When severe long-term injuries are sustained by athletes, who's at fault? There's no easy answer, but athletes have been known to sue sports organisations for negligence after suffering personal injuries.
The Australian NHL announced recently that it will be settling a lawsuit brought by its former players.
Background and claims
Over 100 former NHL players have sued the organisation for negligence. The players experienced severe head injuries and said that the league did not warn them of the long-term risks of these injuries.
The list of plaintiffs reached 146 in the case, all of whom are retired players. A current player, Sidney Crosby, told reporters that now players know about the risks of concussion in the sport.
But the plaintiffs think that the NHL should have better protected the players against head trauma and taken greater preventative measures. Instead, the players argue, the league actually promoted violence in the sport, the kind of violence that led directly to the head injuries.
If agreed upon, the settlement would require a minimum $22,000 payment to the players, up to $75,000 in medical treatment and additional neurological assessments for the players. A 'Common Good Fund' would also be set up to support retired players who need help, including players who didn't take part in the lawsuit.
The offer also includes close to $7 million dollars that the NHL would pay in legal fees for the plaintiffs.
The league's statement on the matter did not acknowledge any liability for the players' claims, and instead provided reasoning for the settlement – to 'avoid the burden, risk and expense of further litigation' for all parties involved.
The plaintiffs do not have to agree to the settlement – they have 75 days to decide if they're in or out. Some players have indicated that they think the settlement is insulting. In 2013, the NFL reached a billion-dollar settlement with former players, and it doesn't look like the NHL will be offering up that much. Instead, news sources say it will be close to $19 million.
Personal injury claims are nothing to be taken lightly. If you have experienced impairment or trauma due to negligence, contact us for a free consultation. Our experienced team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers can discuss your options with you and guide you through the complex legal process.