I’m a fairly casual NFL fan. I know most of the Bears players and many of the “star” players on other teams, but certainly don’t know of most of the role players.
I’d never heard of Michael Roberts before the other day. Last year he was a tight end with the Detroit Lions. I became aware of him after reading a blurb on ESPN.com that he’s failed two physicals this off season due to a shoulder injury. It sounds to me like his career is likely over. He should file an Illinois workers’ compensation claim.
Why would a Detroit player file a case in Illinois? As far as I can tell, Roberts hurt his shoulder in a November game at the Bears. He played a little bit after that, but never fully recovered.
If he can prove he was hurt in Illinois, which it seems like he can, Illinois has jurisdiction over the case. In plain English that means he has a right to file the case here. I’m sure he could also file the case in Michigan, but from everything I know about the law in both states, the benefits in IL would be much greater.
In a case like this in Illinois, Roberts would be entitled to have all of his medical care related to his shoulder problems paid for, likely for his life and he most certainly, assuming he can’t play in the NFL anymore, would be entitled to wage differential benefits of over $1,100.00 per week until he turns 65. Essentially he could count on around $58,000 tax free for the next 40 or so years unless he somehow found a job that made close to what he makes as a player.
So why should any of this matter to you?
The reason it matters is Illinois has some of the strongest laws on the books for protecting workers who suffer career altering injuries. If you work out of another state, but are hurt while on the job in Illinois, you can bring a case here. That’s true whether you are a football player, salesperson, traveling nurse or anyone else.
Over the last 22 years of being an attorney I’ve seen far too many people not file Illinois claims simply because they didn’t know they had a right to. I assume Roberts’ agent or union is making him wise to his rights, but my goal is for everyone to know and exercise their rights. You know the Lions would use every legal right against him. He should do the same.