As conversations about gender and racial prejudices and systemic discrimination become more frequent and necessary, practically all professional sectors have been confronted with the need to consider how certain professional practices may incur in discriminatory practices that prevent that different social minorities receive fair treatment, achieving social mobility or have access to better economic opportunities.
In the legal realm, there are numerous factors that can influence the amount a person can receive as compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. Whether this compensation is negotiated in or out of court, it is valuable to know how certain cultural biases may affect this process.
You may not realize it or have given it much thought, however, personal injury laws in the United States display a bias that could be defined as biased or discriminatory, often in favor of white, male victims who typically receive higher awards than women and members of minorities in comparable cases.
Although the amount of compensation awarded in a personal injury claim depends fundamentally on the type and extent of the injury, and it is common for injuries that result in permanent disability to obtain higher amounts, this is not the only factor taken into account at the time to calculate an amount of compensation.
Typically, when a personal injury attorney calculates an estimate of compensation for a case, he or she will usually take as a basis a base amount of future lost earnings, the number of years the injury victim has worked up to the time of the accident, and the amount of the victim’s expected earnings. Taking these figures as a basis creates a fundamental problem because, on average, women and racial minorities work fewer years and earn less. This problem is compounded when one takes into account the fact that the calculations made by a lawyer also take into account the age of the victim.
Other countries have decided to reduce this problem by suppressing the use of these demographic measures. Instead, judicial systems focus on aspects such as family circumstances and the level of education of the victim, aiming to benefit the victim instead of reducing his possible compensation through financial measures that are often beyond your control.