Hockey puck in the middle of a rink.

Shortly before the NHL season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk suffered a nasty injury — a skate to the eye. However, Boychuck will not be able to seek compensation for his workplace injury. There are special rules that apply when a professional athlete is involved in a workplace accident.

Skate to the Face

Boychuk was battling Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen at the net when Lehkonen took a tumble. His foot came way up in the air, and his blade of his skate hit Boychuk right in the face.

Boychuk fell to the ice in pain, holding his glove to his face, then quickly skated off the ice, toward the locker room.

After the game, it was reported that Boychuck had been hit in the eye. He ended up needing 90 stitches and a visit to a plastic surgeon. He will need some time to recover, but one thing he won’t need is an experienced personal injury attorney.

Why Not?

Boychuk was clearly working at the time of his accident, there is video evidence of the incident, and he has probably wracked up substantial medical bills, but he will not be able to seek compensation for his injury by filing a typical workplace injury lawsuit.

Why not? It seems like a slam-dunk case! The answer is there are special legal rules that apply when a professional athlete is injured on the job.

Most professional athletes know they are assuming the risk of injury when they step onto the ice, field, or court. Unless the other player was acting recklessly and intended to cause an injury, or the team was not following the rules that protect its players, there is little recourse for a professional athlete that is injured during routine play.

Injury Should Not Be Part of the Job

While professional athletes know they are putting themselves at risk of an injury, and are therefore barred from pursuing a workplace injury claim, other workers at risk of injury are not in the same boat.

Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others — construction, road work, first responder, etc. Workers in these fields know what they are signing up for. However, they should not be expected to just “suck it up” or “deal with it” if they are injured on the job.

In New Jersey, Workers’ Compensation provides workers injured on the job with help paying for ongoing medical expenses, coverage for any property damage (a broken watch or iPhone, for example), and two-thirds of their lost income.

Injured workers can also consider filing a third party claim against the property owner, construction contractor, or a maintenance company — if the negligence of any of these third parties caused the injury.

Whatever the situation, if you have been injured on the job, Levin & Malkin, an outstanding personal injury law firm in Hackensack, is ready to provide you with powerful assistance. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, so we can help get you back on the ice.

Posted in: Personal Injury, Work Accidents