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Back injury to Redskins' punter leads to Maryland work comp ruling

In our September 27 post, we wrote about the workers' compensation dispute concerning a former punter for the Washington Redskins. The Redskins' insurance company took the position that the injured punter should have filed his claim in Virginia, where the team has its practice facility. The company made this argument even though the Redskins are incorporated in Maryland and the injury occurred there.

The Maryland Court of Appeals has held, however, that it has jurisdiction over the player's claim - and moreover that he suffered an injury in the course of his employment that was eligible for Maryland workers' compensation benefits.

The case is a reminder of how well established workers' compensation protections are in Maryland. These protections are so strong that even a contract provision attempting to direct claims to another state does not necessarily override the right of an employee who is injured in Maryland from seeking workers' comp there.

The injury occurred before a preseason game that was played in Maryland. The punter landed awkwardly after kicking the ball and experienced significant pain in his lower back. He sought medical attention immediately, took medication and underwent physical therapy. But the condition did not improve, and so the player applied for workers' compensation in Maryland.

That's when the Redskins' insurance carrier tried to direct his claim toward Virginia. But the Maryland Court of Appeals did not allow this. The court held that under Maryland workers' compensation law, employers are not allowed to make agreements that exempt them from work comp benefits that are payable in Maryland or waiving a worker's right to receive them.

Source: "Redskins' punter can collect benefits in Maryland despite contract terms," Risk & Insurance

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