By JARED SHELLY, senior editor of Risk & Insurance®
Even a casual viewing of a Sunday football game illustrates just how interconnected injuries are with professional sports. But whether the injured player misses an entire season or heroically returns to the game, it could lead to a workers' comp claim, and those situations have lessons that reach well beyond sports, said a panel of sports experts Thursday at the 20th Annual National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo.
The panel seemed to agree that California represents a trouble spot for professional sports. There are 3,100 active cumulative trauma claims by former National Football League players in California with an average settlement of $175,000 to $200,000, said Timothy Peterson, managing partner of Peterson, Colantoni, Collins & Davis LLP, legal counsel to some Major League Baseball teams.
Many times, those players were based in other cities but happened to play once or twice in California. Injured players filed their claims in the Golden State and applied for benefits because of the state's liberal workers' comp and disability laws.
"It's turned into a monster," said Peterson. "If you are a trucking company or airline and you're routinely crossing state lines, you're sitting on a landmine. There are ten times the amount of truckers than former football players."
Sports also has plenty of issues that extend to wage-and-hour disputes. With so much travel, when exactly are they on the clock if they practice in one city, play in another and sign a contract in yet a third city?
November 11, 2011
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