NFL Concussion Settlement
Tampa Personal Injury Attorneys – 813.223.7799
Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law is accepting cases on behalf of
former NFL players who have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and other degenerative cognitive conditions that result from concussions
sustained during game play. Cases of this nature are being sorted into
a class action settlement that has received initial approval and is currently
being mediated by retired United States District Court Judge Layn Phillips
to ensure all affected parties receive proper compensation when final
approval is given.
Our dedicated legal team has already helped more than 50 clients with NFL
concussion settlement cases and could help you as well. We are fully prepared
to represent footballers and their families, allowing them to seek justice
without having to worry about going up against the NFL, an organization
that has intentionally tried to distance itself from the prevailing evidence
of concussion injuries among players. We work with an established network
of doctors to empower your case and ensure it is based in real evidence
that a court cannot ignore.
Discover if you are eligible for compensation by
contacting our Tampa NFL concussion settlement attorneys today.
NFL Concussion Settlement FAQ
In order to shed some light on NFL concussion settlements and hopefully
clarify some issues you might be encountering, our team of Tampa personal
injury lawyers have compiled a comprehensive list of some of the most
frequently asked questions about NFL concussion settlement cases. Please
review it to see if there are any questions you would like answered. Of
course, if you still have questions or need an in-depth explanation, you
are encouraged to schedule a
free initial consultation with our law firm.
Who is eligible for compensation?
Former NFL players eligible for compensation in a class action settlement
are called the "Settlement Class." The settlement class for
this settlement is:
Retired NFL players: Any football players who have retired from the NFL, AFL, NFL Europe League,
NFL Europa League, or World league of American Football prior to July
7, 2014. Players who were part of the roster of these leagues who participated
in pre-, regular, or post-season can also be part of this settlement class.
Derivative claimants: Spouses, children, and other family members who are eligible to sue on
behalf of a deceased retired NFL player due to their relationship with
the deceased allowable by state law.
Representative claimants: Any officially authorized representatives of incompetent, legally incapacitated,
or deceased retired NFL players, such as estate administrators.
Two "subclasses" are also defined within the case statutes:
Subclass 1 recognizes players who retired before July 7, 2014 who have not diagnosed
with concussion-related injuries or conditions (but may be in the future).
Subclass 2 are those players who have retired before July 7, 2014 who have already
been diagnosed with listed conditions.
The concussion-related conditions that are noted in this settlement are:
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Level 1.5 Neurocognitive Impairment/early Dementia
- Level 2 Neurocognitive Impairment/moderate Dementia
- Parkinson's Disease
- CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy)
Please note here that current NFL players (or current players of any of
the Member Clubs mentioned) are not included in this settlement class.
Additionally, those former players who did retire before July 7, 2014
are eligible even if they are enrolled in the NFL Retirement Plan.
What is Level 1, 1.5, and 2 neurocognitive impairment?
The NFL concussion settlement class action includes patients who suffer
from several specific forms of mental illness or debilitation, as well
as three general definitions of neurocognitive impairment: Levels 1, 1.5,
and 2. These three levels are categorized by the evidence of a diagnosable
or recordable decline in the brain’s functions related to critical
thinking, learning new facts, recalling memories, maintaining focus, or
any combination of these abilities.
How do I know if I medically qualify?
At Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law, we already have a network
of qualified specialists in place to help you determine whether or not
you medically qualify for this settlement. Our network sources include
doctors, neurologists, neuro-psychologists, and other medical physicians.
This group of professionals can provide clear and compelling documentation
of your cognitive condition and support your eligibility to receive compensation
under this settlement. Evaluations conducted by our networked professionals are at
no additional cost to our clients and are part of our comprehensive service and dedication to providing
our clients with the best service possible.
Should I get a baseline examination from a doctor I do not know?
You may be contacted by a third-party to get a physical and cognitive examination
after you opt into the NFL concussion settlement class action. This examination
will likely be meant to study the extent of cognitive damage as compared
to the age of the retired football player.
Baseline examinations like this might not be conducted by a doctor you
know, or by a physician that is necessarily up-to-date on the NFL concussion
settlement proceedings. Before you agree to any medical examination, speak
with our attorneys. In many cases, it is better to work with our network
of doctors and other medical professionals than to allow a third-party
physician to manage your examination.
How will I receive benefits?
Receiving money as part of a class action settlement is a matter of registering
before any applicable deadlines expire. All settlement classes must do
this in order to be evaluated and recognized as eligible to submit a claim.
Registration time will be limited and may vary from case to case.
The deadlines to submit a claim are as followed:
For all retired players (and representative claimants) who have been diagnosed
by the settlement approval date (April 22, 2015), claims must be submitted
no later than
February 6, 2019, two years of the start of the registration period (February 6, 2017).
- For all retired players (and representative claimants) who become diagnosed
after the settlement approval date (April 22, 2015), claims must be submitted
within two years of the date of the diagnosis.
- Deadline extensions may be approved by a court following the submittal
of evidence that suggests its necessity. No deadline may be extended beyond
January 7, 2082.
If your claim is denied or if the determination of your compensation is
not satisfactory, resubmissions and appeals will be possible. This is
particularly important for former players whose medical conditions worsen
over time and need to be reconsidered for financial relief.
What proof do I need to provide to get compensation?
A diagnosis from our network of medical professionals should serve as ample
evidence that you have suffered a brain injury of some sort while playing
football. Additional proof might only be requested if it is not clear
that you had played football professionally for the NFL. This could be
linked to incomplete records or clerical discrepancies. As experienced
Tampa personal injury attorneys, we have managed numerous cases where
simple evidence was called into question and we managed to reestablish
the connection through our investigations.
I was already diagnosed as having a cognitive injury – is there a
new time limit on my case?
Once you have been diagnosed as having a neurocognitive dysfunction related
to your time spent as a football player, you may only have two years to
file your petition to join the NFL concussion settlement class action.
You should not hesitate to
contact our firm as soon as your physician diagnoses a qualifying brain injury or debilitation.
If you allow your networked group of medical professionals to perform
evaluations and our team to handle your claim, you can leave most of the
work to us.
Assuming I am eligible for compensation in the class action, how much will I get?
In all personal injury claims, it is always difficult to predict just how
much a plaintiff will receive, even in a controlled class action environment.
However, there are maximum award caps in place in the NFL concussion settlement
class action. The worse your cognitive damage, the higher your award cap.
The lowest award cap is set at $1.5 million for those diagnosed with Level
1.5 neurocognitive impairment or early dementia. The highest award cap
is set at $5 million for those diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(ALS). Damage caps will be reviewed each year and may increase due to
inflation and cannot decrease. It is not known if claimants with multiple
qualifying cognitive disabilities will be eligible to receive combined
award amounts that exceeds the cap.
What factors can actually lessen the award I would have received?
Retired NFL players that are eligible for compensation will experience
fluctuations in compensation given depending on several factors. Players
who participated actively in 5 seasons or more will not experience any
reduction in compensation, but those who participated in 4.5 seasons or
less will. The lowest reduction amount is 10% and the greatest reduction
amount is 97.5%, which is reserved for retired NFL players who participated
in less than half a season. Class action awards can also be reduced up
to 75% per class member depending on the number of strokes or other cognitive
issues that class member experienced before entering the NFL. An older
class member with a qualifying condition will also receive less compensation
than a young class member with the same qualifying condition; this is
due to an assumption that an older individual will experience less debilitation
due to a lesser predicted lifespan.
My loved one passed away and was an NFL player – can I receive the
monetary award for them?
Representatives of the estates of deceased NFL players may be eligible
to opt into the class action. It might be necessary for there to be preexisting
medical evidence that the decedent had suffered some sort of brain trauma
in their lifetime. Furthermore, the estate representatives of retired
NFL players who passed away before January 1, 2006 may not be eligible
for the class action but could potentially still have the legal ability
to file a wrongful death claim.
If I receive compensation from the class action, can I still file for workers’
Yes. Due to the nature of class actions, participating as a class member
does not exclude you from filing for
workers’ compensation for your disability suffered while on-the-job as a football player. You
cannot, however, create your personal injury lawsuit against the NFL or
any of the other aforementioned parties if you choose to opt into the
class action. Be sure to speak to our Tampa workers’ compensation
attorneys for more details if you believe you also deserve workers’
Can I be removed from the class action settlement?
Some retired NFL members with qualifying neurocognitive disorders may want
to attempt to sue the NFL or other applicable parties and organizations
in an individualized injury claim. Class members who have already voluntarily
opted into the class might not be able to opt out. It depends on varying
factors, each dependent on the individual case. Speak with our Tampa NFL
concussion settlement attorneys to learn if you can opt out, as well as
why you might want to choose this legal alternative.
I was denied compensation through the class action – am I out of options?
Many potential class members will experience an initial denial when attempting
to opt into the NFL concussion settlement class action. Denial is not
a permanent exclusion from class member status. If your medical condition
changes and this change is recognized by a doctor’s diagnosis, you
can attempt to rejoin the class action through a new petition. You may
also attempt to appeal the denial if you believe if was unjust or based
on erroneous judgement.
Does the NFL Concussion Settlement benefit any other groups?
Yes. At least $10 million have been allocated so far to promote youth education
safety programs to try to prevent young footballers from suffering the
same injuries. The same pool of funds will also be used to help retired
NFL players to understand and utilized their medical coverage and rehabilitation options.
Do I need a lawyer to receive compensation?
It is expected during this process that all claimants will be represented
by counsel. The courts have appointed a team of attorneys that will represent
the settlement class free of charge—but who will receive a "set
aside" percentage of the granted compensation to be determined at
a later date.
At Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law, our fees are always contingency
based and set by an industry standard—not a "to be determined"
percentage a team of lawyers decides they deserve. This is because we
not only believe in thoroughly representing for our clients, but advocating
for them—and that means making sure they are informed about their
prospects and their potential compensation through every step of this
There is No Need to Hesitate When We are Here
While final approval of this class action settlement is still pending,
the time to mobilize and prepare your claim is now. Join the hundreds
of former NFL and Member Club players who will be aggressively seeking
recognition in this settlement by choosing Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys
at Law and our NFL concussion settlement lawyers today. You do not need
to go through this trying time alone.
Contact us for a
free consultation regarding your options and ability to opt into the class action.