Marijuana User Not Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A worker who smoked a marijuana joint before climbing a tree must have forgotten he was about ten feet off the ground, literally.

Daniel Davidson, the employee, sustained injuries while removing tree limbs at a job site and filed a claim for workers’ compensation. The employer denied benefits, contending that the injury was the result of the employee’s intoxication and misconduct.

A witness who watched Davidson’s fall said he looked like he had “stepped into thin air” before dropping to the ground. According to court records, Davidson’s supervisor had ordered him not to climb the trees while removing the limbs from the job site.

Davidson himself had no explanation for the cause of the fall and a urine sample taken at the hospital the day after the Tennessee man fell showed he had an intoxicant level 50 times beyond the level need for a positive result.

A trial court ruled that impaired vision, delayed reaction time, and lack of memory due to marijuana caused his fall and injuries. The worker appealed, arguing the trial court was wrong about his intoxication levels.

But the Tennessee’s Supreme Court’s Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel stuck with the lower court’s ruling, giving the employer a not-so-great early Christmas present.