The battle for compensation to NFL players over football concussions has gone on seemingly forever, despite being only six years. Within this time, we’ve seen a long struggle for NFL players who still suffer the effects from their injuries. At the same time, we’ve seen a lot of confusion and protracted arguments over how much these players should receive in settlement money.
Two years after the initial lawsuit first filed in 2011, there was a $765 million settlement in the works. You likely remember when the federal judge overseeing this case didn’t think the settlement money would cover all the medical costs of the thousands of players injured.
Later, she upped the settlement to over $1 billion, which has yet to go to the victims. However, it may soon be completed.
Just mere months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court denied requests from other retired players to put the settlement on hold due to other injury considerations. The denial paved the way for the settlement to go forth as it stands.
The question is, what kind of precedent will this set for other football concussion cases? Other concussion suits are already being filed beyond the NFL. The past timeline of the NFL settlement has a lot to learn from if you’re considering filing a similar suit.
The Initial Claims in the 2011 Lawsuit
With well over 20,000 former NFL players involved in the lawsuit filed six years ago, the initial accusation was one about coverup. The players and families filing the lawsuit claimed the NFL knew years ago about the connection between football and brain damage.
Evidence has since come out that the NFL knew about the concussion link, and refuted evidence in the process. Back in 2013, a PBS “Frontline” special aired detailing this and showing evidence the NFL tried to block medical examinations on former players.
For instance, the late center Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster had a diagnosis from his doctor of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In the “Frontline” documentary, we saw Webster’s doctor telling how the NFL tried to keep him quiet on his findings. He noted the same about his examination of NFL star Junior Seau who committed suicide in 2012, reportedly due to CTE symptoms.
These disturbing reports have damaged the NFL’s reputation, even if they’ve taken some steps to prevent concussions from happening again.
Regardless, with the damage done, some issues still exist. Most of it rests on how the settlement money is going to help the victims.
Finding the Balance Between Lawyer Fees and the Recipients
With the settlement possibly nearing a conclusion, one hurdle remains. It’s the battle over how to divide the settlement money between the attorneys and the players.
Unfortunately, ESPN recently reported on this brewing nasty battle, including placing unfounded blame on the legal teams.
Since many lawyers worked tirelessly on representing players, they deserve partial compensation for their efforts. While we’ve seen some unfortunate poaching with clients through unscrupulous legal teams, this doesn’t describe the legal industry as a whole.
It’s something to think about while vetting your legal team before you work with them. Careful background checks help you find an ethical team working tirelessly for you and fielding settlement money where it’s deserved.
So what other concussion cases continue to brew in America? You’ll be surprised at what else is going on and what it means for people like you who’ve suffered a football concussion.
Concussions at the College Football Level
Last year, we saw reports of 50 new class-action lawsuits filed against the NCAA, college football conferences, or schools related to football concussion injuries. It demonstrates another example of how extensive CTE cases are beyond the big leagues.
With college football being an equal threat, we’re seeing cases where young players don’t receive as much compensation as they need. Last year, the Pop Warner youth football program settled a lawsuit with a student who suffered CTE symptoms.
In this case, the original case wanted $5 million in punitive damages. It’s unfortunate the families of the student only received $2 million, far less than the $2 million liability policy Pop Warner had for each of their players.
With two other NFL players rejoining the above NFL lawsuit, you can see the legal fights on concussions aren’t over, including fair settlements.
If you’re dealing with something like this, how do you know where to begin on obtaining legal help? First, it’s important to obtain medical facts as your secret weapon.
Obtaining Medical Details
Being able to gather a complete medical report from your doctor about CTE symptoms is the best evidence you can have. All of the players above used undeniable medical evidence as their key to successfully filing lawsuits.
Some telltale symptoms you’ll experience are difficulty thinking, short-term memory loss, emotional instability, and suicidal thoughts.
All of these could mean other health issues, so it’s essential your doctor does brain scans to provide the necessary evidence you indeed have CTE.
Finding an Ethical Legal Team
Locating a legal firm with a strong track record in serious and catastrophic personal injuries is going to give you strong backing. Outside the legal wranglings with the NFL suit, you’ll find many personal injury lawyers who work fairly and work hard to make sure you receive a sizable settlement.
At Frekhtman & Associates, we’re a New York based personal injury firm with years of collective experience, including many concussion cases.
Contact us immediately if you think you have CTE from a general accident, or from a football injury.