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Injured Workers at Risk for Addiction to Opioids, Other Drugs

For workers in highly dangerous industries, an on-the-job injury is an anticipated risk of going to work every day. The costs associated with work injuries — such as medical bills and lost wage expenses — can be covered with workers’ compensation benefits.

The impact of a work accident can be more than financial. Many occupational injury victims suffer from emotional anguish, anxiety, depression, and feelings of purposelessness and loss. For some, their pain and suffering does not end once their injury is addressed. Work injuries can cause peripheral effects that last well beyond treatment.

Work injury victims are at risk of opioid addiction. Although these drugs can be used as a legitimate way to address pain, they are highly addictive. Can people who become addicted to opioids because of a work injury recover workers’ compensation benefits to treat their addiction?

Opioids for Injury Treatment

Opioid drugs such as OxyContin are prescribed to treat extremely painful conditions. A person who is severely injured at work could be prescribed opioids as treatment.

While opioids can be an effective pain management solution, they are addictive. A CBS News article revealed that construction workers and miners are more likely to use opioids than employees of any other injuries. The report explained “Some of the illicit drug use in these fields could stem from the high incidence of work-related injuries in construction… Like many Americans addicted to opioids, many construction workers are prescribed the drugs to alleviate pain from on-the-job accidents, and later became dependent on them.”

Are Rehabilitation and Treatment Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

A person’s ability to receive workers’ compensation coverage for addiction treatment will depend on the terms of their settlement or award. In cases which allot benefits to a claimant until they have reached maximum medical improvement, receiving treatment for addiction could indicate that the worker is not yet fully healed, and therefore still entitled to coverage. Cases that provide a lump sum payment or limited coverage may not allow for compensation not directly related to the initial injury, although a claimant may be able to open a new case related to rehabilitation. If a drug addiction is the result of a work injury and the association can be proven, the employee should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Alvandi Law Group, P.C. is committed to helping work injury victims receive the compensation they deserve. If you were injured at your job and need representation for your workers’ compensation claim, contact us today.

Send us a message or call (800) 980-6905 to schedule a no-cost case evaluation with our legal team.



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