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.
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.