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NFL Concussion Settlement Update: 220 Opt Out

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on November 04, 2014 8:45 AM

220 former players and family members of deceased players have opted out of the pending settlement of player concussion claims against the NFL.

The 220 who opted out represent just a fraction of the nearly 34,000 former players and relatives of deceased players who were sent notices regarding the potential settlement, reports Yahoo Sports. In addition to the 220 players or family members who opted out of the settlement -- which will likely total $765 million or more -- another 14 attempted to opt out but filed their requests too late.

What does opting out mean for the players or family members who chose to do so?

Class Action Lawsuit

In a class action lawsuit, a group of people with the same or similar injuries caused in the same fashion sue a defendant as a group. When a class action is certified, the representative of the class is generally required to notify those who may qualify as members of the class.

These potential class members may then decide to "opt in" -- join the class action lawsuit -- or "opt out," in which case they will not be eligible to receive money through a settlement or damages awarded in the case. However, those who opt out of a class action suit may be able to bring their own lawsuits as individuals at a later date.

Seau's Family among Opt-outs

Earlier this year, the family of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau announced that they were opting out of the proposed settlement, reportedly fearing that the settlement would allow the league to avoid having to come clean about its role in concealing the risk of head injuries to players. Seau committed suicide in 2012 and an autopsy performed on his body reportedly showed signs of severe head trauma.

Under the proposed terms of the settlement, former players or their family members would be eligible for up to $5 million in compensation based on the player's age, time played in the NFL, and extent of brain injury or disease. Critics of the settlement claim that players with more mild brain injuries will not be compensated properly under the settlement.

The final fairness hearing on the settlement is scheduled for November 19th.

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