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NFL Workers’ Compensation Claims a Problem for California

Riverside California attorneyThe NFL is by far the most popular professional sports league in the United States today, with a continually growing fan base that is starting to stretch even beyond our nation’s borders.

Unfortunately, the intense physical nature of the game is leading to health complications for players later in life. Brain injuries from the NFL are now becoming a large problem in California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Thousands of professional athletes from around the U.S. are seeking medical care or money through California’s workers’ compensation system for brain trauma and other injuries suffered on the field.

Since 2006, former athletes have filed more than 4,400 claims involving head and brain trauma, up 700 percent from fifteen years ago. Almost three-fourths of those claims in California are related to alleged brain injuries.

Big names like Joe Theismann and practice squad players alike have filed for workers’ compensation. The claims represent a huge financial risk for the NFL.

Now, the NFL and five other pro sports leagues are trying to limit their liability for these types of workers’ compensation claims through legislation. The group has lobbied for a state law that would bar athletes who played for out-of-state teams from filing in California.

Many out-of-state athletes file for benefits in California because they cannot do so anywhere else. The statute of limitations is much less restrictive in California than other places around the country.

Currently, former players are eligible to apply to apply for benefits even if they played for out-of-state teams and competed in California for only a small amount of time.

NFL officials and team owners now worry that these long-term costs for caring for ill former players could drive up insurance costs, cut profits, and force the game to be played with new, safer rules.

If you would like to discuss these workers’ compensation claims or have been injured on the job, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorney at our Riverside office. Richard Irwin has been a California State Bar certified specialist in workers’ comp law since 1995.

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