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Out-of-State Workers’ Compensation Claims for NFL Players

  • Jon Koutcher
  • 06/25/2013

When you sustain a workplace injury, where to file your Workers’ Compensation claim may be the first issue you encounter.  You may live in one state but work in another.  Your employer may be based in the state in which you live but you may travel between several worksites in different states.  Your position may involve travel to out-of-state locations visiting vendors or clients. This is an issue faced regularly by professional athletes who travel to a new location every couple of days and sustain injuries “on-the-job” quite often.


The issue of where a player may file Workers’ Compensation claims has long been contentious topic between the NFL management and the professional football players.  In fact, it was among the most disputed topics during negotiations for the recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NFL and the National Football League Players Association signed on August 1, 2011.  In the new CBA, management was unsuccessful in closing a loophole that allows players to file Workers’ Compensation claims in states other than where their teams are based.


Liberal labor laws in California are the source of the controversy.  Many professional football players with injuries have filed claims in California, even though their teams are not based in that state, to take advantage of the state’s favorable Workers’ Compensation plan.  The current California laws allow in-state claims for employees injured on the job with even minimal work history in the state. For professional football players, that can mean as little as having played one game in the Golden State. Under the new CBA, players will still be able to file claims in California if they have played at least one game there; however, California lawmakers are looking into legislative changes that would put a stop to future Workers’ Compensation filings by injured workers who substantially work in other states.


In Pennsylvania, as in every state in the country, Workers’ Compensation laws are constantly changing, and not always in ways that provide more advantages for injured workers. It takes the knowledge and finesse of an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer to use the state laws to maximize the remedies that are available to an employee hurt at a Philadelphia job site, or in a surrounding community in Pennsylvania or Delaware. The laws regarding Workers’ Compensation insurance benefits can be extremely difficult to navigate. At Pearson Koutcher Law, our competent Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation attorneys will listen to the facts of your case, evaluate its potential and ensure that the laws of Pennsylvania or Delaware are interpreted in a light most favorable to you. Contact us today to discuss your Workers’ Compensation matter.