Former NFL football player Reggie Bush recently obtained a $12.5 million-dollar jury award against the Saint Louis Rams in a third-party negligence claim arising out of a 2015 knee injury suffered during a game. Tort law, which includes negligence claims, was designed to not only to fairly compensate those who suffered injuries caused by the negligence of others, but also to deter conduct that is unreasonably risky or dangerous. The size of this verdict should not only compensate Bush, but should also serve as a financial deterrent to other professional sports teams who allow opposing players to work in unreasonably dangerous conditions. This jury verdict for Bush should help promote safer working conditions for all professional athletes. Continue reading
On March 24, 2016, Alan Schwarz of the New York Times wrote a revealing article outlining the actions the NFL took to manipulate the opinions of neurologists they retained to study the effect of concussions and the health risks related thereto. The article also suggests that the NFL has relied upon lobbyists and lawyers also retained by the Tobacco industry, who used them to deny health risks associated with smoking cigarettes. Schwarz’s article has revealed information not previously made public, including the fact that the NFL omitted at least 100 reported concussions (many suffered by star players such as Steve Young and Troy Aikman). At least one doctor retained by the NFL to study the effects of concussions on the brain admitted that if the data supplied to him was incomplete then his opinions would not be valid. Continue reading
As the publicity of the NFL’s concussion crisis continues to increase, and public pressure continues to mount for the NFL to assume financial responsibility for the costs associated with injuries suffered by former NFL players, the NFL continues to deny former player’s claims for workers’ compensation benefits. The most recent example is former NFL player Robert Alexander, who suffered a cracked vertebrae in his neck, had his claim denied and has now been pending for 3 years in California. Continue reading
In October of 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new bill that restricts the rights of many former professional athletes from pursuing workers’ compensation benefits in California. It is not often that the topic of workers’ compensation draws the attention of the mainstream media, however given the popularity of the topics of NFL concussions and the rising cost of medical care, this issue has certainly become extremely important to former professional athletes and owners of professional sports franchises alike.
WHY WAS CALIFORNIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SO IMPORTANT FOR NFL PLAYERS?
California has long allowed former players to receive compensation for “cumulative trauma” and has a liberal statute of limitations. Most other states do not recognize cumulative trauma and have very restrictive statutes of limitations. In the past, many former players who either lived or played for teams outside of California and did not begin to suffer the effects of sports related injuries until after the statute of limitations had elapsed in their home state would turn to California as their fall back option, providing them with necessary compensation for medical care. Continue reading