Reinisch Wilson Weier PC Workers' Compensation Defense and Employment Law

Intoxication/Impairment at Time of Incident

By Jennifer Kramer, Apr 01, 2013

In re: Wesley H. Nicholas, BIIA Dec. 10 15503 (2011)  The claimant was involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained injuries while driving a vehicle that had been provided by his employer, and while being paid for his travel time. He was speeding and had used marijuana and non-prescribed methadone prior to the accident.  The claimant appealed a Department Order which rejected his claim on the grounds that he was outside the course of employment at the time of the accident.  The Board reversed the rejection, reasoning that speeding did not remove claimant from course of employment, as the claimant argued that he fell asleep at the wheel.  The Board also found that the claimant’s urinalysis results, which revealed marijuana of at least 50 nanograms per milliliter, and methadone of at least 300 nanograms per milliliter, failed to establish that the claimant was intoxicated by the ingestion of drugs at the time of his motor vehicle accident. Therefore, claimant was in the course of employment at the time of his motor vehicle accident and resulting injuries.

Summary:  A worker must be so intoxicated that he cannot perform his duties, and the level of intoxicants in his/her system must be of such a high level that s/he had removed himself from the course of employment.



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