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Former NFL player wins worker's comp case in Maryland court

The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, has ruled that former Washington Redskins punter Tom Tupa is entitled to worker's compensation after a career-ending injury he suffered during warm-ups in 2005. The decision was unanimous. This case has shed light on the rights of professional athletes to seek worker's compensation benefits in the team's home state as well as where the person is injured -- the Redskins are technically based out of Virginia.

Tupa fell during his pre-game warm-up at FedEx field in Landover, Maryland. His injury will require surgery and a lifetime of medical care. The judge writing on behalf of the court said that the injury was an "accidental work-related injury when he 'landed awkwardly." He cited that not covering an injury sustained in football because the nature of the sport has a risk of injury is comparable to "not covering coal miners when they go into a mine because it's dangerous work."

This case has shed light on cases of worker's compensation for people who work in dangerous environments such as mines, factories and professional sports. Though most workers do not make the type of money that professional athletes make, there are many jobs that are equally dangerous (or more so) that pay significantly less.

Worker's compensation, workplace accidents or personal injury cases in which companies are based in another state than where the injury occurs can be complex, but as this case shows, there is the potential to gain worker's compensation for injuries sustained in the workplace.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Former Redskin Tom Tupa wins worker's compensation case," Andrea F. Siegel, Aug. 22, 2012

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