BATON ROUGE, Louisiana. A recent investigative report published by ProPublica and Consumer Reports found that in four states, residents of minority neighborhoods pay higher insurance premiums than those who live in predominantly white neighborhoods with similar risks. Individuals living in minority neighborhoods may pay as much as 30% more for their car insurance. Individuals who live in low-income areas may be paying a premium on their car insurance—just for being poor. According to Salon, insurance companies base their rates on proprietary actuarial formulas. While it isn’t clear entirely how insurance companies determine their rates, they invest quite a bit of money in stopping legislation that would no longer permit them from using credit ratings and zip codes in their formulas. This suggests that where you live and the strength of your credit could have a huge impact on your car insurance rates.
But the story doesn’t end there. Do minority individuals who pay more for their car insurance get less in recovery amounts when they have been in an accident? This is harder to determine because each accident is unique and determining the value of damages can become quite complex. For instance, the value of a claim will depend on many factors—from the kind of job a person has, to the time they have missed from work, to the severity of their injury and the kind of medical care they will need. Individuals who have been in a car accident can collect damages for lost wages, medical care, rehabilitative care, and pain and suffering damages. Of all of these factors, pain and suffering damages can be among the more subjective claims. In this area, minority accident victims may lose the most.
According to a New York Times report, minorities and African Americans may receive less pain treatment than whites. They may suffer more disabilities due to this inequality. The report documents the experience of one woman who was injured on the job, who was only prescribed over-the-counter pain medication for an injury that turned out to be much worse. If doctors do not take minorities’ pain seriously, then it is less likely that a judge or jury in a personal injury lawsuit will do the same. In many cases, pain and suffering damages are based on medical expenses and a doctor’s determination of the seriousness of a person’s injury. According to one study, blacks were prescribed opioids less often than whites. Black children were also less likely to be treated with stronger painkillers than white children with similar conditions. Another study found that worker’s compensation programs pay out less to treat blacks with back injuries than they do to treat whites with similar injuries. Blacks also received less money for lost wages and less time away from work.
What does this mean if you are a minority and have been a victim of a car accident? This research suggests that bias may begin with your doctor and may trickle through the entire recovery process from there. This is why it is important to find a qualified personal injury attorney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana like Laborde Earles. Our firm can take a look at your case, starting with medical treatment. We can ask the tough questions about your care. Are you receiving the care you need and deserve? Has your pain been taken seriously?
If you feel that you have not received the treatment you deserve, or if you feel you are being offered a lower settlement from your insurance company than you deserve, you may want to speak to a car accident lawyer today. Laborde Earles: Injury Lawyers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana are on your side, fighting for you every step of the way. Contact us today at 800-522-6733 for a free, initial consultation.