Arizona High Court Throws Out Workers' Comp Law

August 12, 2005 ( - The state of Arizona's highest court has overturned a state law making it harder to qualify for workers' compensation benefits if under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the person was injured.

Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously that the law violates the state’s constitution, according to a Business Insurance report.

The state high court decision resolves conflicting rulings at the appellate court level in two cases involving workers compensation claimants who tested positive for alcohol and illegal drug use shortly after they were injured.

In both cases, the state’s Industrial Commission sided with the workers comp insurers that denied the workers’ claims. The insurers based their claim decisions on a state law that requires injured workers to prove they were not impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs before they can collect such benefits.

However, in ruling for the workers, the state’s high court cited a section of the state constitution that mandates that an injured worker must receive workers comp benefits if a necessary risk or danger of employment caused or contributed to the worker’s accident.

The ruling is  here .