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The court divides decisions on NFL players' disabilities



The Virginia Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied workers compensation benefits to a former Washington Redskins player while granting another player's disability.

In Hamilton v. Pro-Football Inc ., The Appeal Court of Alexandria, Virginia, dismissed a former football player's claim that the State Employment Compensation Commission denied him that workers comp "punishes" unfairly for trying to return to professional football instead of looking for other employment.

Player Raymond Hamilton claims he broke a leg in his right foot on December 18, 2015, while at training group Ashburn, Virginia-based Pro-Football Inc., better known as the Washington Redskins. He had two operations and underwent rehabilitation in mid-January 201

6 at Redskins training facilities. But from February to October 2016, he engaged in various rehabilitation in several states varying from one hour a few times a week to no rehabilitation.

On October 3, 2016, Mr. Hamilton worked as a sales representative for a car industry maintenance company, and he applied for temporary total disability for the period December 18, 2015 to October 2, 2016. His claim was partially rejected because of his alleged failure to prove he was marketing his remaining work capacity. Mr Hamilton graduated from the University of Iowa and had been cut from the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers rosters before signing a contract to join the Redskins training group.

A deputy commissioner denied Mr Hamilton's request for temporary total disability and noted Mr Hamilton admitted that he did not "actively seek work" after his injury because he believed he would go back to playing football. The Commission agreed with that assessment, claiming that Mr Hamilton was not completely disabled, could not prove that he underwent extensive rehabilitation in the direction of his employer and did not "credibly" work.

Mr. Hamilton appealed, but the Virginia Court of Appeals confirmed the Commission's decision and noted that the evidence in the record did not indicate that neither the time nor the work required for his rehabilitation prevented him from seeking work. More importantly, the court said it was Mr Hamilton's own testimony that he did not "actively look" for work before getting his sales job in October 2016.

As a result, the appeal court confirmed the Commission's decision, Mr Hamilton denied temporary total disability.

In a second case, Jones v. Pro-Football Inc., also decided Tuesday by the Virginia Court of Appeals, the court claimed that a former Redskins football player was entitled to temporary total disability and permanent disability benefits due to on his shoulder injury but rejected his argument that the average weekly salary he paid should have been nearly seven times higher. The player, Tony Jones, was a Redskins default contractual player as he shifted his shoulder in practice on August 23, 2015, and signed a score sign with the team.

While undergoing physiotherapy, he began to look for work opportunities if he could not return to football and in January 2018 was allocated total temporary disabilities. But Jones claimed that instead of being awarded $ 522.42 per week, based on a weekly worker's salary of $ 783.63, his prize would be calculated based on the weekly $ 6,115.38 that he would have earned under his $ 318,000 contract. An assistant commissioner insisted that Jones Jones's salary depended on surviving presea cuts and his ability to play regular games, and therefore he did not guarantee him that salary, and the full commission agreed with this battle.

The appeals court also found that Mr. Jones' potential football player "was completely hypothetical" and confirmed the Commission's determination that his weekly salary would be determined by actual pre-injury performance, not "speculative forecasts".

Pro-Football could not be reached for comment.

                    


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