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Bill would create intoxication presumption based on autopsy

drug test

The Texas legislature is considering a bill that would create a rebuttable presumption that a deceased worker was intoxicated at the time of a deadly incident if an autopsy determines the presence of drugs or alcohol.

H.B. 4556, introduced Thursday, would presume that drug or alcohol positivity would mean the worker was “intoxicated and did not have the normal use of mental or physical faculties,” and thus surviving family members would not be eligible for death benefits. Under current law, workers compensation claims filed by workers who were proven to be intoxicated at the time of their accident are not compensable.

The proposed amendment addressing autopsy testing states that the presumption may be rebutted “only by credible and objective evidence that the person was not intoxicated.”

Lawmakers also introduced S.B. 2121, which would limit civil liability of property owners of certain projects when a worker is injured and works for an employer that opted to not carry workers comp insurance, as permitted in Texas.