On Tuesday Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed a bill that will give the NFL a big financial break for players who have been injured playing the game. The Bill AB 1309 is the result of lobbying done by pro sports leagues, but most importantly the NFL.
The league was contesting that many retired pro athlete, many of whom had never played for a California based team were able to make claims and obtain workers comp judgments from the state. This in turn was an enormous cost for California tax payers, or so its thought.
According to California law, an employee can file for workers compensation if they are injured in the state of California even if their employer is based in another state. Obviously for pro athletes it would not be uncommon for them to play an away game in California as they host a team in every major sports league.
California also allows for cumulative injuries, meaning those that build up over time (e.g. knee, back, or neurological). So as years of intense athletic play go on, you can get injured at home, make it worse on the road and still be eligible for compensation.
An interesting fact that should be made that when players file for workers comp judgments in California it is not the California tax payers who fork over their money to make these settlements. The judgment is paid by the injured teams carrier (e.g. Liberty Mutual, State Farm, whoever holds the teams policy).
Obviously the professional sports teams are not a fan of this because as more claims and judgments are made against their policy, it is costing them more money in premiums or even worse they may have to pay out of pocket for the claim.
So now that Gov. Brown has signed this bill who is the real winner. The athletes now have a small window to try to obtain compensation for injuries they have to deal with. The real winner is the sports teams who will not have to shell out all this money to these players or their insurance premiums for cases that would be settled in California.
What would prevent the Governor from signing a similar bill to affect other industries such as trucking, utility, or laborers. Granted athletes make millions and millions of dollars and we all figure why do they need more, and to some point I do agree with that as some of us could live a lifetime off one games’salary for some players. However, these guys do go out there and risk life and limbs to entertain us and some get hurt really badly, sometimes even life altering, so should they be compensated for getting us up out of our seats cheering? Believe me I myself see both sides of the fence, on one hand these guys make so much money, some do foolish things and you hear of them going bankrupt instead of making sound investments for their future knowing they cannot play sports forever. On the other hand they are employees and this was the reason the workers compensation was signed into law. It will be interesting to see how this progresses though the court system.
Source: LA Times and John Seman of Acrometis for passing this article along!