P.I. Pulse: The NFL Settles with Former Players

Sep. 6th, 2013   /  

 

As we have previously discussed on this blog, in recent years, many former NFL players have joined together to file a lawsuit against the National Football League for damages they have incurred as a result of injuries sustained while playing football (many stemming from concussions, etc.). Former players have been known to suffer from great mental disabilities and serious psychological hindrances as a result of hits they took as players on the field for the NFL. Some have even committed suicide due to their emotional pain.

The lawsuit was founded upon the notion that when performing a job, as NFL players did, there is an expectation that the employer is going to care for the well being of the employee (the player). It was argued, by the class of former players and their attorneys, that the NFL did not fulfill their duty of care in trying to prevent the catastrophic injuries that many players experienced while active in the game and dealt with the ramifications of long after they had retired.

It also was alleged that when a player did sustain a concussion, the NFL did not have proper safety protocols to allow the player enough time to recover from the brain injury.  Many players were improperly cleared to go back out and play again before the concussion and the associated symptoms resolved.

This year, just very recently, the players involved in the suit – and many others not involved in the suit – are starting to see compensation for their damages. Through mediation, the NFL, in a landmark move, has agreed to settle with the former players for a tentative amount of $765 million, to be split up among the players involved in the suit as well as others not involved who will have retired prior to date on which the judge officially approves the settlement. According to ESPN, the settlement stipulates that a large portion of the money – roughly 88% — will be “used to compensate former players and families of deceased players who have suffered cognitive injury, including the families of players who committed suicide after suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The rest of the money will be allocated to both medical exams and research and education, with the majority going to the former.

Of the money going to the former players and their families, there are certain caps involved. For players who have, due to their injuries, developed Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS or other serious cognitive disabilities, the cap will be $5 million per award. For cases of former players who have been diagnosed post-death with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the cap will be $4 million. Finally, for former players who have developed dementia, the cap will be $3 million. The NFL has a full 20 years to pay out the $765 million, though at least half must be paid within the first three years.

Was this enough? Did the NFL get off easy?  Should there be additional compensation in the form of health insurance, coverage for therapy, etc.?

For more information on sports injuries-related personal injury, or any other type of personal injury, please reach out to us at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg by calling 561-266-9191 or emailing daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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