Federal judge consolidates NFL workers' compensation cases

Two months ago, we wrote about a provision in California's workers' compensation laws that qualifies NFL players who played at least one game in the state. Notably, the provision does not require the players to prove that their work-related injuries occurred in the state; rather, they only need demonstrate that an injury occurred during their professional activities, at some point in their career.

Recently, a federal judge in San Francisco consolidated three lawsuits involving 67 former NFL players. The players are challenging a December 2012 arbitration ruling that allegedly requires the players to waive their right to seek workers' compensation benefits under California law.

California workers can take a proactive approach to workplace safety. For example, an employee may report an unsafe workplace condition by filing a complaint with a local Cal/OSHA enforcement unit district office, either in person or online. That may lead to an inspection of the employer's workplace by state officials. Typically, the worker's name is kept confidential.

Often, however, unsafe conditions are not discovered until an employee has been injured. When that happens, a employee may have more questions than answers. Typical workers' compensation benefits will provide an injured worker with medical care and a portion of lost wages during his or her recuperation. However, disputes may arise over the amount of treatment needed.

Other questions may also arise. There may also be additional employment agreements that interact with state workers' compensation laws. In this case, arbitration may have been a condition imposed by the NFL players' employment agreements, or perhaps by a collective bargaining agreement entered into between management and the players' union. For help understanding the intersection of applicable laws, many injured workers turn to an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Source: Business Insurance, "Three NFL workers comp lawsuits consolidated in California," Sheena Harrison, March 26, 2013

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