$11.5 Million Jury Verdict for High School Football Player against Helmet Manufacturer


September 23, 2013

A recent jury verdict against Riddell®, a manufacturer of football helmets, could be a significant harbinger for those who have suffered serious adverse effects because of concussions.  The Colorado jury awarded $11.5 million in damages to a high school player who suffered severe brain damage and paralysis on the left side of his body according to a USA Today report.  While the helmet manufacturer had indicated its intention to appeal the verdict, the case serves as a positive omen for others who have suffered head injuries while playing football.  There are a wave of similar lawsuits against helmet manufacturers across the country including those involving former NFL players.

The family of the teenager sued the football helmet company and certain members of the coaching staff when the young man suffered a concussion in practice.  After the boy was injured, he was not immediately taken to the hospital for medical treatment.  The jury assigned 27 percent of the fault in the personal injury lawsuit to Riddell®.  This would make the company’s share of the damage award $3.1 million, but the attorney for the family reportedly indicated they would seek to have the helmet manufacturer pay the entire judgment.

The jury ruled that the helmet maker failed to warn users of the protective headgear of the potential risk of concussion when using a helmet.  This judgment is a welcome sign for those who have suffered concussions on the football field following a judgment by a Mississippi jury earlier this year that determined Riddell® was not liable involving a high school student who suffered a stroke following football practice.

While the failure to warn finding is encouraging for those who have suffered brain damage caused by the impact of collisions on a football field, a spokesman for Riddell® indicated that the company was pleased that the jury “determined that Riddell’s helmet was not defective in any way” according to USA Today article.

Although the finding that the company’s failure to warn that the helmets would not necessarily protect players from suffering concussions and other head injuries during violent collisions on a football field is not binding on Georgia courts, this decision may be a harbinger for how future juries view liability in such cases.

If your child has suffered adverse effects related to a concussion or other head trauma while engaged in contact sports like football, your teenager may be entitled to financial compensation.  The coaches, administrators and school district may be liable for improper supervision of athletes during practice or the failure to ensure that those who suffer concussions receive prompt medical attention.  They may also be liable for failing to keep players from continuing to participate in practice or a game or returning to early.  Players that are allowed to participate in further contact before being medically cleared by a physician can suffer severe brain injury.

If you have questions about a head injury or concussion suffered while engaged in football or other sports, our Georgia sports concussion injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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