Team Owners and Insurance Companies Play "Hot Potato" With Player Injury Claims

Posted By Thomas F. Martin, PLC || 7-Aug-2013

Contact sports are exciting to watch. NFL and other major league games are the modern answer to the Roman gladiator in the arena. Owners have made billions on talented football, hockey and soccer. players. What is soon forgotten after the profits are tallied and the arena is quiet, however, is the life long effect those many games have had on the player.

For the players who devote their talent and health to game, the cold reality is the accumulated physical toll on the player can be high, even life threatening. Thus, workplace accident claims are common, and often unavoidable. A work injury on the field, or on the ice, can even end a sports promising career, sometimes before it really begins. As discussed in earlier blog posts, team owners have sought to bar California workers compensation benefits and treatment to some players through legislation, even those with serious brain injuries.

Now, even insurance companies are looking to avoid paying benefits to seriously injured player. On August 13, 2012, Alterra America Insurance Company, a NFL liability insurer, brought suit in New York State Court claiming it did not have the ”duty to defend or indemnify” the NFL in multiple tort suits filed by former NFL players. On August 22, 2012, several subsidiaries of The Travelers Companies, Inc. then weighed in with their own insurance coverage lawsuit, contending that it is not obligated to defend or indemnify the NFL for any of the lawsuits, claiming that Travelers does not insure the NFL— it only insures NFL Properties, Inc., the NFL’s marketing company. Now, even the carriers want to escape any responsibility to pay benefits to the injured players.

Whether owners or their insurance companies try to avoid their responsibilities to their employee’s or not, let’s hope the California legislature and courts remember that the California State Constitution requires ALL workers be provided workers compensation benefits and treatment when they are injured on the job – or field.

Whether you are a famous athlete or not, an experienced work injury attorney can assist you in navigating the ever more complex workers compensation system. If you, or someone you care about, has suffered a work injury, please contact the office of Thomas F. Martin PLC immediately by completing a free Case Evaluation form, or by calling (714) 594-5389.

Categories: Workers Compensation
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