When you think of personal injury cases and the factors that contribute to higher verdicts, you likely focus on things like the severity of the injuries suffered, whether there is permanent damage and whether the defendant was especially reckless or grossly negligent. Though these are important factors, a recent article in Business Insider mentions another few considerations many people overlook: race and gender.
Though we might instinctively believe that things like race or gender shouldn’t have anything to do personal injury damages, studies indicate that they absolutely do. In fact, experts say that if a young black girl and a young white boy both suffered the exact same injuries, perhaps due to lead poisoning, it’s quite possible that the white boy would walk away with millions more dollars in personal injury damages than the black girl.
Your first question will likely be, why is this true? Are the courts simply discriminating? Well, the answer is a bit complicated. To understand why the results are so different based on race and gender, we have to discuss one important component of personal injury damage awards: lost future earnings. If a person has been seriously injured, it is almost always the case that their lawyer will ask for compensation for the money the person would’ve earned in his or her life. This can represent a sizable chunk of the damages awarded.