Ontario, CA (PRWEB) August 22, 2013
Earlier this month, 13 Major League Baseball Players were suspended in connection to the Biogenesis scandal. Yankee’s star, Alex Rodriguez, was suspended for 211 games and 12 other players for 50 games in attempt to clean performance enhancing drugs out of baseball, according to Reuters*. Over the weekend, Astro’s former MVP, Miguel Tejada, was suspended for 105 games after testing positive for an amphetamine, according to The Washington Post**. Aside from Rodriguez, it was one of the longest suspensions given by the MLB.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig said: “Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports. Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program. We conducted thorough, aggressive investigations guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules”.
Both Rodriguez and Tejada have been on the disabled list lately for physical injuries. While their suspensions may prevent payment from any disability policies the team has purchased to reimburse salary, the scandal brings to light issues about drug use and disability. If the players have private disability plans, how will their drug use affect their ability to receive benefits? Furthermore, is their drug use even considered a disability?
“I wish there was a simple answer to this question, but there just isn’t. Every case is different and if these players try to file a disability claim through their personal insurance provider, you can count on the insurance carriers trying to use their intentional ingestion of a drug, banned by their sport, as a defense to payment. It seems like both players would have these injuries regardless of their drug use, in which case they should both still be able to obtain disability benefits,” says Frank N. Darras, America’s top disability insurance lawyer.
Generally speaking, if illegal drugs caused the disability, made the disability worse or prolonged the disability, the individual may not be eligible for disability benefits, if the drugs were banned by their sport. However, if it can be proven that the disability was caused by outside factors and was not brought on or made worse from illegal drug use, then the person is still eligible to receive their benefits.
While it’s fairly easy to determine whether drugs caused a disability or not, the grey area comes into play with long-term disabilities. Drug abuse takes a toll on the body and insurance companies will argue that prior drug use may prolong a disability regardless of the root cause.
“The ‘prolonged’ or ‘made worse’ clause is where the insurance provider can get you. The claims that get paid are those where the treating doctor says that the drug use is not linked to your disability. Sometimes that can be difficult for even a doctor to rule out. Make sure to consult an experienced disability insurance lawyer if you are facing this situation,” says Darras.
The question remains on how Rodriguez and Tejada will each handle their medical issues and suspensions. Unlike the average American, they hopefully have enough socked away to carry them through.
*Rodriguez among 13 players suspended by MLB, Aug 5, 2013, reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-baseball-doping-idUSBRE9740W320130805
**Royals infielder Miguel Tejada suspended 105 games after testing positive for an amphetamine, August 17, 2013, washingtonpost.com/national/royals-infielder-miguel-tejada-suspended-105-games-after-testing-positive-for-an-amphetamine/2013/08/17/e13a1ed2-076b-11e3-bfc5-406b928603b2_story.html