A former National Football League punter can now receive workers’ compensation payments from the state of Maryland, the Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled.
The man played for the NFL’s Washington franchise, which has its corporate offices and practice facilities in Virginia. However, the team plays its home games in Landover, Maryland.
The team had contended that the retired punter had filed his claim in the wrong jurisdiction and should have been covered by the laws of Virginia. The appellate court, however, ruled that it could rule over the player’s claim and that Maryland laws should apply.
The man was injured several years ago before a preseason game on the team’s home field. He reported that during the pregame warm-up time, he felt a pain in his back after landing in an odd position after kicking a practice punt. He immediately reported the condition and requested medical treatment.
The man followed his prescribed course of medication and underwent physical therapy, but he said his back pain did not get better. He then filed his workers’ comp claim. The court ruled that the workers’ comp laws in Maryland do not allow an employer to be exempt from paying benefits earned in that state.
Football is a dangerous game that causes injuries to dozens of professional players each year. The team is responsible for the man’s medical expenses for injuries he incurs on the field, as it is his job that he performs every day. Such teams or companies should not try to back away from its responsibilities when it comes to settling a workers’ comp claim. Injured workers need the compensation in order to afford medical care or maintain their well-being while recovering from their injuries.
Source: Risk & Insurance, Redskins’ punter can collect benefits in Maryland despite contract terms,” Nov. 12, 2012