Professional football players, like other employees, are covered by state workers’ compensation laws. Pennsylvania professional sports teams are required, like all employers, to provide workers’ compensation benefits to players injured on the job. However, with career-altering injuries and large sums of money at stake, these cases are sometimes aggressively contested and should always be handled by a competent Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney.
In a recent case, a judge ruled that the Philadelphia Eagles were required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to Victor Abiamira. In August of 2011, Abiamira endured an Achilles’ tendon rupture in his right foot at training camp. After it was surgically repaired, he received rehabilitation with the Eagles’ athletic training staff. In March of 2012, one month after his contract ended, Abiamira suffered the same injury to his left foot, which ended his professional football career as a defensive end.
The Eagles violated state regulations by not reporting Abiamiri’s first injury as a workers’ compensation case. The team did not issue a notice of compensation payable (NCP) or pay wage loss benefits. Still, they argued that Abiamiri was compensated with medical treatment, regular salary after the first injury, and a severance payment of $55,000 when his contract ended. On March 6, 2017, in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the state appeals court panel found that the team did not obey the law. The exact amount of Abiamiri’s compensation payments was not specified, but certainly exceeded the amount of his severance payment. Subsequently, the Eagles were required to pay an additional fifty percent penalty on the compensation amount due to their failure to report the case and the delay of awarded compensation benefits.
The Eagles also argued that Abiamiri’s second injury was not work-related. In his testimony, Abiamiri stated that he was undergoing rehabilitation for his first injury at a private facility when the second injury occurred. His physician also stated that Abiamiri sustained a rupture in the left foot while working with trainers to rehabilitate his right foot. Ultimately, the judge and Board found that both injuries were work-related, thereby requiring the team to compensate Abiamiri for his second injury as well.
If you are a professional athlete who has suffered a disabling injury, our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers can help you in getting the compensation benefits that you deserve. We work closely with players to ensure that you receive the maximum possible compensation for these injuries, which can forever alter your playing ability. You may be entitled to paid medical expenses, including treatment and rehabilitation, and wage-loss benefits, including total, temporary, or partial disability.
Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates can help you with the workers’ compensation claims process. Please contact us at 888.PITT.LAW to discuss your case. Our firm serves clients in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.