Florida’s workers’ compensation system has been the subject consternation for some time now. The issue once again came to the forefront of media attention when the state’s new professional football team in the newly formed Alliance of American Football (AAF), the Orlando Apollos, decided they would begin practicing in Georgia because of the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
The Apollos are based in Jacksonville, despite playing their home games in Orlando, so they can more easily be shuttled to practice at a high school in Kingsland, Georgia. The reason this is happening is because Florida, unlike most other states, does not cover professional athletes under its workers’ comp laws. Florida does not legally categorize athletes as employees, which means any athletes injured on the job cannot file workers’ compensation claims.
The state of Georgia agreed to cover the team’s players as long as it practices at least 51 percent of its practice days in the state. The team will spend 36 days practicing in Georgia, and then will bus back for a home game on March 16.
Although it is not an ideal solution, AAF players do not make anywhere near the amount of money as their counterparts in the National Football League. This sort of workers’ compensation coverage can be crucial if a player gets injured on the field.
Critics push for changes in state’s system
This recent story has once again brought the workers’ compensation debate to the forefront in Florida. While some professions are covered well in the state, others, such as professional athletes, are not. A sports team in a popular upstart league having to transport its players across the border to Georgia for workers’ comp purposes is a bit of an embarrassment for the state of Florida.
To learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, meet with a dedicated Bradenton workplace injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh.