The Detroit Lions and their insurance carrier are contesting a workers’ compensation claim made by former linebacker Zack Follett in California based on the grounds of jurisdiction.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Follett, who runs a coffee shop in Clovis, Calif., now, has filed a claim because his attorney claims the ex-player is in “severe pain” from neck and shoulder injuries suffered in two seasons in the NFL.
Follett was taken off the field in 2010 during a game against the Giants after a helmet-to-helmet collision left him with a serious neck injury. It was the final game he ever played in as he missed the remainder of the season and was released shortly after the NFL’s lockout ended in 2011.
According to the report, Follett’s contract required him to file a workers’ compensation claim in Michigan. So, the club and Liberty Mutual are battling him over filing in another state. Players have long flocked to California to make claims against teams because of the state’s liberal laws there. They make claims based on playing a single game or a handful of games in the state during their career.
The NFL has been pushing hard to stop this. We’ll see where Follett’s case goes.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune