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Injured Athletes Cashing In On California Workers’ Compensation

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An injured 49er is attended to on the field. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

An injured 49er is attended to on the field. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Pro athletes, many representing out-of-state teams, have been awarded millions of dollars from the California Workers’ Compensation program over the last three decades, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

According to the report, NFL players who appeared in as few as one game in the golden state have filed claims for their injuries. Unlike other states, California allows the players to file claims not just for the specific injuries suffered during the games, but also the long-term complications of participating in the sport.

Since 1980, payments have totaled $747 million has been paid to roughly 4,500 athletes, according to a study cited by The Times. The “vast majority” of the claimants played for out-of-state teams – including NFL start Terrell Davis, and Michael Irvin, as well as NBA Hall of Famer Moses Malone, all of whom reached six-figure settlements.

A firm known as Pro Athlete Consulting even lists handling these claims as one of its specialties on the company website.

Since workers’ comp is employer-funded, the cost goes to business owners rather than regular taxpayers. According to the Times, NFL owners claim that players are exploiting the system, clogging courts and potentially driving up workers’ comp insurance for all business owners by potentially driving up workers’ compensation insurance through increased claims.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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