Tom Tupa, one-time punter for the Washington Redskins, suffered a back injury in 2005 warming up before a preseason game at FedEx Field in Maryland.
Tupa’s career was over. He filed for workers’ compensation, a claim that the Redskins and their insurance company fought vigorously.
The case made its way through the courts. The team and the carrier argued that Tupa’s injury – falling down awkwardly before a game – was not an “accidental injury.” The Maryland Court of Appeals called the legal equivalent of a penalty on that one: Their position was “conspicuously wrong,” the court said.
Also, they said that Tupa had contracted away his right to comp in Maryland by agreeing to be bound by Virginia’s workers’ comp laws.
Also a loser. The court found that Maryland law expressly precludes that kind of waiver.
Tupa’s medical bills will be covered for the rest of his life. He now lives in Ohio, where he is a recreational director.