Frequently Asked Questions about the NFL Concussion Lawsuit
1) What is the concussion lawsuit about, and why should I be represented by the Locks Law Firm / Mitnick Law Group?
The concussion litigation alleges that the NFL actively and purposefully concealed and misrepresented the severe neurological risks of concussions and exposed players to dangers they could have avoided had the League provided them with truthful and accurate information.
The Locks Law Firm’s main office is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where all of the suits have been centralized. Locks has twenty-three attorneys in offices in three states. For decades they have been a leading Philadelphia and national firm specializing in complex litigation and mass torts. They have extensive experience in cases involving traumatic brain injuries. Their work includes experience in prosecuting civil fraud. When you read the concussion Complaints against the NFL, you will see that many of the allegations are about misrepresentation and fraud by the NFL. Gene Locks is also expected to play a major role in the coordinated efforts being undertaken by all Plaintiff law firms involved in this litigation.
2) What does it mean when they say that all federal court cases have been centralized under the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia?
Because there are numerous suits that were filed in Federal Court different states throughout the entire country, all of the suits have been consolidated in a Multi-District Litigation and sent to Philadelphia Federal Court for disposition. This includes the class action Complaint and all individual personal injury Complaints that have been filed on behalf of players.
3) I have heard that some cases may fall under a Class Action lawsuit and some may be litigated individually. Could you explain this in more detail?
There are two components to the concussion litigation. The first is the class action component. The class action seeks medical monitoring and associated health benefits on behalf of all former NFL players. The second is the personal injury component. Any player that has suffered a concussion (diagnosed or undiagnosed by a physician) and has symptoms, for example (and this is not meant to be a complete list) short-term memory loss, headaches, tingling in the extremities, depression or anxiety is may file a personal injury action against the NFL.
4) I am currently receiving disability from the NFL. Could my involvement in this lawsuit jeopardize my NFL disability payment?
There are three types of disability: total impairment; line of duty; and neurological and cognitive. Your involvement in the concussion litigation does not affect any total or permanent disability benefits or line of duty benefit payments. The neurological and cognitive benefit was introduced in the 2011 CBA. The full details are still being determined; however, to qualify for these benefits a player must be vested for a credited season after 1994. They must also waive their right to sue the NFL.
5) If I am currently receiving disability or SSI from the Federal Government, how would that affect me if I receive an award under this litigation?
Filing a suit for the concussion litigation against the NFL and ultimately recovering damages has no effect on SSD (Social Security Disability) but any damage recovery could affect your eligibility status with SSI (Social Security supplemental income).
6) I have retained the services of a Workers Compensation attorney and have filed a claim in California. How would this litigation affect my Workers Comp if I were to receive an award under Workers Comp and an award under this lawsuit?
The workers compensation claims in California are independent from the concussion claims against the NFL, beginning with the premise that the workers compensation claims seek damages from defendants other than the NFL. The cases in California have been filed against individual football clubs, separate entities from the NFL, and we are not suing the individual clubs.. Players have a right to file both claims and can recover damages in both. If you have already filed a claim for workers’ compensation and you decide to participate in this litigation, it is important that you inform the attorney handling that claim that you are doing so.
7) Are there any deadlines that I need to know about with regard to filing a lawsuit?
There is a Statute of Limitation that may apply to any player who wants to file a personal injury concussion claim against the NFL. Congressional hearings addressing the concussion issue began in May of 2010. Based on this fact, there may be a Statute of Limitation decision that runs at the end of April 2012. This matter is still under consideration but, in order to protect your interests, suit should be filed in the concussion litigation sooner rather than later.
8) If the Firm wins the case (class or individual), how are costs and attorney fees determined?
For the class action aspect of the concussion litigation, any cost reimbursement for money expended on behalf of class plaintiffs and any fees for plaintiff attorney’s time will be determined by the court and ultimately paid by the Defendant. With regard to the personal injury claims, Locks Law Firm’s Retainer Agreement specifies a 33-1/3% contingent fee that is taken by the firm for its services only if there is a successful recovery on behalf of the player. That fee would be calculated on the gross recovery and then our firm would get reimbursed for costs expended on the specific player’s case, with the remaining net amount then going entirely to the player.