April 20th has become an informal day to celebrate marijuana so today we wanted to let injured workers in Colorado how marijuana can affect their workers’ compensation claims.
Here’s 5 things you should know about using cannabis while seeking workers’ compensation benefits in the State of Colorado:
One. Marijuana use is still illegal under Federal Law.
Even if it is legal under Colorado Law, that just means that you will not be charged with a crime by the State of Colorado.
Two. You can still be fired and denied wage loss benefits for a positive drug test.
Under Colorado law, if an injured worker is at fault for the job loss, the insurance company does not have to pay lost wage benefits. Employers who have a consistent and clearly communicate an anti-drug policy can and do fire their employees for marijuana use. If you knew your employer does not tolerate “illegal” drug use, then your marijuana use my cause you to lose your job and work injury wage loss benefits.
Three. Your benefits can be reduced by 50% if you are injured under the influence of marijuana.
Colorado law permits a work injury insurance company to reduce monetary benefits to injured workers if the injury occurs because the worker was under the influence of marijuana. It’s less about being illegal, because benefits can be reduced if the worker was under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana intoxication is more difficult and problematic to prove and establish under current medical testing technology.
Four. Medical Marijuana is not automatically a medical benefit under workers compensation.
Even though there is increasing evidence of the helpfulness of medical marijuana, it is highly unlikely that your treating physician will recommend it as a paid benefit. Typically insurance companies will not pay for it and there is not yet a case where a Judge has ordered it.
Five. How marijuana use interacts with a work injury claim is complicated.
Depending upon your circumstances, marijuana use may have no to little to a lot of impact on your rights and benefits. That’s why it’s critical for you to consult with an experienced knowledgeable attorney. We have helped injured workers for over twenty years and have a combined seventy years of experience. Let us help you navigate your rights.
Contact our Denver and Greeley Workers’ Compensation Attorneys For A Free Review Of Your Case.