Articles Posted in Settlements

Settlements are agreements to resolve a lawsuit or a dispute through the terms of the agreement. In most agreements, the parties agree not to admit any wrongdoing. The amount of compensation and terms of the agreement may be confidential, as well as other details about the case. In fact, these days most civil cases are resolved through a settlement.

How Does the Personal Injury Settlement Process Work?

After a D.C. injury case, the parties reach out to one another to discuss a settlement—and in some cases, a court may require the parties to discuss settling the case. Settlements may allow the parties to avoid the time and stress of a prolonged court proceeding, which could take years in some cases. Courts often encourage settlements because it allows courts to conserve their resources for cases in which no agreement can be reached. But the parties must come to an agreement voluntarily. They cannot be forced into an agreement.

Some settlements also require the approval of a court. In Washington, D.C., if a person entitled to file or defend a claim on behalf of a minor child agrees to settle the case, a court must approve the settlement after details of the injuries, costs, and the settlement are provided to the court. There also may be a hearing on the matter.

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For the past several years, the NFL has been in settlement negotiations with a class of over 5,000 players who allege the league misled them as to the effects of repeated traumatic head injuries. In recent news, according to one news report, the judge asked the parties to go back to the drawing board again earlier this month because the proposed $765 million settlement was insufficient in several ways.

While the settlement was approved by about 99% of the class of injured NFL players, the offer failed to adequately compensate those who suffered from CTE, a disease of the brain that is only diagnosable after death. For the families of these players who died with the disease, the settlement offered to pay them up to $4 million. However, for living players with the symptoms of CTE, the players stood to get nothing in the settlement.

The judge’s most recent order requests that the parties go back to the drawing board to include some form of “reasonable accommodation” for those players who cannot produce medical records supporting an existing and qualifying diagnosis. In other words, the judge wanted those players who may be suffering from CTE to be included in the settlement, one way or another.

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Earlier last year, actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was involved in a serious accident when the vehicle he was riding in with his entourage was struck by a semi-truck on a New Jersey highway. One of Morgan’s good friends, comedian James McNair, was killed in the accident. Tracy Morgan sustained serious injuries, from which he is still recovering. Back in June of last year, Morgan and his entourage were returning from a trip to Atlantic City. They were on a section of the New Jersey Turnpike that has a speed limit of 55 under normal conditions, but the limit was lowered because of road construction. Evidence obtained thus far shows that the driver of the truck was traveling at 65 miles per hour in the 60 seconds immediately proceeding the accident.

In a recent report by Huffington Post, the family of Mr. McNair has accepted a settlement offer from Wal-Mart, the owner of the truck that caused the accident. As it turns out, the driver of the truck had been on the road for over 24 hours without rest. The driver of the truck faces criminal charges as well.

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A few weeks ago, a federal judge in Chicago rejected a proposed settlement between a number of plaintiffs and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). The claims against the NCAA were based on the alleged failure of the Association to adequately protect student athletes from head injuries such as concussions.

According to a recent article, the proposed settlement totaled $75 million, of which $70 million was designated to test current and former athletes in both contact and non-contact sports for head injuries, and another $5 million was set aside for further research on related issues. However, the judge rejected the proposed settlement because he was concerned that the agreed-upon figure was not adequate to cover the concerns of the parties.

The judge’s chief concern was that the proposed group covered “every athlete for all time,” and that the $70 million would not be sufficient for the medical monitoring portion of the settlement. He suggested either that the group of eligible athletes be redefined to a more “manageable” number, or that the portion of the settlement designated for medical monitoring increase.

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Back in June 2012, a lawsuit was filed against the NFL by a group of almost 2,000 players, alleging that the league failed to inform players of the link between concussions and brain injuries. Back in August of last year, the group of players—that had at that point reached 4,500 in number—came to an agreement with league officials.

Under the terms of that deal, the group of players would receive $765 million to help pay for medical exams, concussion-related compensation, medical research for retired NFL players and their families, and litigation expenses. However, the judge assigned to the case declined to approve the settlement, holding that she didn’t think it was enough money.

According to a recent article by USA Today, the federal judge overseeing the case is again reviewing a potential deal between the players and the league. This time, the proposed settlement would provide for up to $4 million for the families of players who were diagnosed after their death with the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In addition, the proposed settlement would provide between $1.5 million and $3 million to players who are alive and suffering from various brain-related disorders, including dementia.

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Earlier this month, the family of a Buddhist monk who was killed in a car accident back in 2008 reached a settlement with a drunk driver’s insurance company for $625,000. According to a report by one local news source, the accident occurred on Route 28 North when an Isuzu crossed over the center median and struck a Lincoln Towncar shortly after 10:15 in the evening. The two vehicles collided head-on.

Evidently, all four people in the Towncar required medical treatment, as did the driver of the Isuzu and his passenger. Sadly, two days after the accident one of the men in the Towncar passed away from his injuries. He happened to be a Buddhist monk in a temple in Catlett.

The man’s family brought suit against the driver of the Isuzu, claiming that it was his decision to drive drunk that took the life of their loved one. Criminal charges were also filed against the driver, ultimately resulting in his receiving a sentence of 16 years’ incarceration. His sentence was ordered to be suspended after eight years in subsequent proceedings.

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Earlier this year, a Maryland man was punched in the face by singer and performer Chris Brown outside a W Hotel. According to a report by the Washington Post, the altercation began after Brown took a picture with the assault victim.

Evidently, during the criminal trial against both Brown and his bodyguard, it came out that the two men both hit the victim in the face during the confrontation. When the civil suit was first filed, the assault victim was seeking $3 million in damages for his injuries. However, according to statements by the man’s attorney, the settlement they most recently reached is around $100,000, although the exact amount is confidential.

When Brown was arrested for the assault, he was taken into jail because the assault constituted a violation of the probation order he was given back in 2009 for the assault of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. After serving four months in jail while the current case was resolved, the judge decided to let Brown out on time served.

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Back in 2012, a Missouri high-school girl lost her life in a traffic accident when she was broadsided by another vehicle as she crossed a four-lane road. The four-lane road was under construction as she was attempting to cross it, and there was evidence submitted that it was difficult to see oncoming traffic because of a construction sign that had been placed there by road crews.

According to a local report, the girl’s family looked to St. Louis County, who hired the allegedly negligent crew, for answers. Just this past week, the County Attorney for St. Louis County approached the County Board and asked for them to approve a $100,000 settlement in order to avoid the ongoing cost of litigation. He claimed that it was a “reasonable amount given the facts and circumstances” of the case.

The lawsuit also named other parties, including the two construction companies who were in charge of the project. The specific theory of liability asserted that the crews were negligent for placing a road sign in the way of motorists’ view, essentially blocking their direct view of oncoming traffic. Furthermore, the suit alleged that the construction crew and the county government actually ignored warnings that the intersection was unsafe due to the placement of the sign.

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