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The Implications of NFL’s $765M Settlement for Personal Injury Law

On Aug. 29, the NFL and a group of more than 4,500 former players who had sued the organization over head injuries they claim to have sustained during their careers reached an eye-opening $765 million settlement.

The settlement must still be approved by a judge, but at this point, it does not seem that there are any significant roadblocks to its approval.

This lawsuit has been closely watched by personal injury attorneys nationwide. It is only recently that courts and judges have begun to realize the very severe implications that traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have for those unfortunate enough to suffer them. This lawsuit and the attention it has generated might make it easier for courts to accept that TBI can be very harmful and can have long-lasting, deleterious consequences.

In their suit, the players had alleged that the NFL knew that they were at risk for severe head injuries, covered up those injuries when they happened and did little to protect players or research ways to prevent TBI during football games. The settlement has been cheered by some former players who say they are dealing with the fallout of TBI they sustained during their careers and now have large medical bills and costly treatments to endure.

Although it is a good thing that retired players who have significant medical expenses are going to see some of this settlement, not everyone is pleased with it. Some legal industry observers have pointed out that $765 million split among 4,500 plaintiffs doesn’t go very far per plaintiff. Others have noted that the settlement seals most trial documents, meaning the public will never know the full nature and extent of the NFL’s actions, and still others have noted that the NFL has an estimated revenue of $27 billion each year and have said it is getting off easy.

This is just the latest instance in which TBI has made the national news. As our readers may recall, TBI first received national attention in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where soldiers suffered from concussions and other head injuries because of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in particular. There has also been some fascinating research on the effect that TBI can have on a person, even years after the initial injury. In particular, some medical researchers are exploring the effect TBI can have on a person’s mental health and even his or her personality; in other words, the long-term consequences of TBI may not be apparent to the naked eye.

If you have suffered from a head injury during a work accident, car crash, slip-and-fall incident or some other mishap that is not your fault, it would be a mistake to take it any other way than seriously. You might consider researching personal injury attorneys in your area and having a conversation with one. That way, you are taking positive steps toward ensuring a safe, happy and healthy future. Many attorneys offer free consultations, so an initial conversation would not cost you anything and would likely leave you feeling better informed.