How Does Workers’ Compensation Apply to Injured Professional Athletes in North Carolina?

November 29 , 2023

At the Ramsay Law Firm, P.A., our Charlotte Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist is one of only two attorneys selected by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Workers’ Compensation attorneys in North Carolina for their workers’ compensation panel.

Outside the Carolina Panthers, the state has the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte FC, the Carolina Hurricanes, and nearly a dozen other sports teams operating at varying professional levels.

Our law firm has intricate knowledge of what workers’ compensation means to professional athletes in all sports, not just NFL players.

When warehouse, office, and hospitality workers suffer an injury at work, they expect to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits that will provide a no-fault remedy so they are not suffering financially because they cannot work. Professional athletes should expect the same, although the system is more complex in most cases. Here’s why.

Injured Professional Athletes

Why Multiple Factors Impact Professional Athletes’ Access to Workers’ Compensation

Like other North Carolina workers, an individual must be considered an employee to be eligible for workers’ compensation. In the case of professional athletes, their employment status may vary depending on factors such as contracts, team relationships, and the nature of their engagement.

That may include:

  • Course and Scope of Employment

Injuries must occur in the course and scope of employment to be compensable. For professional athletes, this typically includes injuries sustained during team practices, official games, and possibly team-sanctioned events. Injuries suffered during personal activities unrelated to work may not be covered.

  • Agreements and Contracts

The terms of the athlete’s contract, including any clauses related to injuries and workers’ compensation, can impact eligibility. Some contracts may specifically address how injuries will be handled, including whether workers’ compensation benefits are available.

  • Team Policies and Insurance

Professional sports teams often have policies and insurance coverage to address injuries athletes suffer. These policies may provide coverage beyond what workers’ compensation offers.

  • League Regulations

The specific sports league regulations and policies to which the athlete belongs may also play a role in determining compensation for injuries.

  • Injury by Accident

North Carolina has an injury by accident requirement, meaning the event which caused the injury must be unusual or unexpected.

Although workers’ compensation benefits may seem straightforward, professional athletes with sports-related injuries in North Carolina should consult our skilled attorneys, who can provide guidance based on the specific circumstances surrounding the injury, the athlete’s employment relationship, and relevant laws and regulations.

This standard can be difficult in some situations and players can benefit from an early consultation with an experienced attorney. Back injuries and occupational diseases have a different legal standard in North Carolina so a non-team doctor evaluation can be important.

Our dedicated Mecklenburg County workers’ compensation law firm provides free consultations to all employees — including professional athletes — who have suffered workplace injuries in North Carolina by calling (704)-376-1616 or contacting us online.

A Voice For The Injured. Here Every Step of The Way.

Why Choose Ramsay Law Firm?

  • Medical Icon

    Familiarity With the Medical Field and How to Effectively Argue Cases

  • Hand Shake

    Work Directly With An Attorney Who Is Devoted to Your Success

  • Lawyer Cases

    Over 60 Years of Combined Experience With Workers' Compensation Cases

  • Hammer Icon

    Two Board Certified Attorneys Dedicated to Your Recovery

Contact Us Today

Let Us Be Your Voice


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

© 2024 All Rights Reserved.