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Can I challenge my urine drug test after my workplace accident?

Illinois provides workers' compensation protection for employees who are injured at work. Generally, this works on a "no-fault" insurance scheme. Without getting too technical, the current system bars injured workers from suing their employers and their insurers directly for their injuries. In exchange for that liability protection, the employee is not required to prove fault for a workplace accident in order to receive certain medical benefits and other compensation.

However, one of the requirements of obtaining workers' compensation for a workplace accident is that the employee must have been engaging in normal workplace duties at the time the accident occurred. Companies with well-known policies against substance abuse can often argue against paying out claims to workers who were using drugs around the time of their accidents. Basically, an employer can argue that an injured worker who is shown to have drugs or alcohol in their system at the time of the accident was not performing normal workplace duties.

If your workers' compensation claims were denied because of a failed drug test there are a few things you should know. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission has set forth very specific procedures on how the collection, storage and testing your urine for drug tests must be performed. For starters, the people responsible for collecting your urine must meet certain training requirements. Basically, these will have to be licensed physicians or nurses.

The urine collection standard also specifically prohibits certain individuals from collecting your urine. Unless no one else is available, your immediate supervisor is normally barred from that activity. This also applies for anyone working at a laboratory who may be able to link your urine sample and his or her results to you personally. In other words, someone at the lab who could destroy your anonymity with regard to the test.

The important thing to remember is that you have a right to retain an attorney to represent you during any workers' compensation claims appeal. Your Illinois workers' compensation attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and initiate challenges to evidence being used to deny your claims.

Source: Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, "Title 50: Insurance... Chapter VI: Alcohol and Drug Sample Collection and Testing," accessed March. 26, 2015

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