Posts Tagged ‘NFL concussion lawsuit’

Disagreement on proposed NFL concussion settlement

Players aren’t the only ones with issues at stake

Not everyone involved in the NFL’s proposed $765 million player concussion settlement is ready to sign the agreement. The proposal states that players were never made aware of the concussions risks of which the NFL had knowledge.

Players and families filing lawsuit argue the settlement would not assign blame or offer punitive damages for pain and suffering.

It’s not just about the players

Critics of the proposal note that there are other people affected by the damages resulting from the concussions of the players.

The 2012 suicide of NJunior SeauFL linebacker Junior Seau points to the obvious fact that he can’t be compensated for pain and suffering. However, his three children are the ones who are dealing with the pain and suffering in the wake of his death. Seau’s family is objecting to the proposed settlement and plans to file aseparate suit.

Anita Brody, the U.S. district judge who will oversee the settlement, also questions whether $765 million is adequate compensation for all the parties involved. There are approximately 20,000 claims by people involved over a 65-year period.

The push to settle

The majority of retired players in the suit are are not contesting the terms of the proposed settlement, according to lead attorneys Christopher Seeger and Sol Weiss. They state that the retirees are ready to settle and take advantage of the awarded funds.

Younger players and former players suffering from Alzheimer’s disease could be awarded as much as $5 million. But most of the plaintiffs who are dealing with mild forms of dementia would likely be awarded less than $25,000. If the lawsuit is thrown out, they could all end up with nothing.

More information is needed

“This could be a great settlement, this could be a terrible settlement, but I don’t know,” said Thomas A. Demetrio, the attorney representing the late Dave Duerson’s family and nine other players or their families in the suit.

Demetrio also stated that two questions need answered: what portion of the payments will be paid out of insurance and why attorneys will be splitting another $112 million if the case never went to trial.

Please visit Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance for more information on the NFL settlement,  concussion risks, and sports insurance or to request a quote.

Source:   Maryclaire Dale, “Seau Family Plans to Object,” Insurance Journal, 29 Jan. 2014.

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 Insurance.com “Despite Football Concussion Settlement, Insurers Role In Paying NFL Costs Unclear.” Sept. 9, 2013.

NFL Strikes Back in Concussion Media War

Consultants’ research and motives questioned

Dr. Mitchell Berger of the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee was interviewed by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and spoke out against Boston University researchers Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski. Berger accused the the two self interest by trying to profit from the hype they created with studies linking football and brain damage.

“The BU Group, their whole existence — their funding — relies on perpetuating that it’s a fact if you play football you’re going to have some form of cognitive impairment….So it’s very, very difficult to accept it because it is so biased,” said Berger.

Dr. Cantu aptly responded by saying, “Mitch Berger, with all due respect, is full of s—. No, not with respect.”

It should be interesting as the former players’ lawsuit against the NFL progresses to get a more balanced perspective on the issue because, so far, the media has only covered the plaintiffs’ allegations.

For see our previous articles for more information on the ongoing debate about concussions in the NFL.

Source: ESPN, “Between the Lines,” espn.com Researchers Consulted with Law Firms