Earlier this month, 26-year-old Zack Follet--formerly a linebacker with the Lions--went to court for a settlement conference on a worker's compensation claim against both the Lions and Liberty Mutual, the team's insurance carrier. In his complaint, Follett claims to be suffering from neck, should, feet, knee and finger injuries as a result of the two seasons he spent with the Lions.
Follett's career ended during the 2010 season when he experienced a season-ending neck injury. Like many people who are injured on the job, he sought compensation from the employer he was working for.
Nowadays, Follett works in his hometown of Clovis, California, at a coffee shop, but he carries around "severe pain" from his football days. Follet's worker's compensation claim was reportedly denied based on jurisdiction. His contract, according to the team and insurance company, should have been filed in Michigan rather than California.
Follett filed his claim in California because that state, unlike most, honors claims for "cumulative trauma" injuries. As we've noted in previous posts, however, legislation going through congress would limit the ability of professional athletes who spent most of their career out-of-state from filing a workers' compensation claim in California.
Filing a successful claim is not always a smooth process. In some cases, injured workers have to take legal action when their company or the insurer put up barriers to properly compensating the worker. Those who find that they run into problems with their employer or they system may benefit from speaking to an experienced attorney about their legal options.
Source: Zack Follett, "Detroit Lions headed to court over workers' comp," Dave Birkett, July 5, 2013.