Have you ever wondered about the compensation professional athletes like baseball players get when they suffer career-limiting injuries? Many will be surprised to learn that pro sports teams must provide workers’ compensation coverage to their players just like other employers.
There is one caveat, however. Collective bargaining agreements like the ones in place for Major League Baseball players can override the protections offered under workers’ compensation benefits.
The collective bargaining agreement of the MLB requires the pro team to foot the bills under most circumstances for treatment of players injured while training for or playing professional baseball. As such, the players still draw their high salaries while on the injured list, so they don’t need those temporary disability payments provided by workers’ compensation benefits.
However, the MLB teams that are picking up the tab for injured players’ short-term disability and medical costs can recover the equivalent amount of WC monies that players would otherwise have received for on-the-job injuries.
Prior to 2003, league teams had to secure their WC insurance. In that year, the league set up its own group insurance policy for all teams in the league and its franchises. Doing so nearly halved the collective WC exposure of the MLB.
But despite this change and the CBA in place for the MLB, those players suffering from injuries that wind up ending their professional sports careers can still turn to workers’ compensation for long-term disability benefits.
Most injured workers will never need to deal with the special agreements that are in place for professional athletes. They must rely on the provisions and coverage of the workers’ compensation system.
If you were injured on the job and are getting the runaround from your employer about workers’ compensation benefits, a Baltimore workers’ comp attorney can provide advice and guidance.
Source: fangraphs.com, “Major League Baseball and Workers’ Comp,” Nathaniel Grow, Feb. 08, 2017