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Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation and NFL Players Association

On April 12, 2012, Attorney James K. Meehan of Karsner & Meehan, P.C. attended the annual National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Workers’ Compensation Panel Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over several days, the group, comprising workers’ compensation attorneys nationwide, addressed issues confronting professional athletes injured while playing. This year’s meeting included lengthy discussions regarding the new collective bargaining agreement entered into by the player’s union and the National Football League.

Discussions also involved the National Football League Players Association’s (NFLPA) recent lawsuit against the National Football League for concussions. The lawsuit alleges that the league failed to disclose to players the severity of their head injuries and failed to provide adequate treatment. In addition, claims are being made that the teams forced players back into action prematurely before full recovery from their concussions. The player’s union is bringing this civil lawsuit in addition to workers’ compensation claims being made for individual players.

Attorney Meehan has been a member of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Workers’ Compensation Panel for almost two decades. Over that time, he has represented numerous professional athletes who sustained premature career ending injuries. He has also represented members of the Boston Red Sox, New England Revolution, and a ballerina for the Boston Ballet Company.

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Law is set forth in M.G.L. c.152. The Act provides disability benefits and medical coverage for most injuries occurring in the workplace. Types of injuries include neck injuries, back injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, psychiatric/stress-related injuries, repetitive trauma injuries, and neurological disorders. Commonly, in the case of an injured professional athlete, the insurance company denies the injury and a claim is filed at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Industrial Accidents. At this agency, the workers’ compensation claim is heard by an Administrative Judge. If benefits are ordered, then the player can receive weekly benefit checks, medical benefits, loss of function/scarring benefits, and vocational rehabilitation or job retraining benefits. The amount and length of benefits generally depends upon the severity of the injury and amount of pre-injury pay.

 
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Quite often a Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation case is resolved by way of a lump sum settlement. Generally, acceptance of a lump sum settlement of a workers’ compensation case closes out the right to receive a weekly disability benefit but leaves open medical benefits and vocational rehabilitation or job retraining benefits for two years. In the case of a permanently disabling injury, a claimant may also be entitled to social security disability benefits.

Karsner & Meehan, P.C. is a well-established law firm, handling work-related injuries for over 30 years. If you or anyone you know has been injured at work in Bristol County, Plymouth County, or elsewhere in Massachusetts, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Karsner & Meehan, P.C. to schedule your free consultation.