claim

Illegal or unprescribed opioids in your system at the time of an accident automatically disqualify you from filing a worker’s compensation claim. Likewise, taking prescription opioids can significantly impact whether or not your claim is approved. Studies show that opioids have adverse effects on worker’s comp claims, including:

  • Employees taking prescription opioids require more recovery time before returning to work.
  • Employees taking prescription opioids suffer more side-effects after an accident.
  • Employees taking prescription opioids require prolonged medical treatment, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation.
  • Employees taking prescription opioids often use more prescription medication benefits than those that do not.

These factors cause insurance companies and employers to spend more money on a worker’s comp claim and are a leading reason why many insurance compensation claims for people taking prescription opioids do not get approved. In such cases, the best way to get the worker’s compensation coverage you deserve is to hire an attorney with experience in the worker’s compensation claim process.

New Hampshire Workers’ Comp Law

Under RSA  281-A:14, if someone is on opioids and is injured on the job, the carrier would have an affirmative defense to try to prove that the injury was caused “in whole or in part by the intoxication.” If the carrier is successful in proving that point, the claimant cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits. The exception to this rule is if the employer was aware of the intoxication, the carrier cannot use this as a defense.

Partner With a Trusted Worker’s Compensation Attorney To File Your Claim

If you are suffering as a result of an injury you sustained at work, there’s no better time than now to file a worker’s compensation claim. The lawyers at Patch & FitzGerald have been representing the people of New Hampshire in worker’s compensation cases for over 30 years.

Call 603-647-2600 or contact us online today for your free case evaluation.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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