The answer is yes. Whether young or old, age can become a vital part of a settlement claim. It can affect the value of your claim in several ways. Let’s look at factors that affect the value of the claim for both younger and older individuals.
Is This Based on Life Expectancy?
Life expectancy plays a crucial part in the calculations of a settlement. On average, younger people have a longer life expectancy. This impacts the wages lost if an injured person is disabled temporarily or permanently. Alternatively, an older individual might be closer to retirement, and the lost wages would be reduced. Insurance companies will also consider your age when determining how much they are willing to pay for your pain and suffering. Let’s dive into this question and look at how age affects your injury claim in terms of non-economic losses.
Effect of Age on Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages are one element of your injury claim that can significantly be affected by your age. Generally, the younger you are when injured, the greater your pain and suffering damages will be. This is because you have more years ahead of you to experience the physical, emotional and psychological effects of your injuries.
The older you are when injured, the less your pain and suffering damages will be. This is because you have fewer years ahead of you to suffer the effects. This doesn’t mean that older individuals never recover large sums for their pain and suffering. It simply means that all things being equal, younger people will typically recover more. Age can also affect the type of pain and suffering damages you recover. For example, younger people may be more likely to experience emotional distress, while older people may experience more physical pain.
How Your Age Affects Lost Wage Compensation
Your age can also affect how much you may receive for lost wages. If you are younger, the years until retirement will be greater. This means that the total value of your lost wages will be higher than if you were older. However, this depends on the job and the salary the individual receives. Older individuals may have a more challenging time proving their lost wage claim. This is because they may have retired or been close to retirement age. As a result, the insurance company may argue that the older individual would have retired soon anyway and, therefore, their lost wages are not as significant.
Effect of Your Age on Lost Earning Capacity
Lost earning capacity is based on the injured person’s ability to generate income in the future. This is often directed toward individuals with long-term or permanent disabilities. If the person is younger, it is assumed they will be able to generate more income in the years until retirement. In addition, a younger person will have ample time to rise in their career. Along with promotions comes a salary increase.
Should Older Individuals Receive Less?
This is a bias the insurance industry has against older drivers. They feel older individuals are not as capable and tend to have more car accidents. The car accident may not be their fault, but the insurance companies will still try to give them a lower settlement or try to prove they are responsible.
If you are an older driver, do not let this discourage you. You can still receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Should Older Individuals Be Treated in This Way?
Of course not. No one has the right to treat older individuals as second-class citizens. This is one of the many reasons why it’s essential to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who can negotiate with the insurance companies and get you the settlement you deserve, regardless of your age. Remember, you have three years to file a claim after a personal injury. However, it is essential to collect the evidence much sooner before it disappears.
How Your Age Affects Your Medical Bills
Your age can also affect how much you may receive for your medical bills. Older individuals are more likely to have had medical issues in the past. This can complicate the matter since the insurance company often tries to use prior injuries against an older person. The insurer may insist that the pain the individual feels is not from the current car accident, but a remnant of another incident that happened years earlier. That is why it is important not to give the insurer access to your past medical records. They can use them against you and try to assert that you were not injured in the present accident.
Insurance companies are notorious for offering a lowball settlement after a car accident. They know that despite the accident’s occurrence, bills continue to mount. The insurer realizes the responsibilities of a young family and the presence of a budding career but frequently succeeds in paying as little as possible. An older person might approach a lowball offer differently if they achieved a comfortable retirement.
Filing a Claim with an Insurance Company
An adult can file a claim on their behalf with the insurer. They are also able to approve negotiations and the final settlement. This is not the case when a child is involved. The parents or guardians must file for the child and approve or disagree with the settlement offer.