Intoxication as an Employer Defense

North Carolina employees do not need to show an employer caused a workplace accident or poor workplace conditions in order to get lost wages and medical benefits. That the employee was negligent is also not a factor in getting benefits. The main idea of the Workers’ Compensation Act is to take the need to prove negligence out of the decision process. Still, that does not mean the employee can get benefits no matter what. If the employee was intoxicated and the injury to the employee or the death of employee was caused by the intoxication, then the employee will not get Workers’ Compensation benefits. Most states, including Virginia, have some version of this law.

Self-intoxication is considered a willful act. Intoxication provided by an employer or someone who worked on behalf of the employer will preclude the employer from using this defense. A typical case where the employer might provide the alcohol is a celebratory party for an employee or a Holiday celebration.
Using narcotics which are the proximate cause of the injuries is also a defense. Under the influence of narcotics includes all drugs listed in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, G.S. §90-86, et seq. If the drug was properly prescribed by a medical practitioner, then the use of the narcotics will be not be an allowable employer defense.

Willful acts which proximately cause the injuries are also defenses the employer can use. These acts include willful attempts by the employee to injure or kill themselves or someone else. A fight might be considered willful.

‘Under the influence’ and intoxication mean that the employee consumed or ingested large enough quantities so that the employee lost control of their physical or mental faculties to the degree of an appreciable impairment at the time the injury occurred. An employee who exhibits high enough levels of intoxication when given timely and appropriate blood, breath, or other reasonable medical tests creates a rebuttable presumption of impairment.

North Carolina workplace victims need good legal counsel

If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits is being challenged unfairly by your employer, attorney Joe Miler at Joe Miller Law, Ltd., knows what it takes to fight these arguments and help you pursue the full and fair benefits that you need. Learn more about what he’s prepared to do for you by calling Joe Miller Law, Ltd., today at (888) 694-1671.