When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's heart stopped during a recent Monday-night football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, millions of people received a shocking reminder of the danger that professional football players face when they step out onto the field. Many of us were riveted by the images of medical personnel feverishly working to restart the fallen player's heart. Our hopes and prayers followed him as he was carried off the field and rushed to the hospital.
Fortunately, Mr. Hamlin survived and, as of this writing, is out of the hospital and concentrating on his recovery. While he does so, of course, he's not practicing or playing with the Bills, which may raise the question of whether he's entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
NFL Players and Workers' Compensation
According to the NFL Players' Association, in many cases, injured players are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Indeed, in Louisiana, workers' compensation benefits are available to almost any employee working for a company that is required to provide such benefits to its workers. In this respect, the CEO who slips on a wet floor in the office on their way to a conference room may be covered in the same way as a warehouse employee who injures their back while loading trucks.
Qualifying for Workers' Compensation Benefits
The first question in an injury case is whether it was caused by an accident in the workplace and during the course of the employee's employment. In Louisiana, an “accident” has a specific definition: it means “an unexpected or unforeseen actual, identifiable, precipitous event happening suddenly or violently, with or without human fault, and directly producing at the time objective findings of an injury which is more than simply a gradual deterioration or progressive degeneration.”
One question is whether Mr. Hamlin's injury resulted from an “accident.” It would be difficult to argue that the conditions that appear to have caused his heart to stop were not “unexpected or unforeseen;” his injury, after all, is far from an everyday occurrence, even in the context of a professional football game.
General Workers' Compensation Benefits in Louisiana
In Louisiana, workers injured in an on-the-job accident may be entitled to have their approved medical and rehabilitation care paid for by workers' compensation insurance. If their injury prevents them from working, they may receive disability payments as well. Certain recovery-related expenses, such as mileage for driving to and from medical appointments and the cost of medically required equipment like braces and wheelchairs, may also be paid for by workers' compensation benefits.
If You've Been Injured at Work, Contact the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, for Help
If you've been injured on the job – whether or not you're a pro football player – contact the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, if you have questions about your rights to receive workers' compensation benefits. And if you've applied for benefits and your employer or its insurer has denied your claim, attorney Delsa can help you make sure you receive what you're entitled to under the law. Attorney Delsa has been helping clients injured in workplace accidents fight for their rights under Louisiana's workers' compensation laws for years. The Delsa Law Firm, LLC, has helped clients all over Louisiana as well as the Mississippi Gulf Coast, in towns such as Poplarville and Picayune, and they can help you too.
Whether you live and work in Louisiana or commute from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, can help you. Our office is in Slidell, just off Interstate 12, and close to the intersection of 12, 10, and 59. Call Delsa Law Firm, LLC, today at (985) 882-1222, or use our online contact form to reach out and learn how we can help.