Extending Your Student Visa

A student visa that lets you study at the university of your choice is a terrific thing for you. But what happens if your studies take longer than you planned? On top of exams and term papers, you may have to worry about your student visa expiring. That’s where an immigration lawyer can be your best friend. Understanding how immigration laws work can be the first step to making sure that you keep your student visa in good standing. My blog is all about immigration issues, especially those faced by foreign students. Check out the articles for more information that you can use to complete your studies in the country you chose to study in.

What Should You Know About Prescription Marijuana & Your Workers Comp Claim?

Law Articles

If you've recently been injured in an accident at work, you may be considering filing a workers compensation claim to help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with your injury. However, if you had marijuana or metabolites (like THC) in your system at the time of the accident, your claim may be denied—even if medical marijuana is legal in your state and you have an authorized prescription for its use.

What should you do to appeal the denial of your workers comp claim? Can you receive workers comp benefits even if you are an occasional or regular user of medical marijuana? Read on to learn more about how state workers compensation laws have evolved to address the growing popularity of legalized marijuana.

Can you receive workers compensation if you used medical marijuana before the accident that caused your injury?

One issue that has confounded law enforcement personnel and lawmakers since marijuana was first legalized in many states is the inability to test for marijuana impairment.

Because THC and other marijuana metabolites are fat-soluble, rather than water-soluble like most other drugs, they can stay in your bloodstream (and show up on a urine drug test) for weeks or even months after your last use, depending upon your body fat percentage. Meanwhile, the psychoactive effects of the THC last only a few hours, and you should be able to drive and operate heavy machinery without impairment after this point.

This makes it difficult for workers comp insurers and employers to accurately gauge your level of impairment at the time of the accident. If you're hurt on the job and test positive for alcohol or other drugs at a level that could cause impairment, your claim will likely be denied.

If you're hurt on the job and test positive for medical marijuana, but there is no other evidence of impairment, your claim may still be denied, but you'll have better grounds for appeal. Depending upon whether your state's workers compensation laws require proof of impairment, or only proof of ingestion, you may be able to receive workers compensation funds to help pay for your medical expenses and lost wages.

If you know that you will test positive for marijuana on a blood or urine test and are concerned about the effects on your workers compensation claim, you may want to gather any evidence you can that will show that you weren't impaired at the time of the accident. This may include your unused prescription (demonstrating that you were taking no more of your medical marijuana than prescribed) or written, signed statements of anyone who witnessed the accident and could testify that you were not at fault or that you were unable to avoid the accident.

Will workers comp insurance pay for medical marijuana if you need it to treat the after-effects of your injury?

At least one state has ruled that workers compensation insurers must pay the costs of a recipient's medical marijuana if this marijuana is deemed necessary to treat your work-related injury. If a workplace injury has lifelong side effects, you may be able to receive reimbursement for your medical marijuana indefinitely, thanks to your workers compensation coverage.

However, if you were already legally prescribed this marijuana for another condition before your accident, and now use this marijuana to treat both this pre-existing condition and your injury, the payment issue becomes trickier. Unless you need substantially more marijuana than the "baseline" amount you were initially prescribed, the workers comp company may argue that your pain level hasn't changed, and you may be required to pay for your marijuana out of pocket.

Contact resources like Ransom, Gilbertson, Martin & Ratliff, L.L.P to figure out the best way to handle your situation and avoid paying more than you have to for your injuries. 


9 July 2015