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Helmets Alleged to be Defective in Design

helmetA seventeen year old boy was gearing up for the fourth quarter of a football game when he ran to the field and got ready for the play that would change his life.  The quarterback snapped the ball and the seventeen year old boy was involved in a helmet to helmet collision that knocked him unconscious immediately.  The boy, now a 21 year old man, was left partially paralyzed and without his short term memory.  Even after extensive physical therapy and occupational rehab, he relies on the assistance of a cane and is susceptible to seizures in any given moment as a result.  A lawsuit was filed against the manufacturer of the helmet, alleging an unsafe and/or defective design of the helmet pad, which was the alleged cause of the heartbreaking tragedy suffered by the young football player.

Similar cases have been filed against manufacturers of helmets across the country with factual situations like the above referenced case in California.  In Massachusetts, a case was recently filed against Riddell, Inc., the same manufacturer alleged with creating a defective helmet in the California case above.  The complaint, filed in Massachusetts, alleges that Riddell, Inc.’s failure to design the helmets to design and manufacturing specifications resulted in the following:

(a) Negligently failing to manufacture the subject helmet with a safe means of attenuating and absorbing the foreseeable forces of impact in order to minimize and/or reduce the forces and energy directed to the player’s head;

(b) Negligently manufacturing the subject helmet with a shock attenuating system which was not safely configured;

(c) Negligently failing to properly and adequately inspect and/or test the helmet model;

(d) Other acts of negligence that may be discovered during the course of this matter; and

(e) Failure to warn Plaintiffs that its helmets wouldn’t protect against the concussive brain injury.

LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Liberty Insurance Underwriters, Inc., and Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company, Plaintiffs, v. RIDDELL, INC., All American Sports Corporation, Riddell Sports Group, Inc., Eb Sports Corp., Easton-Bell Sports LLC, Easton Bell Sports, Inc. and Rbg Holdings Corp., Defendants.

Lawsuits have emerged not only against the manufacturers of helmets, but against the leagues in which that these players have taken part in.  The complaints against these organizations allege that the players have not been properly warned about the risks associated with head injuries, concussions, and post-concussion syndrome.  The most noteworthy of these claims was against the National Football League (NFL).  It was reported, earlier this year, that a federal judge denied preliminary approval of a $765 million dollar settlement of NFL concussion claims- under the belief that this large sum of money would not rightfully compensate approximately 20,000 effected players who will need medical care and treatment that may not be otherwise covered.

For young players, such as the California player injured during the high school game, no such fund exists to compensate him for his past injuries and future disadvantages.  The question remains as to whether the helmet manufacturing produced a defective and/or unsafe product into the stream of commerce.  Additionally, just as leagues have faced liability for their part in failing to warn of the dangers associated with the game, the injuries that may attach, and possible defective equipment they provide, there may be liability to school districts as well who organize and sponsor such sporting events.

If you believe you have a claim for a defective product our office can help.  To schedule a free consultation with lawyer Daniel Cappetta, call our office today at (508) 969-9505 or fill out or contact form available on the right side of this page.