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The court rules in the denial of benefits to workers injured while intoxicated



A Texas appellate court on Thursday ruled in favor of an injured worker based on a jury’s finding that he was intoxicated at the time of his accident.

Rigoverto Balderas was working at a foam plant in Houston in December 2015. When he dumped the handlebars in a mill, his left arm was pulled into the machine, causing serious injuries to his arm, upper left body and face, according to Balderas v. Zurich American Insurance Co., Filed with the Court of Appeals for the 14th District of Texas in Houston.

A blood test performed on Balderas within a few hours after the accident showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.117%. A person is considered legally impaired in Texas if he has a BAC above 0.08%, according to documents.

State law prevents an employee from receiving compensation from an insurance company if he was intoxicated at the time of his injury. Baldera̵

7;s employer’s insurer disputed the claim and was later granted a summary judgment.

The Court of Appeal ruled that there was sufficient legal evidence to support the earlier finding that Balderas was intoxicated at the time of his injury and rejected his argument that a blood alcohol test could be proved by a laboratory analysis of “whole blood” instead of just blood plasma.

WorkCompCentral is a sister magazine to Business Insurance. More stories here.


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