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New Law to Limit Some Athletes’ Options for California Workers’ Comp

Posted on Oct 11, 2013

Legislation targeted to limit workers’ compensation claims made by athletes who haven’t played the majority of their career in California was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown this September.

Affirmed on September 12th 2013, bill AB 1309 closes what may see as a loophole in workplace injury law that has allowed many out-of-state athletes to successfully file workers’ compensation claims for cumulative trauma when he or she has only played a small number of games in California over the course of their professional career.

More than 4,400 such claims have been filed since 2006, costing the NFL an alleged $1 billion in liability. The new law is being heralded as a victory for the NFL and several professional team owners.

Professional athletes filing for workers’ comp in California will now need to have played at least:

  • Two full seasons with a California team, and
  • More than two full seasons if seven or more seasons were played on a team in another state.


The law will not impact players who have played for California-based teams throughout their careers.

Opponents of the law argue that California is often the last resort for athletes who want to hold professional sports leagues accountable for the long-term consequences they face due to cumulative injuries—especially repeated head trauma in the NFL. Such injuries are believed to leave players with life-long disability issues that prevent them from re-entering the workforce in a different capacity.

If you’ve been injured at work and don’t know where to turn, reach out to a Northern California workplace injury attorney for a no-cost evaluation. Call 888-761-7383—and don’t forget to request our free report: The Northern California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual.

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Thomas Ledgerwood
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