North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Analysts Weigh in on California NFL Claims: Could Similar Disaster Happen Here in NC?

June 7, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The New York Times and other media outlets – including niche North Carolina workers’ compensation blogs! – have spent months reporting about a crazy series of claims out of the Golden State. According to California Labor Code Section 3600.5(b), employees who are temporarily assigned to the work in CT can make claims for long-term injuries.

Section 3600 may not seem like an overly fascinating piece of law, but injured former NFL players (and other ex-athletes) have been leveraging Section 3600 to file for a rainbow of out of state claims. Recently, a Republican in the California state legislature demanded an overhaul to CA workers’ comp rules to prevent “retired professional athletes with no significant nexus to California to file claims for long-term injuries in the state.”

According to an article in the Insurance Journal, Republicans like Curt Hagman believe that “retired professional athletes who never play for California based teams should not be afforded remedy for claims of cumulative trauma under California’s injured workers statutes.” Technically, California taxpayers may not be responsible for paying the out of state claims. But the jurisdictional issue has raised more than a few alarms, especially now that California is practically drowning in a horrific, multiyear fiscal crisis.

Could something similar happen here in the North Carolina workers’ compensation system? Probably not. California’s uniquely structured laws and history have combined to create this Section 3600 debacle. There is no equivalent law on the books in NC. In fact, it’s far more likely that injured North Carolina athletes will file for claims in California than vice versa.

The debacle raises even bigger and broader questions, such as: how can we systematically determine whether injuries occur from cumulative or single traumatic events? How can the workers’ comp system more fairly and accurately divvy up costs among taxpayers and among states? If ex-NFL players are all reporting chronic injuried stemming from their time in the league, how deep does this problem go? And will the newer generation of NFL stars – who play bigger, faster, and more aggressively – suffer even more cumulative damage in the years and decades to come?

For help with a specific question regarding your potential benefits, struggles with an insurer, or debate with an employer, connect with a reputable North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

Curt Hagman

Section 3600


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