The family of a former NFL player has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the league because the league concealed risks of repeated concussions, leading to the death of former Minnesota Vikings player Wally Hilgenberger. This lawsuit was filed at the same time as a similar lawsuit by 40 NFL players and their wives over the effects of concussion injuries.

According to the lawsuit, the NFL had known since the 1960s that repeated concussions could result in delayed neurological damage, but as late as 2009, the league was still attempting to conceal these effects.

An interesting aspect of the Hilgenberger case is that it stems from the player’s death in 2008 at his home in Lakeville, Minnesota. Normally, Minnesota law limits filing to three years after a person’s death, but in this case, special circumstances extended the time frame for action. Hilgenberger’s death in 2008 was initially attributed to complications of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Hilgenberger donated his organs to the Boston University School of Medicine, and researchers there determined in 2010 that his death was actually due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the result of repeated concussions, according to the complaint.

In many cases, the statute of limitations depends for wrongful death not on the actual date of injury or death, but at the time you knew or reasonably should have known about the cause of injury or death, which may be before or after the actual date of death. Because of uncertainty about the actual date when your statute of limitations begins counting, it is recommended that you begin your wrongful death action sooner rather than later. If you wait too long, you will likely be completely barred from recovering compensation. Ohio wrongful death law sets a statute of limitations that normally extends two years after death.

To learn more about your legal options after the death of a loved one, please contact the Columbus, Ohio personal injury lawyers at Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA for a free case evaluation.