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Workers' compensation clause upheld in employment contract

NFL players, like other employees in West Virginia and across the country, may have a right to seek workers' compensation if they get injured on the job. However, retired defensive end Vaughn Booker recently discovered that not all states administer the same type of workers' compensation program, and the terms of your employment agreement may impose further restrictions on that process.

Booker, believing he had the option of filing for workers' compensation in any of the states where he had played, sought benefits from a state where he only played a single game over ten years ago. Booker had selected the out-of-state forum because it provided higher benefits payouts and had a longer statute of limitations period than his team's home state.

The out-of-state workers' compensation board ruled that Booker could not forum shop because of a clause in his NFL employment contract, requiring him to file any workers' compensation claims exclusively in his team's home state. The board further observed that the forum selection clause should be enforced -- and did not appear susceptible to voiding for reasons of fraud, adhesion or duress -- because Booker had negotiated very favorable terms elsewhere in the contract.

If you were injured on the job and did not receive medical and wage loss benefits from your employer, an attorney can guide you through the claim process and help you obtain the recovery you deserve. However, filing a claim for workers' compensation can be a confusing process.

In West Virginia, where the workers' compensation program has been privatized (and is being administered by Brickstreet Insurance), you may be unfamiliar with new administrative procedures. Perhaps you discovered that your employment agreement contains limitations of which you were unaware. In the event your claim is denied, workers' compensation appeals in West Virginia may proceed to the state's highest court, which can be very intimidating. If facing any of these issues, you want an attorney on your side to help you present your best case.

Source: SB Nation, "California Workers Compensation Laws Remain Sticking Point For NFL, Players," David Fucillo, May 22, 2012

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