Workers’ compensation claims can be complex. In fact, one such claim was brought to the attention of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The court, however, declined to hear the appeal.

The matter in question involved former Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive back, Ainsley Battles. Battles, who had torn a hamstring back in 2004, underwent surgery and began a rehabilitation regimen with the Steelers athletic trainer. However, the team decided not to resign him in 2005 and he retired from football in 2006 after not being offered a spot to play with any other team. Battles maintained that the hamstring injury deprived him of the ability to play professional football.

Battles filed a claim for total disability benefits for the period of Sep. 12, 2004 until Jan. 30, 2007. He also sought partial benefits from Jan. 31, 2007 until the present.

A workers’ compensation judge ruled against Battles by concluding the injury did not result in income loss and that there was no compensable disability period. It was further ruled that Battles physical ability was restored and he could have returned to professional football. The judge ruled that Battles did not lose his spot on the team because of injury. Instead the Steelers allegedly found a better player.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board agreed with the administrative judge. It was felt that the burden of demonstrating a compensable disability was not met in that no loss of earnings was demonstrated.

Unfortunately, not every workers’ compensation claim will be on the side of the injured worker. These cases can prove to be complicated and therefore it’s helpful to speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when filing a claim.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, “Pa. Supreme Court denies appeal of former Steelers player Ainsley Battles in workers’ comp case,” Jon Campisi, Jan. 27, 2014