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Proposed bill could limit athletes’ workers’ compensation claims

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported on a bill that would prevent some professional athletes from filing workers' compensation claims in California. Many in opposition to the bill feel that the legislation is a way for owners of professional sports teams to avoid liability for players' injuries.

Overview of the bill

The bill, AB1309, seeks to prevent professional athletes who have spent a majority of their career with teams outside of California from filing workers' compensation claims in California for non-specific cumulative injuries. One supporter of the bill asserts that workers' compensation claims by professional athletes that did not happen in California place a burden on the state's workers' compensation system and allowing these claims could raise insurance costs.

According to the report, numerous former professional athletes opposed the bill and described the measure as an attempt by team owners to avoid liability for injuries sustained by their players. The legislation would apply to those who play basketball, hockey, soccer, football and basketball.

A coalition of California labor groups also opposes the bill out of fear that, if passed, it would set a dangerous precedent of limiting access to workers' compensation benefits in California.

Injuries for professional athletes

Professional football players are especially prone to injuries due to the nature of the sport. According to Yahoo Sports, the most common injuries include knee injuries like a torn ACL, ankle injuries, leg injuries, shoulder injuries and brain injuries.

Brain injuries have received a large amount of attention due to the number of concussions reported in the sport. Although the league may be taking steps to protect players when a known concussion occurs, there are still times when a person may be injured and not be fully aware of the potential long-term damage. According to Yahoo Sports, concussions result in trauma to the brain as a result of a strike to the head. These are some of the injuries that professional athletes would want to claim through workers' compensation that may be threatened due to the limitation of access in California.

Workers' compensation insurance generally

In many states, employers are required by law to purchase workers' compensation insurance for their employees from a workers' compensation insurance carrier. When a worker is injured, the worker files his or her claim with the insurance company and the insurance company pays the injured worker medical and disability benefits as laid out by a state-approved workers' compensation benefits formula.

Any employee that is injured at work may benefit from consulting with a workers' compensation attorney. This can be helpful step regardless of the type of industry. A workers' compensation attorney can help the injured employee file an initial claim for compensation benefits, help the injured obtain temporary disability payments and help the injured achieve maximum improvement from the injury.

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