You may recall, last year, when more than 4,000 former NFL players filed a class-action lawsuit against the league. The suit was filed on the basis that the league knew about the long-term medical risks associated with on-field head injuries, yet did nothing to inform the players during their time in the NFL, or assist afflicted players after their football careers had ended. After months of negotiating, both the league and the former players agreed to a settlement of $765 million. Now, however, the case has hit an unexpected delay that has some players worried it could take years before they see a dime.
After the negotiations last summer, the lawsuit was given to Judge Anita Brody for preliminary approval. Last Tuesday, Brody stunned those following the case by denying the preliminary motion. In her ruling, Brody stated she was unconvinced that the amount of money agreed upon would be enough to compensate all of the former players, and that she would like to see more data and analysis to prove that the funds are sufficient. Spokesman for the NFL, Greg Aiello, expressed confidence that the funds are adequate, but Brody will take the case no further until she receives additional documented proof.
The plaintiff lawyers accused of not negotiating enough money out of the NFL have held their ground, stating that their clients would be adequately covered by the amount agreed to in the settlement. If they cannot provide enough evidence to satisfy Brody, there are two options: they can go back to the mediation room and try to get the NFL to shell out more money, or they can take the case to trial—which would be costly for both sides, and could take years to reach a conclusion.
The delay in the settlement has some former players, who criticized the stinginess of the settlement from the start, considering whether to opt out of the class action suit and file individual lawsuits. By going it alone, they hope to win more money from the league than they would receive through the settlement. Though this may seem like a more attractive option, the players run the risk of losing their cases, and receiving absolutely nothing. Other players, including some with destructive illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, hope that the judge will approve the settlement once provided further documentation, so the money will reach those who need it sooner, rather than later.
Whichever turn this case takes next, it will be some time before the former players receive any compensation for the injuries they sustained on the field—and for those with mounting hospital bills, this delay is bad, bad news.
More Money, Less Problems
When an injury settlement is rejected in court, it’s often related to a discrepancy regarding the dollar figure. If you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit, don’t run the risk of having your suit rejected based on monetary reasons. Even if justice seems to be on your side—as it seems it should be in the case of the injured former players versus the giant corporation that is the NFL—not settling on an appropriate amount of money could kill your case.
Charles McAleer and his associates at McAleer Law are the personal injury experts in Atlanta, with extensive success in getting their clients the money they deserve. If you’re in need of an experienced lawyer, please contact us at 404-816-7374 or visit our website www.McaleerLaw.com.