Last week Judge Anita Brody questioned whether $765 million would be enough to cover all the possible claimants in the NFL concussion settlement, and asked the parties for calculations to show that amount of the settlement will be sufficient. The terms of the settlement dictate different payouts depending on what conditions a player develops and how many years spent playing in the NFL, including $5 million for players who develop ALS, and $3 million for those who develop serious dementia. Judge Brody noted that the settlement might not be sufficient if even 10% of the players made claims against it.
Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) have become increasingly recognized in recent years as a potentially serious and long-term medical problem. Medical research has shown that even “mild” brain injuries, like concussions and other knocks to the head, can have negative long-term effects, particularly if a patient suffers repeated injuries. The legal community has also started to take these injuries more seriously as more medical evidence and testing methods become available. The relevance of mTBI for personal injury attorneys is substantial, and more awareness for the condition is greatly needed for both the public and plaintiff’s counsel to ensure PI victims are properly screened by treating physicians for possible warning signs of long term debilitating injuries and compensated appropriately.
Football players are perhaps the quintessential example of those at risk of experiencing the effects of mTBI. Players’ brains are knocked around inside their heads repeatedly during a game, and many players suffer multiple concussions throughout their careers. It is fitting then that the highest profile mTBI case is between thousands of former NFL players and the NFL. After months of negotiation, lawyers on both sides finally reached a settlement agreement several months ago that set aside a total of $765 million to compensate players for injuries.
This decision is welcome news to victims of mTBI who have to overcome the perception that “mild” makes their injuries less important. By asking the attorneys to prove that their settlement is sufficient, Judge Brody is taking the mTBI injuries of the players, and future sufferers of mTBI, quite seriously.
For more on recent medical discoveries on the mTBI and information for attorneys, see Case Funding’s analysis.