Louisiana: Injured Employee Successfully Rebuts Positive Post-Accident Drug Test

Louisiana: Injured Employee Successfully Rebuts Positive Post-Accident Drug Test

A Louisiana appellate court, acknowledging that La.R.S. 23:1081 provided the defense of intoxication and also provided an employer with certain presumptions if an injured employee tested positive for various drugs and controlled substances, nevertheless affirmed an award of benefits, penalties, and attorney’s fees to an employee who sustained a severely broken hand while performing his duties.  Noting that a post-accident drug screen revealed the presence of cocaine and amphetamines in the employee’s system and that the employer was, therefore, entitled to the presumption that the injury was caused by intoxication, the appellate court agreed that the employee had adequately rebutted the presumption.  The employee explained that the accident occurred on a damp morning when the handle to a light tower crank on which he was working was wet. The employee stated that, unlike other cranks he was accustomed to, this crank did not have a safety mechanism on it and that the wet handle slipped from his hand, spun out of control, and struck his hand. The court indicated that the workers' compensation judge acted within its fact-finding role in accepting that testimony as credible. Additionally, the record evidences an absence of testimony revealing any indicia of intoxication.  The employee admitted taking two of his girl friend’s diet pills, but denied cocaine use and contended the test had been tainted.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Bordelon v. Key Energy Servs., Inc., 2014 La. App. LEXIS 1221 (May 7, 2014) [2014 La. App. LEXIS 1221 (May 7, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 36.03 [36.03]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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