The NFL lawsuit concussion settlement is a big step forward for victims of head injuries, and for many families, it represents the best opportunity to get justice. Although the NFL can be sued for ignoring its own rules about concussions, players can use this settlement as a way to settle their claims. Here are some tips for winning a concussion lawsuit. The NFL’s insurance policies are negotiated in such a way that admitting guilt would negatively affect these agreements.
A federal judge has approved an amended NFL lawsuit concussion settlement for black players, which eliminates race-norming from cognitive tests. The new standards will be applied to the thousands of eligible players. Some retired players will also receive new evaluations, but the changes must be approved by the court. In the 2015 settlement, the league deployed race-norming, which affected thousands of claimants. Black players represent about 70 percent of active NFL players.
The league has made strides to reduce concussion rates by implementing new rules to prevent injuries from recurring. However, many Black players are still unable to receive the compensation they deserve. The NFL must make this right and compensate these former players. The current rules are racial in nature and discriminatory. While the NFL has tried to minimize the issue by removing certain rules, it has failed to adequately compensate Black players who are disproportionately affected by concussions.
The $765 million concussion lawsuit settlement rested on two key points. First, many of the players had debilitating brain injuries from repeated hits. Second, plaintiffs’ proof has always involved the question of causation. A lifetime of football makes it nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact moment an injury occurred. Nonetheless, every hit to the head must have a cumulative effect.
The NFL’s response to the lawsuit challenged the defense’s premise that consent to repetitive trauma is an absolute prerequisite for recovery. But Wiley points to the NFL’s employment culture, which defeats this defense. And he says this culture is inextricably woven into the NFL’s DNA. It would be a “hill to climb” to prove that repeated blows caused CTE.
Race-neutral evaluation process
One of the major sticking points in the NFL’s concussion settlement is whether the team used a race-neutral evaluation process. Players have complained about the use of biased test scores. To remedy this, the NFL will fund a panel of experts who will develop diagnostically accurate long-term norms. Then, the players can request the re-scoring and re-record of cognitive tests, if they feel that the testing is inaccurate. The NFL is still reviewing the agreement, but the league has already agreed to make some changes.
The agreement was drafted with the guidance of a diverse group of medical experts, as well as counsel for intervenors Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport of Seeger Weiss LLP. Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge ruled in June that the agreement would be beneficial for Black players by eliminating the use of race-based norms in concussion benefits.
Holdbacks in settlement
The NFL has faced a massive liability settlement and damaging disclosures as a result of the lawsuits. In addition to this, players have also failed to receive the qualifying diagnosis and have had to seek treatment from private physicians. Additionally, the NFL only provides one free BAP exam, which means that players must pay for future medical bills. The NFL is also denying the claims of retired players with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Since the claims processing began, the NFL has deducted holdbacks from every paid award. These deductions have resulted in a 5% holdback for all paid awards. While this reduction is less than the amount originally agreed upon, it is still a large percentage. It is difficult to assess the true impact of these deductions on players’ injuries and recovery. Despite the negative effects, the NFL has still been the largest payor in the NFL lawsuit.
Opting out of the settlement
Opting out of an NFL lawsuit concussion settlement can be risky. The player is taking a gamble, but is he getting enough compensation? Some players also want more money or improved care. Others simply want a day in court. Regardless of the reason, opting out of the proposed settlement comes with risks. It may also result in nothing at all. So what are the pros and cons of opting out?
The NFL has set a lower limit for concussion payouts. While the league may be avoiding the possibility of paying out more than this, a settlement could still be beneficial for both sides. For example, the lowest damage cap for Level 1.5 neurocognitive impairment is $1.5 million, while the highest cap for ALS is $5 million. Damage caps will be reviewed annually, and they may increase due to inflation. Inflation cannot decrease the cap.