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How Gender and Race Determine Future Income in Personal Injury Damages

In Maryland, when a person has suffered injuries as a result of another’s negligence, a system has been set up to compensate the victim for his or her losses resulting from those injuries. In Maryland, if the person has damages that are easy to track because they are for tangible expenditures and expenses, like hospital bills and lost wages from time off work to recuperate, the court will generally award the damages to the victim for the loss. For example, if Person A were to injure Victim B and the jury found that the Person A was negligent and caused the injury, than Victim B would be able to claim any and all economic damages associated with his or her injury, such as the cost of the medical care, the rehabilitation treatment after the injury, and any additional medical supplies Victim B might need to recover.

Non-Economic Damages

The Court will also assess the extent to which Victim B has suffered in non-economic ways. This refers to non-economic damages that are not financial in nature, but have a value to Victim B. These damages include the pain and suffering, any physical impairment that the injury has caused, a loss of consortium (or physical intimacy) with a partner resulting from the injury, the emotional trauma and mental anguish from the injury, among other non-economic impacts on a person who has been injured in an accident.

Maryland’s Cap on Non-Economic Damages as of 2017

Maryland has placed a cap on the amount of money that can be recovered by Victim B for any non-economic damages, and usually a jury decides the extent to which Victim B should be compensated for Person A’s negligent actions that led to the injury. As of 2017, the cap has been raised to roughly $785,000. If your injury occurred in 2016, you would be awarded no more than$770,000.

Study Demonstrates that Racial and Gender Bias Can Affect Personal Injury Damages

Part of the assessment of whether or not to award a certain amount of economic damages in a case is based on the extent to which a person’s income has been altered by the injury. For example, if Victim B works in construction and the injury paralyzed him or her, then the jury would have to determine to what extent he or she is foregoing a living wage. This assessment is trickier when the victim is younger, and his or her trajectory and future income amount are uncertain.

According to a recent study, the determination of these types of speculative damages may be based on racial and gender bias, rather than on what Victim B might have actually made in a lifetime. When calculating future earnings, it must be determined how much Victim B would have earned based on the type of degrees and the employment he or she would have had, and additionally, how long the person might have worked in an ideal circumstance. The study that the Washington Post relied on reported that almost 44% of the survey respondents factored in race in the future earnings determination, while 92% factored in gender. The study results found that white and male victims were more likely to receive larger awards than women and people of color in similar cases.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another’s negligence and would like to be compensated for your economic and non-economic damages, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.
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