Could being married actually increase the size of your payout? And could being too young or too old give you a lower payout? According to researchers in the Journal of Risk & Insurance, women, single people, people under 22, and people over 65 are not as likely to get as large of a car accident settlement as men between 22 and 65.
However, their findings show that the issue isn't straightforward discrimination on the insurer's part, per se. Instead, the behaviors and associations tied to women, young people, and the elderly probably affect their ability to fight for larger car accident claims. To start, past studies have shown that women, young people, and the elderly all share a larger aversion to financial risk than men between 22 and 65. The researchers hypothesize that aversion to financial risk causes these groups to accept smaller offers rather than refusing and negotiating for a better outcome.
Other studies also show that women, people under 22, and the elderly share higher "negotiation costs," partly due to conflict-averse styles of dispute resolution. In other words, these three groups are more likely to prefer a shorter negotiation process, which benefits the insurer. Per the study's data, men between 22 and 65, as well as married people of all genders, are more likely to extend the negotiation process until they get a better offer.
How Fault Is Assigned
This study focused solely on third-party insurance claims, i.e. claims where the claimant was filing against another person's insurer. In these situations, the claimant's own insurer likely found them to be not at fault, or at least less to blame than the other parties.
However, evidence shows that insurers are more likely to assign fault to young people, women, elderly drivers, and unmarried claimants. Men between 22 and 65 were typically assigned less fault in general, which might also make them more confident to pursue the other insurer for medical costs, lost wages, and other damages.
The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer
The study from the Journal of Risk & Insurance didn't examine how hiring a lawyer affected settlement sizes, but other researchers have found that hiring attorneys for car accident claims typically resulted in higher settlement amounts. The fact is, no matter who you are, you're less likely to prevail against your insurer if you don't have someone with experience and resources on your side, someone who isn't afraid to take the fight to the insurer on every front.
If you've been in a serious car accident and you need more than the insurer is offering, let us fight for you. We've taken on the largest insurers and companies in the world, taking them to task for underhanded tactics while securing our clients' futures. Arnold & Itkin LLP has obtained over $10 billion for our clients, so we know what it takes to win. No matter what.
Call (888) 493-1629 today for the advocates who know how to fight—and more importantly, how to win.