NFL lawsuit brings controversy to California workers’ compensation laws

Curt HagmanA California labor law that has been drawing an extreme number of former pro football player workers’ compensation claims has been targeted by a Republican member within the California State Legislature, who seeks a complete overhaul.

The leading Republican member in question, Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills), is on the Assembly Committee on Insurance, and stated that the current framework for worker’s compensation within California is “outrageous”, in that it permits former professional athletes without any real tie to the state to make long-term injury claims within it.

The reason for this is that there is a statute in California that is unlike any other in the country, which provides employees with protections when they have been temporarily assigned to work in the state. According to analysts, there are still hundreds of pending claims from out of state.

The issue came into the spotlight in June 2011, when the Denver Broncos of the NFL were sued by a segment of Travelers Insurance regarding workers’ compensation claims made by retired Broncos players, who filed them within California.

Hagman feels that former professional athletes who had never played on a team based within the state should not be permitted to file cumulative trauma claims by way of the statutes for injured workers. He said that “It’s ridiculous and there definitely needs to be an investigation.”

He also explained that lawmakers should look into this loophole or the abuse of this statute when they reconvene in the Legislature’s next regular session, which will begin on January 4, 2012. He said that he may introduce legislation himself, after he has looked into the issue further.

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