Massachusetts Attorneys Representing Athletes in Workers’ Compensation Claims
For most people, injuries incurred as part of a sports activity are not likely to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits because they occur during personal or extracurricular time that is not related to employment. However, for some athletes, sports are their job, and they, like all other workers, are entitled to benefits for harm that occurs as a part of employment. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our workers’ compensation lawyers understand that Massachusetts is home to hundreds of amateur and professional athletes who risk the possibility of injury on a daily basis. If you are one of these individuals and are curious about filing a claim for benefits, we are available to assist you.
The Nature of Sports Injuries
Sports injuries among athletes typically take one of two forms: immediate injuries or chronic long-term conditions. An immediate injury is seemingly obvious. If you experience a broken bone or torn ligament on the field that prevents you from competing, or doing your job, for several months, this is an injury that may entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits. However, more commonly, professional athletes may experience disorders or conditions that manifest only after years of playing grueling competitive sports. For instance, permanent injuries to joints may occur, or players may begin to experience severe side effects resulting from prolonged high-contact activity, such as head trauma, brain damage, or concussions. These are serious physical conditions that can permanently prevent an athlete from performing on a professional level and impair future employment down the road. Both types of injuries may make an athlete eligible for compensation, including the possibility of permanent partial or total disability when there is no immediate prospect of recovery.
How a Claim Can Affect a Professional Career
Because of the high-profile and lucrative nature of many professional athlete positions, athletes may be concerned about the potential implications of filing a worker’s compensation claim. It is important to understand that all employees are legally obligated to provide workers’ compensation under Massachusetts law, and employers fully expect that their employees will be compensated for injuries that occur on the job.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim does not require you to initiate litigation against your employer. Instead, you must only file a claim with the Massachusetts’s Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), which will then contact your employer’s insurance company regarding your claim. If the claim is not contested, benefits will be awarded rather quickly, and you will not be required to spend further time in the courtroom. If the insurer has any issue with your claim, you will be entitled to resolve such disputes in a private forum with the insurer, with minimal threat of conflict or exposure. In some situations, the insurer may offer you a lump sum settlement to resolve your claim with a single payment. This option has potential drawbacks as well as advantages, so you may want to discuss it with an attorney before accepting it.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system, which means that you will not need to show that you were not responsible for your injury. Depending on the extent of the harm, you may be entitled to benefits for a partial disability, a temporary and total disability, or a permanent and total disability. A partial disability applies when your earning capacity is reduced but not eliminated. It normally lasts for a maximum of five years but can be extended. Temporary and total disability benefits, which can last for up to three years, give workers 60 percent of their average weekly salary. People who are permanently and totally disabled from performing any type of job can receive two-thirds of the maximum state average weekly wage for the duration of their disability. This amount also will be adjusted according to annual cost of living increases.
Seek Advice from a Massachusetts Lawyer After a Work Injury
At Kantrovitz & Associates, our work injury attorneys understand the unique circumstances that athletes in Massachusetts may face when they are coping with harm related to their profession. We will work with you to carefully evaluate your injury, claim, employment contract, and any union collective bargaining agreements that may apply to your circumstances in order to help you seek the maximum amount of benefits available to you. Our firm has represented residents of the Boston region as well as the Merrimack River area and Plymouth, Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex Counties. Set up an appointment with us by calling (800) 367-0871 or completing our online form.