The NFL Concussion Settlement Explained

After nine weeks of intensive negotiation, a settlement was reached between the 4,500 former NFL players who claim to have received concussion related injuries on the field and the National Football League.  United States District Judge Anita Brody, who presided over this multi-district consolidated suit, must still approve the settlement.  It is expected she will do so in the next two to three months.  The settlement came just a week before the official start of the 2013 NFL Football season. Experts will be analyzing the complex and large settlement for some time to come, but for now here is a breakdown of the general terms of the settlement.

  1. Under the settlement all former injured players retired as of the date the settlement receives final approval will receive compensation.  Players will be given an option to opt out of the settlement and pursue their own action.
  2. The settlement calls for the NFL to pay over $765 million to the injured former football players, as well as to research and education.
  3. The settlement additionally calls for the NFL to pay for legal fees and litigation expenses incurred by the plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit.  This figure is in addition to the $765 million and will be determined by the court in the months to come.
  4. Of the $765 million, no more than $75 million will go towards baseline medical examinations.
  5.  $10 million will go towards a research and education fund for concussion related injuries.
  6. Not more than $4 million will go towards the cost of notifying members of the class of plaintiffs.
  7. In sum, roughly $675 million will be distributed to the injured former players.
  8. Distribution amounts will depend on the injuries and diagnoses sustained by the former player.
  9. The settlement will include $4 million for those diagnosed with a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy after their death; $5 million for former players diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; and $3 million for those diagnosed with dementia.
  10. Independent doctors and funds administrators will be enlisted to determine who qualifies to receive a portion of the settlement as well as the amount the player and/or their family is entitled to receive.
  11. The settlement does not establish the NFL’s liability or that the player’s injuries were a result of playing football.
  12. Half of the $765 million will be paid out during the first three years, with the remaining half dispersed over 17 years.

After reviewing the terms of the settlement, many are left wondering—who came out on top in this case?  Analysts are split.  On the one hand, the former football players should receive a fairly large compensation for their injuries and it will happen far quicker than had they awaited trail on the matter.  Further, the settlement offers a sure recovery.  If you remember, before the settlement was reached, the NFL had filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit which the judge did not rule on due to the settlement.  Continuing to pursue the action may have been a risky move for the plaintiffs.

On the other hand, it is clear the NFL got off fairly light in this settlement.  For the NFL, who made over 9.5 billion last year, the sum is paltry.  Further, in settling, the NFL has not admitted to any liability concerning the concussions suffered by the former players.  This will be an obvious hindrance to future litigants.  Additionally, the $10 million sum set aside for concussion research and education is shockingly low.

If you or someone you love has been injured playing football for the NFL, call the Giddens Law Firm today.  With the upcoming approval of the settlement, representation by an experienced sports injury attorney is crucial to ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve for your football injury.  The Giddens Law Firm has experience representing those suffering from injuries incurred during all manner of sports, so call us today at (601) 355-2022 to speak for free to one of our knowledgeable attorneys.