We have helped injured pro athletes in just about every sport. Many of these athletes played for out of state teams, but got injured while in Illinois. They are treated like any other worker when it comes to workers’ compensation laws although their contracts typically entitle them to a higher wage than most if they are injured during the season.
But if an athlete is injured, has their contract end and still is not cleared to return to their former job, they can get TTD benefits just like anyone else. The catch is that if you were making $100,000 a week before you got injured, you’d go on TTD when your contract is out. So if Brian Ulracher blows out his back on Sunday, then he will get $1,261.41 a week when his contract ends. Over one year that is $60,000+, tax free. To Urlacher it probably wouldn’t mean much, but to a younger player who never made “that” much it could be a life saver.
Recently I’ve been contacted by two athletes who were injured 8-10 years ago. Neither of them filed a claim and they wanted to know if it was too late and if it wasn’t, what it was worth. I can tell you unfortunately it was too late for both of them as neither had medical bills related to the injury paid in the last two years (so the time limit to file was blown), but if they did have a case it would be based on what they were making when they got hurt, not when they filed.
A lawyer friend of mine was contacted by a WNBA player who only makes around $40,000 for the season that runs 15 weeks from June until September. The insurance company was arguing that the average weekly wage is around $800 because that is what she makes for an entire year. It works in the same way for teachers. I disagree and think the average weekly wage is closer to $2,700.00 because it’s a seasonal job (wages divided by weeks worked). Unlike someone in the NFL or NBA, the difference for this woman or a soccer player or other lesser paying sport is huge. If the wage is what I think it should be, her weekly benefits are much great and her case is worth much more, especially if it’s a career ending injury.
Overall, athletes are no different than garbage men, secretaries, salesmen, flight attendants or anyone else that we proudly help. The law is all the same, you just need someone in your corner to make sure that the law is followed.
We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.