As the Miami Dolphins prepare to take on the Chicago Bears after losing two franchise quarterbacks to injuries in the same game, the heated discussion regarding the safety of players and health issues in the league draws close to home for South Florida fans. To add “fuel” to the fire, the NFL has a proposed an 18 game regular season which many argue will only increase the injury rate of the players.
Recent actions of the National Football League, however seem to convey efforts to actually reduce the injury rate of the players by imposing fines of tens of thousands of dollars for an illegal hit. In addition, players may be subject to suspension from play for these hits. Player James Harrison was one such player that was fined $75,000. It would appear that NFL is taking strong measures towards ensuring the safety of its players.
So this begs the question as to whether the “Chads” will ever be entitled to benefits under the Florida Workers Compensation Statute paid for by the NFL for their work related injuries?
For our injured Miami Dolphin players, the Florida Workers Compensation Statute does not apply. This is because the laws that govern injured workers in Florida do not apply to professional athletes and does not define them as employees.
Instead, the injured quarterbacks may have to join the many retired professional athletes that have filed workers compensation claims in the state of California, which is the only state that allows injury claims. Attorneys in California have argued that there is jurisdiction if the injured athlete played at least one game there, while there have been rulings that the player must have been a resident or played for a California team.
The NFL is fighting the 100s of workers compensation cases filed by former players who were injured in the course and scope of their employment with the league. The Miami Dolphins have gone so far as to argue that the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits filing claims in California as it requires arbitration instead.
This seems to contradict the NFL’s earlier stated position regarding concern for player injuries and health. Are the recent efforts taken by the NFL an attempt to shift the burden of employee health and safety from the employer to the fellow employees? Or is the NFL making efforts to improve workplace safety in the light of litigation in California and perhaps other States?
In Miami, the Law Office of Ruth E. Johnson represents workers injured in work accidents. Our Miami workers compensation attorney would like to offer you a free case evaluation. Contact us at (305) 720 2086. We have been handling Miami workers compensation cases for over a decade, serving those areas in and around Miami-Dade County, including Hialeah, Coral Gables, Homestead and other cities in Miami.