College athletes justifiably fear injury. A bad injury can limit playing time, threaten a scholarship, and sideline an athlete just when years of hard work finally offer a shot at a national title.
For some college players, getting hurt can also have long-term financial implications. An untimely injury to a student-athlete who expects to go pro can cost the athlete a higher draft slot and the signing bonus that comes with it, or worse, can destroy the athlete’s chances of making a living in professional competition altogether.
The NCAA permits college sports programs to purchase permanent total disability policies (PTD) for athletes who have a shot at the pros. In theory, this insurance gives athletes financial protection against an injury that ends their playing careers. In practice, PTD insurance claims often result in bitter fights over the amount of money, if any, a player should receive after getting hurt. Players can also purchase loss of value or drop in draft slot protection as a rider to permanent total disability coverage.
DarrasLaw represents elite athletes, including high school and college players expected to play in the pros or to go to the Olympics, in disputes over PTD and LoV insurance claims. If a bad injury has sidelined you or the elite student-athlete you parent or coach, and you believe you have an PTD or LoV claim that has not materialized, contact DarrasLaw right away.
Injuries Stalk Elite College Athletes
Top college athletes live in a risky world. They have committed their lives to their sport. In a few short years, they may have a shot at turning their passion into professional stardom. But, for now, they compete as amateurs. They give their all for a university program that does not pay them, even as it reaps massive financial rewards of its own from their successes. One injury can cost them everything they have ever worked for, even their place at the school that benefited from their hard and sometimes dangerous work in their sport.
The potential financial costs of a bad or career ending sickness or injury stretches far into the future for elite student-athletes. If they get sick or injured at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, they could slip in the draft, losing out on (literally) millions in salaries and signing bonuses. Scouts and the teams they represent might lose faith in their ability to play at the elite level altogether. That would mean not just lost signing money, but lost salary, benefits, and endorsement opportunities. After all that hard work, inches from the Promised Land, financial disaster and disability doesn’t discriminate.
PTD Insurance for Student-Athletes
Elite college programs can carry PTD and players can purchase an LoV rider or borrow to pay the premiums to fend off the worst financial outcomes for student-athletes who go down with serious injuries or sickness. PTD and LoV protects athletes against the costs and financial losses associated with injuries and sickness that leave them disabled in the sense of not being able to play, or play at an elite level.
The NCAA authorizes private insurance companies to sell PTD insurance policies and players can purchase on their own LoV riders to cover both career ending and drop in draft or slot protection.
PTD coverage for NCAA athletes is less-controversial, because (in theory) it deals with disabilities that end careers, rather than injuries that only make an athlete less-valuable. Still, that does not mean PTD insurance for college players always delivers the promised benefits. Players and programs making claims against an PTD policy still must prove that the athlete has suffered a disabling injury or career ending sickness, and that is not always as obvious as it might seem.
Sure, sometimes a disability claim against an elite athletics PTD policy proves uncontroversial. A football player who sustains a spinal cord injury in a crushing hit that leaves him paralyzed has obviously suffered a disability that merits payment under the PTD policy his school purchased (or, in some cases, that he purchased himself). Even then, however, the PTD insurance company may fight to reduce the benefits a player deserves by arguing misrepresentation in the application or pre-existing condition clause.
Moreover, oftentimes it is not so clear that an injury will sideline a player from elite athletics permanently. Some injuries have a 50/50 shot at rehabbing, with expert medical treatment and hard work on the athlete’s part. Some injuries seem “minor” in the sense that the athlete remains mobile and even active, but destroy the athlete’s ability to cut, accelerate, or jump so that the athlete will never play at an elite level again. These are judgment calls, and sadly, insurance companies that issue PTD policies or loss of value riders have every incentive to push back on them to limit their financial exposure.
How DarrasLaw Can Help
Some insurance policy issuers push back against even valid claims to save money or meet financial performance targets. Insurance companies that push back too hard on PTD and LoV policy claims may breach their contracts with the parties they insure, at a minimum. Sometimes, they refuse claims so unreasonably that they violate state insurance laws that make it illegal to refuse to pay a claim in bad faith.
For years, DarrasLaw has represented elite athletes, both college and professional, in seeking compensation from insurance policies that are supposed to protect them against the financial consequences of serious injuries or sickness. Our legal team has the experience, resources, and inside knowledge of elite athletics to prepare and pursue disability claims against athletic PTD and LoV riders, and to pursue even more aggressive action for damages against those insurance companies that deny claims in bad faith.
Call DarrasLaw’s Top-Rated NCAA Long Term Disability, PTD and LoV Rider Lawyers
Do not trust your NCAA athletic PTD or LoV claim to just any law firm that advertises for disability claims. PTD and LoV riders for athletes constitute a specialty insurance product. Making successful claims against them, and fighting back against denied claims, requires the sophistication and know-how of a lawyer with specific knowledge of the disability insurance marketplace for elite athletes.
If a potentially career-ending injury or sickness has sidelined you or an elite student-athlete you parent or coach, contact DarrasLaw today to learn about your potential rights to seek substantial compensation under the PTD policy or LoV rider that is supposed to protect you. If you are a player or work for a college and are considering the purchase of a PTD or LoV rider, we can review and evaluate it for you for free so that you understand what it does and doesn’t cover.
For your free policy review and free claim consultation, you can reach our NCAA long term disability lawyers at (800) 458-4577 or by using our confidential email form.