Much like construction workers, factory employees and roustabouts, NFL football players, baseball stars and other pro athletes with multi-million dollar contracts are subject to the same workers’ compensation rules as the rest of us.
Take the case of Brett Hartman, rookie punter for the Houston Texans. Back in 2011 his career came to a screeching halt after he injured his knee due to uneven turf making this high roller eligible for…$913 a week in workers’ comp under Texas law. If there’s any truth in the saying “the more you make, the more you spend”, this figure likely falls short when it comes time to pay the bills.
Like most employees across the nation, Hartman is barred form suing his company for work related injuries and illnesses, requiring all claims go through the workers’ comp system. Whether it is a poor field design, hazardous conditions or degenerative brain disease from repeated smacks to the head, workers’ compensation is the avenue players and workers in far less glamorous jobs must take when they are injured at work.
Of course, there is sometimes the third party option to pursue. NFL players cannot sue their employers, but it does not prevent them from holding others accountable for their injury. Hartman, for example, sued the Harris County Convention & Sport Corp. for negligence for using a turf system that created an uneven playing surface, settling the case for a confidential sum.
In a more notable third party settlement that many can recall, NFL players sued the league over concerns about the fatal degenerative brain disorder known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which appears to develop after a career fraught with head injuries. Settling for $1 billion over 65 years, former players were able to sue the NFL outside of workers’ compensation because the league was not their direct employer – a ‘get around’ the workers’ comp system available to all employees when someone else’s negligence causes them harm.
Contact a Davenport Iowa Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Many union officials and labor advocates say the difficulties that professional athletes face in pursuing workers’ compensation claims – despite teams of lawyers and other advisers – underscore how the system can be stacked against workers. Having some sense about what you may be up against if you are injured at work, it is important to get the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to represent you when filing your initial claim or after being denied workers’ compensation benefits. It is also possible that you may be able to pursue a third party claim to get the compensation you need now and in the future after suffering a injury on the job. Contact the workers’ compensation personal injury lawyers of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for assistance with your workers’ compensation claim today.