The concussion lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL) reached a milestone this week, as a federal judge approved a preliminary settlement. According to a report by CNN, the settlement agreement will provide neurological examinations for retired players who are deemed eligible. Monetary amounts will then be awarded in cases where the tests result in a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The settlement also reportedly includes provisions for the families of deceased players.
According to reports, the class action lawsuit includes thousands of former NFL players and accuses league professionals of purposely keeping valuable health related information from them. The complaint alleges that NFL executives knew about the negative effects of concussions and the substantial health risks involved in the sport of football. Despite knowledge of these risks, officials allegedly kept them from the players.
Changes to the Original Settlement
In January 2014, an initial settlement offer was denied in federal court. The judge found that the offered compensation of $765 million was insufficient to adequately address the overwhelming number of claims. Under the settlement agreement, current and former players
would have the opportunity for testing and a set amount of compensation from the settlement fund. Despite the large fund amount, critics saw it as a win for the owners and a blow to the injured players, noting that a lawsuit would likely result in a substantially higher penalty against the owners.
The problem was resolved with the new settlement offer. According to the CNN report, there is no maximum limit on the monetary amount of payment for claims. The settlement also guarantees continuous payment of all legitimate claims for 65 years. Under the agreement, $75 million will pay for the initial medical testing. Thereafter, retired players with five years of experience will receive $1.5 million to $5 million. The total amount depends on the age of the player and seriousness of the injury. Players with less experience will receive smaller compensation amounts. Though roughly 5,000 players are included in the lawsuit, the article asserts that nearly 20,000 players may prove eligible under the settlement. Additionally, league officials will also likely pay more than $1 million in legal fees.
According to a report in the New York Times, the settlement does not satisfy all of the involved players. Seven retired players objected to the proposed agreement, stating it falls short of protecting players who have already retired, including those who played with NFL Europe, which no longer exists. A fairness hearing on all issues and arguments will occur in November.
Football and Brain Injuries
The news is filled with stories about the connection between football and traumatic head injuries. The physical nature of the game often results in concussions, which is caused by sudden movements of the brain inside of the skull. Though the helmet is meant to protect the player from head injuries, accidents still occur and cause injury to the brain.
If you or your child has suffered from the effects of a sports related brain injury, contact the experienced brain injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti at (877) 374-1417 for a free consultation.