Federal Guidelines Proposed to Eliminate Gender and Race in Calculating Personal Injury Awards
In a salvo against Donald Trump’s blatant racism against: Hispanics, Muslims, women and the disabled, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), introduced a bill on Thursday that would prevent Federal courts from considering personal injury victims’ race or gender when calculating their awards.
The law, if passed, would “also direct the Justice Department and Labor Department to make non-binding guidelines for state courts and forensic economists—advising them that current practices may violate Federal equal protection laws,” according to The Washington Post.
The actuarial numbers now being used to determine the value of personal injury awards, are based on how much victims or their families could recover in the future, if they hadn’t been injured. Under current law, white males often receive larger awards than women and people of color with similar backgrounds.
For example, a white male with a bachelor’s degree is worth $2.28M, while a black male with a master’s is worth only $2.12 million. (www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/wonk/settlements)
Gillibrand told The Post, “In this day and age, the courts should not be allowed to say one life is worth more than another.”
Jennifer Wriggins, a law professor at the University of Maine, said today’s widespread racism and sexism “reinforces past discrimination and pushes it out into the future and endorses it.” www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/wonk/settlements
George Barrett, a forensic economist in Charleston, W.Va., “the overwhelming majority” of economists account for gender, and though it’s far less universal, it’s “absolutely” common for race-based tables to be used.
He called demographics averages “the industry standard”.