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July 18, 2017 - Retired NFL Football Players or their families may be entitled to benefits from a recent class action settlement against the National Football League. Contact the Kishish Law Group for more information by filling out our contact form or calling us toll free at 1 (888) 402-5552.
Everybody knows professional football is a dangerous game. But playing the game as it's meant to be played shouldn't increase your risk for depression, dementia and suicide. After it was discovered that repeated blows to the head could cause life-altering injuries, thousands of former NFL players sued the League, accusing them of concealing information about the true danger of the game and failing to adequately protect players.
The class action lawsuit against the NFL, In re: National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation, reached a settlement on January 7, 2017. Retired players and their families have until August 7, 2017 to register to receive benefits. You can find more information about how to register to be a part of this settlement by visiting the settlement website.
You don't need a lawyer to be a part of this settlement, but it can help. A lot of unscrupulous lawyers will try to convince you that you need legal representation to get your benefits. That's not true. However, a lawyer can help you make sure that your claim is complete, accurate, and designed to help you get the most out of this settlement. We've worked on class action lawsuits in the past, so we can provide some valuable assistance in resolving complicated cases and help you collect all the information you'll need. If you have any doubts about whether you qualify for this settlement, give us a call and we'll evaluate your case for free.
What is the NFL settlement about?
Former NFL players and their lawyers accused the League of knowing about the risk of head injuries from playing the game and failing to protect players against that risk. In 1994, the League formed the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) committee to investigate the risk of repeated hits to the head experienced while playing the game. Even while star players like Troy Aikman and Steve Young were being forced to cut their careers short due to effects of concussions, the MTBI committee maintained that the risk of serious and long-term injury from concussions was rare.
In 2005, Dr. Bennet Omalu published research in Neurosurgery which suggested that NFL players were at an increased risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease brought on by traumatic brain injuries, including concussions. CTE can present with mild attention deficits, like disorientation, poor judgement, and memory loss, and can progress to include dementia, movement disorders, and suicidal thoughts. Dr. Omalu and other doctors would later find evidence of CTE in several former NFL players that ultimately committed suicide, including Terry Long, Andre Waters, and Dave Duerson. The NFL disputed Omalu's research and called for his Neurosurgery article to be retracted. The League would not admit the long-term effects of concussions until 2009 and still says that the NFL never misled players about the risks of the game.
Omalu's research now suggests that over 90% of NFL players may have some form of CTE. In an interview with Time, Omalu said, "I have not examined any brain of a retired football player that came back negative."
Thousands of players sued the League. After extensive settlement negotiations, the NFL and the retired players reached an agreement. All players that meet the criteria for inclusion in the settlement and did not opt out of the settlement are eligible for the benefits agreed to in the settlement.
Who is eligible to receive benefits from the NFL concussion settlement?
The settlement includes all living, former NFL players that meet the following criteria:
- Retired, formally or informally, before July 7, 2014
- Were included on any roster (including AFL, World League of American Football, NFL Europe League, and NFL Europa League) prior to their retirement, including preseason, regular season and postseason
- Are no longer under contract with any Member Club or league and are not seeking employment as a player with any Member Club or league
The settlement also includes people related to living or deceased former NFL players, like spouses, parents, and dependent children.
What benefits are included in the NFL settlement?
For individual players, the settlement includes two types of benefits, Monetary Awards and the Baseline Assessment Program.
Monetary Awards can be paid out to those players with qualifying diagnoses of certain types of neurocognitive impairment, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, ALS, or death with CTE. Even if you don't have a diagnosis now, you may be eligible for monetary awards should you develop disease later. In some cases, monetary awards could be up to $5 million. Relatives of former NFL players are also eligible to receive additional monetary awards. Read more about the Monetary Awards here: Monetary Awards FAQs.
The Baseline Assessment Program pays for initial medical testing for eligible players. Even if you are not injured now, getting a baseline medical examination will help you receive the maximum Monetary Award should you develop a diagnosis later. Additionally, if this initial testing finds that you have early indicators of neurocognitive impairment, the settlement may also pay for further testing and treatment of your condition. Read more about the Baseline Assessment Program here: Baseline Assessment Program FAQs.
The settlement also includes $10 million in funding for court-approved injury and safety education programs.
How do I know if I can participate in the NFL settlement?
Give us a call for a free case evaluation. The Kishish Law Group has experience dealing with class action lawsuits and can help you determine whether you are eligible for the NFL settlement. If we determine you are eligible, we may work with you to help you get the most out of this settlement. Contact us today for a free and private assessment of your case by calling toll free at 1 (888) 402-5552 or by completing our contact form.
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