Key Points of NFL Concussion Settlement

Tentative settlement doesn’t include Workers’ Compensation claims

The NFL reached a tentative settlement agreement of $765 million with some 18,000+ retired football players (whether they sued or not) who alleged that the NFL misled them about the hazards of concussions. Evidently, if approved, this settlement would not stop the current Workers’ Compensation claims that are ongoing. However, players who have filed Work Comp claims may opt to drop such claims and accept the settlement offer instead if it would be more favorable to their cause, depending on state law.

The settlement would be structured as follows:

  • $75 million for baseline medical exams for retired players
  • $675 million to compensate former players and their families to be paid over the next 17 years. Each player will receive a different amount based on their particular diagnosis and medical condition, age and years played in the NFL.
  • $10 million to fund concussion research
  • The balance for players’ legal fees.

The settlement offer is not an admission of liability by the NFL that concussions were the cause of the players’ injuries. However, it is speculated that the offer was prompted to uphold the reputation of the NFL with its fans and avoid expensive litigation.

The litigation and concussion settlement agreement would likely hinder similar future lawsuits from current players (based on concussion risks being withheld), said attorney Ronald S. Katz. This is because it would be harder to prove negligence since the concussion risks are now heavily publicized and current players assume a known risk when they participate in the game. However, negligence-based lawsuits would still be a possibility because of failure to diagnose concussions and too soon return to play.

The 32 General Liability insurers that are being sued by the NFL to participate in the defense and settlement (such as Travelers, Fireman’s Fund, AIG, Chubb, XL) are currently playing “hot potato” with the outcome still up in the air.

Source: Business “Despite Football Concussion Settlement, Insurers Role In Paying NFL Costs Unclear.” Sept. 9, 2013.