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Former Cleveland Browns punter wins workers' comp claim

Ohio football fans may be familiar with the case of Tom Tupa, a longtime NFL punter for such teams as the Cleveland Browns and Ohio State. Tupa recently won a contested workers' compensation claim in Maryland's highest court.

This case demonstrates that some businesses, especially those with deep pockets such as the NFL, will go to great lengths to contest the compensability of a particular claim to worker's compensation.

In this case, the NFL argued that the workplace accident should not be payable because of the rough nature of the sport of football. They also tried to argue that the state did not have proper jurisdiction over the claim.

The facts as presented to the court, however, clearly demonstrated that Tupa was warming up for a game in 2005 when he landed awkwardly on his back. Evidence was presented that Tupa immediately sought medical attention following his injury and that he never played football again after his injury. The court found that his workplace injuries were clearly job related and that they occurred out of and in the course of his employment.

It is very unfortunate that Tupa had to fight so hard for the benefits that he was legally entitled to receive under workers' compensation laws. Now that the court held that his claim is compensable, he will likely be entitled to the same sorts of benefits that are afforded under the Ohio workers' compensation system; namely, medical treatment for his injuries and payment for related medical expenses, compensation for lost wages and additional benefits if he was temporarily or permanently disabled as a result of his workplace accident.

Source: Cleveland.com, "Tom Tupa, former Brecksville High, OSU and Browns player, wins workers comp case for career-ending injury," Aug. 23, 2012

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