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California legislators may limit some workers' comp. claims

Recently, California state lawmakers introduced legislature bill to close a loophole that allows athletes to file for workers' compensation in California even if they have only played one game in the state. The bill would bar players from football, hockey, baseball, basketball, and soccer teams from outside California from introducing workers' compensation claims in the state.

The purpose of the bill is to prevent these claims by retired athletes from driving up premiums and surcharges for California employers that stem from outstanding worker's compensation claims. California is the only state that has such a lax system allowing for athletes to report job injury claims even if they have only played a few games in the state.

The loophole in California's workers' compensation law is a classic example of how the system of workers' compensation is sometimes abused.

This system, which is intended to provide for the livelihood of workers who are injured on the job, is used by athletes from outside of the state to claim job injury benefits even if their team is based outside of the state. Regardless of the loophole, workers' compensation is necessary for athletes, due to the damaging physical nature of many of these sports. Injuries are common-place in professional athletics, and workers' compensation allows the athletes to receive treatment for their injuries and receive an appropriate amount of compensation for the games missed due to the injury.

Any worker injured on the job, whether in a high-paid occupation like professional sports or a regular occupation such as construction or factory work, is entitled to an appropriate amount of compensation to pay for medical expenses and lost wages. The injured worker may also be entitled to monetary damages if it is found that the employer was negligent. An injured worker has the right to seek a just and fair outcome for his or her workplace injury.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Bill would bar some athletes from California worker's comp. claims", Marc Lifsher, Feb. 25, 2013.

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