Former Chicago Bears Tight End Gets $300,000+ in Comp Case: North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Analysts Debate Implications

July 22, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Gabe Reid, a former tight end for the Chicago Bears, got an award of $325,000 for a knee injury from the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission this week. North Carolina workers’ compensation experts have been closely following NFL related workers’ comp cases like Reid’s – this blog reported last month about California’s dilemma over how and whether to compensate injured athletes who played for teams outside of California but who got hurt in games played in the Golden State.

Reid played for the Bears from 2003 to 2006. The team released him in 2006 to be an unrestricted free agent. His settlement was the biggest settlement for a pro athlete in Illinois history; although another ex-Bear, Mike Brown, recently collected $140,000 for injuries he suffered to his foot and leg while he played for the Bears. More ex-Bears may be eligible to collect additional funds, according to state sports reporters.

How will Reid’s settlement impact similar North Carolina workers’ compensation cases, if at all? Will ex-Panthers be eligible for similarly large payouts? Truth be told, the states individually are in the process of working out how to compensate NFL athletes (and athletes in other sports). And it will likely be several years before policy analysts have enough data to draw any clear conclusions. However, with all the financial pressure on state workers’ compensation agencies to tighten their budgets – and the new POWER initiative launched by the Obama administration, which this blog reported on earlier in the week – it may be more difficult for claimants to win relevant arguments.

Irrespective of what happens to ex-NFLers like Reid and Brown, what can you personally do to improve the likelihood of collecting fair and flexible benefits for your injury or workplace illness?

If you suffered a chronic, debilitating injury at work such as a knee problem or typing injury – or if you got hurt in some kind of acute accident – such as a slip and fall or work-related car accident – you must simultaneously struggle under a number of burdens. First, you must deal with the medical recuperation, which can be exhausting and emotionally draining in and of itself. Then, you need to figure out how to rehabilitate yourself and get back to work in some fashion ASAP – and/or how to deal with your financial situation. And lastly, under certain circumstances, you might have to fight back against unwilling employers, recalcitrant insurance companies, and bureaucratic red tape to get benefits paid out in a timely fashion.

With all these stresses on your shoulders, it may behoove you to discuss your problems with a qualified North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. A good lawyer can simplify your strategy, relieve you of logistical and emotional stresses, and help you collect appropriate payments without hassle or frustration.

More Web Resources:

Gabe Reid case

Mike Brown case