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Professional Athletes Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Even though it may now be harder for professional athletes to file new workers’ compensation claims in California, current claims are unaffected. 

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 1309, which allows only professional athletes that spent 80% of their duty days in California to file workers’ compensation claims based on repetitive stress injuries. 

The bill’s sponsor, Henry Perea, D-Fresno, said that 34 new out-of-state athletes file a new claim each month. Unlike some other workers’ compensation reform measures, this bill is not retroactive and does not apply to current cases.

Workers’ compensation hearing process

After you file your claim and collect evidence in support of your medical condition and medical expenses, the initial claim in California is heard by a claims administrator. This hearing is strictly an administrative hearing, and the claims officer may simply review the file and issue a decision with little or no explanation. 

If your claim is denied, you may file a Petition for Reconsideration and have your case heard before the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WACB). At that hearing, an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney can be an effective advocate for you. 

  • The WACB is a full, judicial-style hearing. The WACB hears the arguments of counsel and has the power to subpoena witnesses.
  • Before the hearing, your attorney has the opportunity to prepare your case by investigating the facts and researching the applicable law.
  • The WACB has its own unique procedural rules, so your attorney needs to be familiar with workers’ compensation law in California. 

For a free consultation with a law firm focused on helping injured workers and that charges no up-front legal fees, contact one of our four convenient office locations.

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