Arizona legislators have proposed a bill that would end the ability for professional athletes in Arizona to file workers’ compensation claims out-of-state, even if that is where an injury occurred.
Legislation approved early in March by the House Commerce Committee would require that any claim for medical care or lost wages by athletes employed by Arizona-based sports teams to be filed in Arizona. This is cause for concern because the claims would have to adhere to Arizona laws which are less generous than many other states.
The driving force behind the proposed law is the two major sports teams, the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Cardinals, who are trying the limit the liability of former athletes claiming degenerative injuries from their time of the court and field.
Republican Senator John McComish, said that SB1148, which has already been approved by the Senate, was brought to him by the sports teams.
An attorney for the Arizona Diamondbacks said that the team has been ravaged by many claims filed in California by former athletes who believe they should receive benefits. The Diamondbacks are currently dealing with 30 claims filed in California but only two in Arizona.
An attorney for the NFL Players Association has argued against bill stating that his members need to retain the ability to file claims in California because the football industry has a “100 percent injury rate”. The issue is not what happens during the athlete’s time with the professional team but the lifelong effects of the stressful occupation.
Arizona law requires that claims need to be filed within a year of the injury of the claim will be forfeited.