Some NFL Teams Questioning Retired Players’ Workers’ Compensation Rights
The New York Times says that a number of NFL teams are trying to move certain retired players workers’ compensation cases to their own states from California where retired pro athletes are allowed to file workers’ compensation claims for long-term injuries sustained even decades before as long as they played at least one football game in the state. If the players' respective football teams were to move the work injury compensation cases to their own states where players also have workers’ compensation rights, such as Ohio or Louisiana, the claims would become inviable or worth a lot less.
Now, the Cincinnati Bengals is suing a number of its retired players in court after they filed work injury claims in California, ignoring the clauses in their contracts restricting them to file their workers’ compensation benefits only in Ohio. The case, now in federal court in Ohio, will likely be decided soon.
Meantime, the Miami Dolphins are saying that under the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL players’ union, players must go through a special arbitration process and not file in California. Because Florida doesn’t consider professional athletes as employees, the system is similar to the one that handles injuries sustained by other Florida professionals.
However, according to the NFL players’ union, the Titans’ and Bengals’ contract clauses cannot be enforced. Under California law, employees cannot sign away certain work conditions. Also, the union is not allowed to bargain away these players’ rights collectively during negotiations over a new labor agreement. Attorneys for the union say that employees who are from US states that have limited workers’ compensation benefits are allowed to file in any state that will let them.
The New York Times reports that about 700 retired NFL players are pursuing their workers' compensation claims in California. The majority of them are likely to receive lump sum settlements in the 100K - 200K range.
Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation
In Illinois, the Law Offices of Steven J. Malman & Associates represents workers injured in work accidents. Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers would like to offer you a free case evaluation.
Teams Dispute Workers’ Comp Rights, New York Times, April 6, 2010
Related Web Resources:
NFL Injuries, ESPN