California lawmakers in the state Assembly have just passed a bill that would prevent professional athletes who have not spent 80 percent of their careers on a state team from filing for workers' compensation in certain circumstances. The bill has not yet become law because it still needs to pass through the California Senate, but it has some labor groups concerned. The new law would prevent out-of-state athletes from filing for workers' compensation for non-specific cumulative injuries.
If the bill is made into law, it would apply to athletes on baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer teams. The law would require players to file for benefits within a year of their last game or diagnosis by a physician. According to a supporter of the law, it removes a burden from the state's workers' compensation system and could lead to reducing insurance costs. One lawmaker has stated that players should be filing for compensation from their principal state of employment.
Since employers are responsible for paying workers' compensation claims, many believe that they are attempting to avoid paying for legitimate injuries. One opponent of the law has pointed out that athletes in California should receive all of the benefits that other residents of the state receive. He says that people breaking the laws in the state are still held to the same legal requirements whether they live in California or not. Labor groups that are against the law are concerned about the precedent that may be set by limiting access to workers' compensation benefits.
Someone who has been injured on or as a result of their job may find that dealing with workers' compensation claims are not always straightforward or simple. A lawyer could help someone in this circumstance ensure that their rights are protected.
Source: Insurance Journal, "Bill Limits California Workers’ Comp for Pro Athletes", Laura Olson, May 20, 2013