Those lucky enough to fulfill their childhood dreams of being a professional football player for the National Football League (NFL) certainly enjoy many perks. Fame, fortune, and the joy of doing what you love are well within sight. Most people would agree: From the surface, it seems like a very, very good life.
But as with everything, being a professional football player comes with its own unique pricetag. NFL players have been known to suffer catastrophic head injuries as a result of being violently hit so frequently, sometimes leading to lifelong disability and complications, and at times, even death. This week, according to the Associated Press, a federal judge preliminarily approved a settlement for compensation to thousands of former NFL players for concussion-related injuries. It was after the NFL finally agreed to remove a $475-million cap on damages that the Judge issued her preliminary approval.
The suit, alleging negligence (among other counts) was filed by over 4,500 former NFL players including such well-known names as (former) Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who now suffers from dementia.
The original settlement would have included an overall payout of $870 million, with $675 million in compensatory damages for neurological symptoms, $75 million for baseline testing, $10 million for medical research and education, and an additional $112 million in attorneys’ fees. The revised settlement lifts the cap on overall damages claims but kept a payout determination based on the age and illness of NFL retirees. Therefore, the younger a person is and the more severe their condition is, the greater their payout will be. Players who were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries post-mortem would receive a settlement no greater than $4 million.
Those unhappy with the arrangement have the opportunity to voice their objections and potentially opt out of the settlement at a hearing scheduled for mid-November. If retirees go this route, however, they face the uphill battle of proving their injury was inflicted as a result of their NFL career—not their college or pre-college career.
While this preliminary settlement won’t return these players’ functioning to their original pre-injury state, it is certainly a good start to begin compensating them and their families for their injuries and suffering.
Suffering brain injuries as a result of another’s negligence – whether from a slip and fall, car accident, or other cause—such as those suffered by these NFL players—may detrimentally affect a person, their relationships, and their enjoyment of life, for the rest of that person’s life. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury as a result of another’s negligence, the experienced, skilled attorneys at Brooks Law Group can evaluate your claim and determine if you are entitled to any compensation.