(In an article that appears in Concussion Litigation Reporter, attorneys Shaun Crosner and Michael Gehrt of Dickstein Shapiro examine how leagues, teams, and schools may be able to defray some or all of these expenses with frequently overlooked assets. To read the entire article, subscribe to CLR at https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)
As demonstrated by the recent wave of lawsuits against the NFL and its member teams, concussions in sports continue to be a significant source of potential legal liability for professional leagues and teams. The same is true for colleges, universities, and secondary schools—all of which have seen an appreciable increase in the number of concussion lawsuits filed by current and former student-athletes.
This surge in concussion litigation is partially attributable to a number of recent medical studies purporting to link certain head injuries to long-term health problems caused by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in individuals with a history of repetitive concussions. According to these studies, the changes in the brain caused by CTE can potentially continue months, years, or even decades after an athlete’s last concussion or retirement from active athletic participation.
Lawsuits brought by athletes seeking substantial damages for alleged physical and emotional injuries can be extremely expensive to defend, and these suits can subject leagues, teams, and schools to potential exposure in the form of settlements and judgments. However, leagues, teams, and schools may be able to defray some or all of these expenses with frequently overlooked assets: their commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies.