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NFL players allowed to file for worker's compensation in CA

NFL players have the ability to file for worker's compensation benefits in the state of California, regardless of whether or not they played for a California-based team. Football players, who are in an industry with a high rate of workplace injuries due to the physical and tough gameplay, can file for worker's compensation even if they only played one game in California during an entire career. Over 3000 retired NFL players have filed worker's compensation claims in California, driving up worker's compensation rates for all Californians, especially for California sports teams. This causes the teams to have higher costs, and thus higher ticket prices.

The NFL is not the only sports league to be taking advantage of California's lax worker's compensation laws. Players from Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL are also filing worker's compensation claims in California. A study commissioned by all four leagues estimates that this development will cost approximately $1.2 billion. Also, a common development is "double-dipping," where the players file worker's compensation claims in their home state and in California, thus receiving the benefits in both states. Policy makers in California are making plans to close this loophole.

This case illustrates the fact that worker's compensation can be abused. These athletes were in effect driving up worker's compensation rates, thus harming actual Californian workers and taxpayers who had the costs taken out of their paychecks. Worker's compensation is an essential benefit to cover workplace accidents, but it is open to fraud and abuse.

Any worker injured on the job is entitled to worker's compensation benefits. Those injured on the job may be covered for temporary or permanent disability benefits, medical treatment benefits or death benefits. These benefits are monetary in nature and awarded by the court. Those injured by on-the-job accidents are entitled to seek an appropriate and just compensation.

Source: ABC Los Angeles, "NFL players can file for CA workers' comp. thanks to loophole," John Hartung, Feb. 1, 2013

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