California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation on Tuesday without comment that greatly curtails out-of-state professional athletes from workman’s compensation claims for injuries sustained on the field. After 18 months of lobbying by the NFL, MLB and other major sports leagues, the new law, AB 1309, will prohibit greedy athletes from abusing workman compensation insurers looking for big paydays.
According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 3,400 former NFL players have filed for workman’s compensation, alleging head or brain injuries, since 2006. These athletes include: Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett and Deion Sanders. The Times notes:
“Under terms of the new law, such filings will no longer be permitted from athletes who did not play on a California team for at least two complete seasons. In addition, those who spent seven or more seasons playing outside the state will also be unable to file, even if they meet the two-season California requirement.”
Union groups fear that other out-of-state workers such as truckers, flight attendants and sales people may suffer the same fate in the future if employers and insurers imitate the professional sports leagues’ victory.