South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Blood Test Is Admissible Evidence of Intoxication of Employee
Description Appeals court held that an intoxicated employee was injured in the course of employment, as he was injured when driving a company vehicle home. However, the alcohol blood test done at the hospital is admissible evidence to show that the worker contributed to or caused his injury, by driving drunk, so was not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers’ Compensation; Course of Employment; Blood Testing; Intoxication
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Foos worked for Terminex as a pest control technician. He drove a Terminex truck during the day to service accounts. During one day, Foos participated in a charity event then ate lunch at a McDonald’s. He has no memory of what happened after that and there was no record of his activities, but at 7:30 that evening he struck a guardrail on an Interstate highway and was severely injured when he was ejected from his truck. A blood sample taken at the hospital at 11 p.m., as part of standard procedure, showed his blood alcohol at 0.134, which is legal intoxication. He filed for workers’ compensation benefits and was awarded benefits as the accident occurred in the course of employment. The compensation board held that the results of the blood test were not admissible in evidence. Terminex challenged that finding based on the evidence that he was intoxicated.
Decision

Affirmed in part, reversed in part. The injuries in question arose out of, and in the course of employment. Foos was headed in the direction of home; driving the truck to and from his home was a normal part of his employment routine. The results of the blood alcohol test are admissible in the workers’ compensation proceeding because the test was taken in the ordinary course of medical treatment of injuries. Hence, Terminex is not liable for Foos’ injuries because Foos was impaired at the time of his accident and the impairment contributed to or caused his injuries. Foos is not entitled to benefits.

Citation Foos v. Terminix, 67 P.3d 173 (Ct. App., Kan., 2003)

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