Professional athletes playing many different sports face multiple risks of injury during practice sessions and official games every day. One of the most commonly reported sports injuries resulting in devastating medical complications is a concussion, a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are so common that many medical authorities report that members of the NFL and other professional sports leagues have some of the highest rates of brain damage of any occupation in the world.
Professional sports teams invest heavily in their athletes’ well-being, and most professional sports organizations employ in-house medical staff to treat their players’ injuries. In addition, injured players often have contractually guaranteed benefits that apply when they are injured and unable to participate in practice or official games. Many professional athletes also have the same right to file workers’ compensation claims for concussions as all other employees working throughout California.
Leviton, Diaz & Ginocchio Inc. is a team of experienced California workers’ compensation attorneys available to help professional athletes struggling with concussions. Though generally considered mild in terms of traumatic brain injuries, these injuries often result in long-term medical complications for victims. A severe concussion is even capable of ending a professional athlete’s career, and navigating the legal issues that often follow these incidents can be incredibly challenging. A California workers’ compensation attorney is the best resource for any athlete who needs to file a workers’ compensation claim for a concussion.
A concussion occurs when a traumatic impact causes the victim’s brain to strike the inside of their skull, resulting in physical injury to the brain’s outer layer. Concussions can range significantly in severity. Some people suffer minor concussions and may not even realize they have been concussed, while others suffer extreme concussions that demand immediate medical intervention. It’s vital for anyone who sustains a concussion to realize that any concussion is capable of causing severe medical complications, and some of these complications can persist for months or even years.
One of the most challenging aspects of recovering from concussions, especially for professional athletes, is that sustaining a concussion leaves the victim more vulnerable to concussions in the future. In addition, when an individual suffers more than one concussion, subsequent concussions are typically more serious than their initial concussions and more likely to cause long-term medical complications.
Concussions can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which can persist for a very long time. Some of the most commonly reported concussion symptoms include:
These are just a few examples of the negative symptoms concussions can cause. Additionally, professional athletes’ income is often contingent on their performance. Unless their contracts have specific provisions regarding concussions and long-term disability, an athlete who suffers a sports-related concussion may not meet their contractual obligations. Workers’ compensation may be just one of several channels of recovery open to a professional athlete in this situation, but it is a crucial one.
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim for a concussion is seemingly straightforward, but there are many issues an injured professional athlete may encounter when they start the claim filing process. While most California employers are generally agreeable and supportive when their employees file workers’ compensation claims, some professional sports organizations may attempt to have injured athletes explore alternative options for recovering from their concussions. Claims against workers’ compensation insurance may cause the organization’s premiums to rise, but employers have a legal obligation to facilitate their workers’ compensation claims.
The claimant must visit a physician approved by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier to receive a disability rating. The physician will conduct a medical examination. If the claimant required emergency treatment from another doctor prior to visiting the workers’ compensation doctor, they must consider the previous doctor’s findings in their evaluation. The workers’ compensation doctor will assign the claimant a disability rating based on the seriousness of their concussion and the likelihood of their concussion causing long-term symptoms and complications. Unfortunately, the long-term effects of some brain injuries are difficult to determine immediately after these injuries occur.
Your disability rating has a strong influence on the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim. The California Department of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) will investigate your claim and award benefits based on your disability rating. The DWC will cover a claimant’s medical expenses and award them short-term disability benefits while recovering from their injury until they can return to work. In addition, some claimants can qualify for permanent disability benefits if they are injured badly enough to prevent them from working in the future. For example, most professional athletes who suffer career-ending concussions have contractual contingencies that can provide financial relief when they can no longer play.
The California workers’ compensation lawyers at Leviton, Diaz & Ginocchio Inc. each have over 20 years of experience handling complex workers’ compensation claims for our clients. We understand the devastating effects a concussion can have. Concussions are especially serious for professional athletes whose livelihoods hinge on their physical capabilities. If you are a professional athlete in California struggling with the aftermath of a concussion, we can assist you with your workers’ compensation claim. Contact Leviton, Diaz & Ginocchio Inc. today to schedule your consultation with an Orange County, California sports concussion attorney.