Gender Gap in Scar Compensation
The gender gap, or difference in treatment based on gender, can be seen in many aspects of life. One place you will almost certainly find this differential dealing is with regards to a personal injury case involving scarring. Each case will be as different as the person involved, yet by analyzing scarring cases it becomes clear that women generally receive more compensation than men for permanent scarring. While gender gaps are not fair, they are a reality. If you have sustained severe or permanent scarring as the result of an accident speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in New Jersey today.
What is the reasoning behind this gap? For one, a woman is more likely to be affected by permanent scarring than men. Men have more body hair that can hide imperfections than women. For example we recently represented a client in which she had significant scarring on her knee. Had she been a man she may not have minded, but she was concerned about how her leg would look in shorts or when she was wearing a bathing suit. We were able to get her $60,000 for her injuries, but had she been a man she would have most likely received less.
Laws regarding compensation for scarring will differ in each state, but in New Jersey the opinion decided in Gilhooley v. County of Union, 164 N.J. 533, 544, 753 A.2d 1137 (2000) stated that:
A scar must impair or injure the beauty, symmetry, or appearance of a person, rendering the bearer unsightly, misshapen or imperfect, deforming her in some manner…[a] number of factors should be considered, including appearance, coloration, existence and size of the scar, as well as, shape, characteristics of surrounding skin, remnants of the healing process, and any other cosmetically important matters.
Richard Console, managing partner at Console & Hollawell, P.C., explained that there are several instances where compensation would differ for scarring. He said first any scarring that is immediately visible (such as scars on the face) will receive more money than one that can be easily concealed. He also explained that in almost all cases a client would receive more money if they were a woman or a child. Age also plays a factor in these cases as a young person would have to live with the disfigurement longer and therefore suffer more than an older person.
In these cases, the system seems to revolve around common gender stereotypes such as women are vainer and that men would enjoy the ruggedness of a scar. While it may be absurd to compensate more for a woman’s scar than a man’s that is the trend these types of cases seem to follow.
For more information about permanent scars and compensation speak with an injury attorney in NJ.