In a year where much of the population is scrambling to afford health insurance, a new statute will deny California workers’ compensation benefits to professional athletes.
The bill denies cumulative trauma coverage to athletes who are injured while playing on teams based outside of California, or did not meet minimum coverage requirements while playing on California teams.
The state has previously processed thousands of claims from visiting athletes precisely because its workers’ compensation system recognizes cumulative trauma. This category of injury that is compounded over time, such as arthritis and many traumatic brain injuries suffered in contact sports, is often excluded from other states’ policies.
California’s workers’ compensation also offered an extended statute of limitations, allowing some athletes to file after they had retired from game play. Others were allowed to file despite having played only a dozen or so games in California in their entire careers.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill with support from the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and other major sports leagues who agreed that injured athletes should file for compensation in their home states.
“This new law sets reasonable standards to close an expensive loophole unique to California and to professional sports,” Said Dennis Kuhl, chairman of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team.
The new law, which applies only to professional football, baseball, basketball, soccer and ice hockey players, was applied retroactively to September 15, 2013. Any claims filed by out-of-state athletes postmarked after that date will be declared invalid.
To find out more about what workers’ comp coverage will (and won’t) pay for in the event of your injury, click the link on this page to order a FREE copy of our book, The Northern California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual.
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