Many NFL players can now take advantage of a loophole in California's workers' compensation law. The NFL has been accused recently of trying to deny benefits to its players, who suffer extremely high rates of injury over the course of their careers. Injured NFL players can now claim workers' compensation in California if they played one game here, even if they have never played for a team in our state.
It is estimated there are 3,000 workers' compensation claims in our state from retired NFL players alone. They do not have to prove a specific injury to be able to receive benefits; they must simply claim wear and tear injuries over the years. NFL players commonly suffer serious injuries that require expensive medical attention, such as permanently damaged knees, broken tailbones and concussions.
All NFL teams have insurance policies that are supposed to pay the claims. California laws tend to be more relaxed about workers' compensation benefits, and now players from other professional sports, such as baseball and hockey, are also flooding our state's courtrooms seeking compensation. This drives up workers' compensation rates throughout the state, which affects taxpayers as well.
Since the NFL is cracking down on benefits for its players, it is reasonable to expect them to turn someplace else to have their medical needs compensated for injuries that they acquired while doing their jobs. Many lawmakers are working against the influx of professional athletes into California, and they want to have the law changed soon. At this time, however, their rights to workers' compensation are still being respected in California.
Source: abclocal.go.com, "NFL players can file for CA workers' comp thanks to loophole," John Hartung, Feb. 1, 2013