You might think that given we are now in 2023 that gender differences might be a thing of the past. However, this is not always the case as many experience, especially when it comes to personal injury claims.
Any of us can suffer from an injury. That injury might be the fault of someone else, but if you can make accidents in public places claims, why should gender matter? After all, surely an injury is an injury, regardless of your gender?
In this article, we are going to look at gender differences in personal injury claims.
How Are Gender Differences Affecting Personal Injury Claims?
There is still a significant level of inequality regarding personal injury claims. Firstly, it can be difficult to determine the exact loss of future earnings. The aim of this is to ensure the injured individual finds themselves in the same financial position they would be in if the injury hadn’t occurred.
How Has This Figure Been Calculated Traditionally?
When calculating the value of a personal injury claim, the common approach is to evaluate the loss sustained by the injured party on a yearly basis and then multiply that amount by the amount of years that the individual who was injured was expected to work during their life. However, this method can be affected by gender stereotypes and outdated assumptions.
What is the Issue with This Approach?
The issue is that this calculation is heavily reliant on assumptions. One assumption is that women will live longer than men, and therefore, the amount that is lost is higher for women.
However, there is also an assumption that women will stop working to start families, and a discount is applied to the award given to women. This discount is determined by assuming that females will spend more time out of the workforce.
Therefore, these assumptions are no longer accurate in today’s society. Many women are returning to work after having children and are sharing parental responsibilities more equally. This is supported by statistics from the Office of National Statistics, which show that 75% of mothers with dependent children are returning to work.
This means that the discount applied to women no longer mirrors how likely they will return to work, and as such, the amount awarded to women is reduced by a significant amount.
Another aspect where gender differences may impact personal injury claims is the calculation of “care claims.” If an individual is injured and receives care from a loved one, a claim can be made for “gratuitous care.” This type of care is considered to be above and beyond what would typically be expected in the individual’s usual personal circumstances.
However, how this care is perceived and evaluated may be influenced by societal expectations and gender stereotypes.
Another area where gender may come into play is in calculating compensation for physical scarring. Lawyers rely on guidelines created by judges and barristers to determine compensation for this type of injury, and these guidelines are frequently updated.
However, the perception of scarring and its impact on an individual’s life may vary based on societal expectations and gender stereotypes.
The previous guidelines for assessing the impact of personal injury claims made a distinct separation between men and women, with the belief that scarring would be more stressful for women than for men.
In the most recent edition of these guidelines, published in 2017, this differentiation has been removed. This change in approach represents a shift towards a more individualised evaluation of a claim, taking into account the specific circumstances and personal choices of the claimant.
With the evolution of societal norms and increasing awareness about gender equality, guidelines need to reflect these changes and avoid making assumptions based on gender. However, the effectiveness of this change in approach remains to be seen, as it is yet to be fully implemented in practice.
It is important to note that the guidelines are not legally binding, and it is ultimately up to the judges to interpret and apply them in their decision-making process.
Additionally, the assessment of personal injury claims has become more complex in recent years, with a broader range of factors being taken into consideration. This includes not only physical injuries and medical costs but also the psychological impact of the injury, the effect on the individual’s quality of life, and their ability to return to work or engage in their previous activities.
Therefore, the guidelines must continue to evolve to provide fair and accurate evaluations of personal injury claims.
How Can This Be Tackled?
One way to address gender differences in personal injury claims is to ensure that the guidelines used to evaluate these claims are gender-neutral. This can be achieved by removing any language or assumptions that make distinctions based on gender and instead focusing on the individual’s specific circumstances and personal choices.
Additionally, it is important to consider a broader range of factors when evaluating a claim, including the psychological impact of the injury and the individual’s quality of life, rather than relying solely on physical injuries and medical costs.
Another way to tackle gender differences in personal injury claims is through education and training for those involved in the claims process, including judges, lawyers, and insurance adjusters. This can help ensure that they are aware of and sensitive to the unique challenges and experiences that individuals of different genders may face as a result of their injuries.
Additionally, to address any gender bias that may be present in the claims process, it is important to collect and analyse data on the outcomes of personal injury claims by gender. This data can be used to identify any patterns or disparities that may exist and to inform efforts to address them.
Finally, it is essential to have a diverse group of individuals involved in the claims process, from the legal professionals to the adjudicators, to ensure a fair and just evaluation of the claims.
Gender Differences in Personal Injury Claims…
As you can see from this article and the points raised, gender bias may still affect the outcome of a person’s claim. If you feel you’ve been victim to this, it’s best to speak to a professional to gain further advice.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on personal injury claims. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
Top image by Animation Production Company from Pixabay
2 thoughts on “Gender Differences in Personal Injury Claims Explained”
Hi Christy, I agree it is unreasonable to assume woman don’t return to work post pregnancy now as most have too. I had a claim from the Road Accident Fund when I fractured my pelvic bone in a cycling accident on the road.
Sorry to hear about your injury, Robbie. You’re so right that it’s not usually a choice to return to the workplace after becoming a mom.