The National Football League (NFL) has reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with current and former players regarding brain damage suffered by players, allegedly while competing on the football field.
The total value of the settlement is $765 million. Settlement terms include $675 million in compensation to former players and their survivors, and $90 million for further research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the brain disorder players say they contracted as a result of multiple violent collisions while playing professional football. The players also state the NFL failed to take sufficient action to protect players from CTE.
While the settlement amount may seem rather small, given the number of plaintiffs (4,500) and the NFL’s revenue ($10 billion per year), the case highlights a few common elements in any settlement strategy in any negligence action.
There are many times that a trial is desirable or necessary. The parties may be too far apart on a settlement figure, the plaintiffs may want the publicity that a trial brings, the parties may want an enforceable court order, and there are other reasons. However, just because your attorney tries to work out a settlement does not mean that he or she is caving into the other side’s demands or that your case lacks merit. For the most part, an agreed settlement is a better option:
- Control. Liability is hardly ever clear-cut in complicated negligence cases, and there is absolutely no way to predict how a jury will view the facts and make its decision. A pretrial settlement gives the parties control over the outcome that they simply do not have in a trial.
- Cost. Trials cost a lot of money, both in terms of an attorney’s time and in terms of hard costs, such as expert witness fees and deposition expenses. A plaintiff can accept less money at a pretrial settlement and actually come out ahead because the former costs are avoided.
- Speed. If a case is litigated, it can be years or even a decade before a victorious plaintiff sees any money. The NFL players’ attorneys specifically said that one of their goals was to get money right away for the retirees and families who badly needed it.
The attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum are experienced in all phases of a negligence case. They know when to push for a settlement and when a trial is a better option. You can trust them to make the decision that best promotes your interests. Contact McPhillips Shinbaum to schedule your free consultation.