Election Day: Your Chance to Be Heard

In my new office’s  waiting room is a framed poster. It says "The Labor Movement…The Folks That Brought You …Child Labor Laws….Health Benefits…Workers’ Comp….Equal Pay for Equal Work….The Weekend….(etc.). The poster also contains a quote: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." (Frederick Douglass.) I love that poster.

What’s my point? Well, this poster represents my views about the importance of the labor movement throughout history. It is Organized Labor that has brought about so many needed reforms. Accordingly, I normally VOTE for those candidates that show support for labor.

This entire article contains my opinions, and yours may be different. I am tired, however, of candidates who campaign SOLELY on a platform that that candidate "will lower your taxes." Is lowering taxes the only important  issue for politicians to run on? Why is this always the main thrust of political campaigns? Do candidates think taking a stand on ANY OTHER issue other than taxes is too much for the electorate to comprehend? Can someone explain this phenomenon to me?

Casting a vote in the first place is the key. If you are unhappy with the way your  country, state, county or town operates, did you try to change it in some way? Did you vote? Did you engage in meaningful discussion with your neighbors? Or did you just sit back and complain without doing anything to effect change?

Just a reminder that you should exercise your right to vote. If you don’t, someone else who may not agree with your views, will.

See you at the voting booth.

Workers’ Comp and Pro Sports

I’m a sports nut- like many people I know. I follow all four major pro sports and have read literally hundreds of sports books and publications in my lifetime. I’ve been to and watched countless games. What many people don’t know, interestingly, is that almost all pro sports injuries in the U.S. are covered by Workers’ Compensation.

In February this article appeared in the L.A. Times:

Last fall, the National Football League scored a huge victory in California, helping push through a new law barring most professional athletes from filing workers’ compensation claims in (that particular)  state.

But that win has come at a cost.

Publicity from a high-profile battle over the legislation prompted players from around the country to file more than 1,000 injury claims just prior to a September deadline – a huge influx that could cost the nation’s top professional sports leagues hundreds of millions of dollars to resolve.

In the first two weeks of September, current and retired players filed 569 claims against NFL franchises, 283 claims against Major League Baseball clubs, 113 against National Hockey League teams and 79 against NBA squads, a Los Angeles Times analysis of state workers’ compensation data found.

Nearly 70% of the filings include allegations of head or brain injuries caused by repetitive trauma. Most of these athletes appeared to have never played for a California team; they filed claims based on repetitive injuries they say were sustained in part during road games played in the state. It is those claims that are now barred under the new California law.

Among the athletes rushing to beat the deadline were sports legends such as Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer and Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon, as well as many lesser-known retirees, some suffering serious physical impairment. A number of active players, including San Francisco 49ers standouts Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore, also filed claims.

My understanding of what happened in California is that every NFL injured player- whether they played for a California-based  team or not- used to file for comp in California because that state had the most favorable comp law. (Every state has its own separate Workers’ Comp law.) In California, even visiting players could file, and California allowed claims for “cumulative” injuries—successive blows led to concussions that added up to brain damage. However, after the law changed, players weren’t allowed to do this unless they played for a California team (like the Lakers or Sharks, for instance.)

So what’s my point here? My point is, that professional athletes who are suffering these head injuries, with attendant brain damage, or career-ending injuries, actually do have Workers’ Compensation as one way of recovering lost wages and for obtaining medical treatment for their injuries. But professional athletes are subject to what the law in their particular state says about cumulative injuries.

New York allows claims for cumulative trauma. I have both a love of sports and  a career-long enthusiasm for my law practice of Workers’ Comp—so maybe I can combine the two! I would be happy to help any injured pro player.

So, to any and all injured New York Jets, Giants, Mets, Rangers, Knicks, Nets, Yankees and Islanders : feel free give my law firm a call!