More than a one hundred former NFL players, including former Atlanta Falco Jamal Anderson, have filed a federal lawsuit in Atlanta claiming the League failed to properly protect its players from concussions. The League denies that it intentionally sought to mislead players about the dangers of concussions in the past, and the it is not doing enough to protect players today.
The NFL will probably seek to dismiss these lawsuits under the exclusive remedy doctrine. Under Colorado – as well as many other states, including Georgia – the workers’ compensation is the only route for redress against an employer for work injuries. This means an injured worker cannot sue his or her employer for civil damages such as pain & suffering and punitive damages. The NFL is likely to argue that the workers’ compensation system is the only remedy. Player are expected to argue that exclusions worked out in the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the Players Association would permit such law suits.
If NFL players are limited to the workers’ compensation system, they may still be able to sue other parties for inadequate equipment, or fitting of that equipment. The companion lawsuit against the Riddell Corporation would not be barred by the doctrine.
In a related matter, the Atlanta Falcons and the NFL sued the NFL Players Association to prevent injured players from filing workers’ compensation cases in California, where benefits are more generous than those provided for under Georgia law. California law allows claims if the player played at least one game in the state. The Falcons and the NFL won in Arbitration. Injured Falcon players must file their claims in Georgia.
As the designated and endorsed legal counsel for the NFL Players Association in Colorado, Kaplan Morrell aggressively fights for all injured workers. If you’ve been injured or need help filing a workers’ compensation claim in the Denver area, contact us here or call 303-780-7329.