NFL Players Have Majority of Concussion Settlements Taken
Life in the NFL is not always as glamorous as you may think. For a lot of former NFL players, the days and nights spent under stadium lights having cheers of love and support raining down on them as if they were gladiators in ancient Rome have been replaced with long days and night filled with pain and suffering and for some, there is not even a memory of the vast accomplishments they have achieved. For the now debilitated and all too often penniless former players of the NFL and their families, the NFL’s agreement to pay more than $1 billion in a settlement for victims of chronic brain trauma seemed to be the answer to so many of their prayers. Now that the checks are going out, players and their families are stunned by the amount of money they are actually getting after all those involved get their piece.
The money was intended to provide peace and stability for the families of former players. The wives, widows, and children of these players who had died so young or are now wasting away in nursing homes across the nation. But what players and their families are now finding out is that a majority of their settlement is being stripped away from them resulting in many of them receiving mere pennies on the dollar of the amount awarded. Some of these players and families have even received a letter in the mail that did not contain a check, but a statement showing pending payments that are in the negative instead.
Ralph Goldston, in 1952 was one of the first black players on the Philidelphia Eagles. Alzheimer’s set in and took over Ralph’s life during his retirement. Ralph’s 90-year-old widow, Sarah Goldston, found out this month that Ralph’s family had been awarded $160,000 form the NFL settlement. But that preliminary award was now a negative $740 due to deductions and thousands of dollars in “holdbacks,” the court has kept in case the family owes and money for Ralph’s past medical bills.
USA Today reports that their investigations have led to documents and interviews in a dozen former NFL players cases whose settlements have been reduced in the same manner. Former NFL players and their families that desperately need these settlement funds are finding out that their NFL player settlement funds are remaining with the NFL or are being redirected to insurance companies, lawyers, credit card companies, or others who have placed a lien on the awarded funds to secure a piece of the payouts.
The payout determinations are not final. Court officials and attorneys are sorting out the validity of these lienholders and their claims, and the players themselves can appeal their deductions at the cost of $1000. There have been 20,000 players involved in the NFL lawsuit, and out of those 20,000men and their families, less than 700 have been approved for payment.
Why? Former players and others are blaming in part the attorneys who have filed these liens seeking large percentages of these awards even though they have done little to no work on the case as well as having recruited these players and their families by using false promises of large cash payouts.
USA TODAY reviewed letters in which former attorneys, who were fired before the case settled, demanded as much as 25 percent of a player’s award for as little as 15 months of work. The firms in question indicated in the letters that their work product amounted to “considerable time and effort.” They say they deserve fair compensation for helping qualify players to receive a settlement and that the lien is largely a fight with the new lawyer over fees.
The responsibility now falls on those players to dispute the amount of work that their former attorneys actually did. A magistrate judge will ultimately decide just how big of a percentage these attorneys will actually get.
The terms of the settlement generated a formula for each specific players case and then a court administrator will decide how much of the settlement fund should be dispersed to said player after holding back any money contested in a lien.
Just how much has been withheld of the reported $570 million that has already been awarded to the players and their families is not known, as the exact dollar amount of the withholdings has not been reported. To put it simply, this lawsuit and the settlement that followed was not what people thought it was.
According to players and families that spoke with USA Today, the withheld payout is just another insult and punch to the gut from the years-long battle to hold the NFL, the world’s highest-earning sports league, accountable for brain injuries incurred during playing careers. The NFL has long denied the connection between the sport and lasting brain injuries and according to the lawsuit, the NFL failed to warn players or what it could do to protect them from head trauma caused by repeated hard hits, leading to a condition now known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
Jones Brown PLLC
If you sustained a concussion while playing NFL or college football at an NCAA First, Second, or Third Division school between 1986 and 2017, you may be eligible to file an NCAA concussion claim now! A federal judge has preliminarily approved a settlement on behalf of all college athletes with terms that include medical monitoring, return-to-play guidelines, education and training, and academic accommodations, it does not provide financial recovery for those who are struggling with the side effects of traumatic brain injuries. Federal District Court approved the NFL Concussion Settlement Agreement, a settlement which covers over 20,000 former players. With this agreement, affected players could be awarded up to $5 million each, making the settlement worth somewhere near $1 billion dollars in total payouts. Let Jones Brown Law Help You. CLICK HERE to contact Jones Brown Now!