How Drug Use Can Hurt a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Texas
Whether you’ve read our articles on construction site risks or you’ve experienced the dangers firsthand, you’re probably aware that construction isn’t the safest job in the world. However, despite its risks, the construction industry is an extremely important part of Texas’ economy. As a result, every day thousands of Texans put on their hard hats and tempt fate for the opportunity to make some money. Unfortunately, in addition to depending on their safety equipment, many construction workers rely on alcohol and drugs to get them through the day.
A “High”-Rising Problem: Drug Use in Construction
In 2015, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), conducted a study to compare drug and alcohol use percentages across an array of different industry workers. The industries chosen for the study ranged from food services and education to agriculture and industrial trades. Over the course of four years, the gathered results proved to be more than a little distressing.
According to the study, the construction industry had some of the highest rates for alcohol and substance abuse among its workers. Overall, the percentage of workers who t used drugs while at work averaged between nine and ten percent per industry. However, the construction industry averages are much higher than the norm.
- Alcohol use. Percentage of construction workers who admitted to heavy drinking within 30 days of reporting—16.5% Construction workers ranked second highest in this category, as miners had the highest average with 17.5%.
- Substance abuse. Percentage of construction workers who admitted to marijuana or prescription drug use within 30 days of reporting—14.3%. Construction workers, again, ranked second highest in this category, as first place went to Accommodations and Food Services, which averaged 16.9%.
- Illicit substance abuse. Percentage of construction workers who admitted to cocaine or narcotic drug use within 30 days of reporting—11.6%. This percentage gave construction workers a lower rating, with four other industries averaging higher percentages.
The Consequences of Drug Use for a Work Injury Claim
Since construction work is inherently dangerous, workers are generally covered by workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an injury or accident. However, coverage will be suspended or flat-out denied if the injured worker was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident.
Drug use has been proven to impair focus, decrease awareness, and inhibit good judgment. Therefore, when workers willingly expose themselves to drugs and then make the decision to work in an inherently dangerous environment, their actions are perceived as negligent. As a result, workers’ compensation laws limit an injured worker’s ability to recover medical expenses and lost wages from a construction injury if he was high at the time of the accident. In other words, if it can be proven that your drug-related negligence aided in the cause of the accident, you’ll be held liable for your own injuries.
It’s important to note, however, that even if you or your family member got the injury as a result of drug use, you may be protected in other ways.
Learn about your legal protections today by consulting an experienced construction injury lawyer. Attorney Steve Lee is standing by now to conduct a FREE consultation to discuss your claim. Call our office or fill out the contact form on our website to schedule your appointment.
Don’t waste any more time to find out if you’re eligible for benefits; contact us today!