Can My Workers’ Compensation Claim Be Denied for Intoxication?

Workers’ Comp Intoxication Defense

Insurance companies are not looking to “accept your claim”.  If there is a ground to deny the claim then it will be denied. One of those denials is that of alleging intoxication. According to South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law, generally, “the fault of an employee in a workers’ compensation claim has no bearing on the employee’s right to recover.  Zeigler v. S.C. Law Enforcement Div., 250 S.C. 326, 329, 157 S.E.2d 598, 599 (1967).  Section 42-9-60 makes an exception to this general rule and states, “No compensation shall be payable if the injury . . . was occasioned by the intoxication of the employee . . . .

But what does this mean?

Intoxication is a condition that results from the use of a stimulant, which renders an employee impaired in his or her faculties to the extent that the employee is incapable of carrying on the accustomed work without danger to the employee.  Reeves v. Carolina Foundry & Mach. Works, 194 S.C. 403, 408, 9 S.E.2d 919, 921 (1940).  Intoxication is an affirmative defense which requires the party asserting the defense to carry the burden of proof.  Chandler v. Suitt Constr. Co., 288 S.C. 503, 504, 343 S.E.2d 633, 634 (Ct. App. 1986). 

“Generally, the fault of an employee in a workers’ compensation claim has no bearing on the employee’s right to recover.  Zeigler v. S.C. Law Enforcement Div., 250 S.C. 326, 329, 157 S.E.2d 598, 599 (1967).  Section 42-9-60 makes an exception to this general rule and states, “No compensation shall be payable if the injury . . . was occasioned by the intoxication of the employee ..” 

What the insurance company doesn’t tell you is that they (NOT YOU) must prove that but for the intoxication the accident would not have occurred. 

Workers Comp Claim Denied Because of Drugs or Alcohol

Many times drug tests show the presence of a drug.  However, they do not show the levels of the drug and when the drug entered the system.  Your claim will be denied and you won’t know whether or not you can file a claim.  We recently handled a case that had a positive drug screen. Another high volume law firm wanted no part of the case.  We took the test results and sent them to a toxicology expert that pointed out all of the problems with the test and there was no proof that the alleged intoxication caused the accident because the other driver was at fault.

Greenville, Anderson, Columbia, Spartanburg Workers Comp Lawyer

If you aren’t willing to go against the insurance company lawyers or think you need help then our South Carolina work comp lawyers offer a free consultation.  You will get a real meeting, go over your rights and then you can make a decision whether you need a lawyer or not. Schedule your free meeting now.