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Workers’ compensation for athletes raises questions of fairness

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2013 | Workers' Compensation |

As many people in Denver are aware, professional athletes who are injured can apply for and receive Colorado workers’ compensation benefits for specific injuries. But, as with other Colorado employees, they are limited to benefits from specific work-related injuries. This means that if someone who plays for, for example, the Denver Broncos were to suffer long-term effects of a traumatic football career, he would only be compensated for the final injury that ended his career.

One state in particular, however, has been known to grant workers’ compensation settlements for professional athletes who have suffered many injuries that will have an aggregated and long-lasting effect on their health. And, it seems that California is one of the only states to do so.

One of the professional athletes that went out of his or her home state for a workers’ compensation package was Denver Bronco Terrell Davis. The seven-year Denver football star had numerous injuries to all parts of his body and was likely going to have lifelong health problems, but Colorado would only have been able to compensate him for a specific injury. So, he left for California and received a $199,000 workers’ compensation settlement.

Some people, many of them in California, are up in arms over the fact that out-of-state athletes can receive benefits in the state. Some athletes have only ever competed once in the state, but they are still eligible. Ultimately, however, shouldn’t athletes and any employee who is injured at work be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits for all the injuries they sustain on the job?

Source: The Seattle Times, “Pro athletes nationwide cashing in on California workers’ comp,” Marc Lifsher, Feb. 23, 2013

Much like professional athletes, Colorado workers who are injured at work are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Find out more by visiting our Denver no-fault work injury page.


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