If someone’s negligence caused your injury, your age may impact how much your case is worth. This is because your age may affect several factors which include, but not limited to, comparative negligence, pain and suffering, loss of wage-earning capacity, the need for court approval and a guardianship of the property.
Effect of Age on Comparative Negligence – (Minor Children)
In Florida, children under six (6) years old cannot have their damages reduced by their negligence. However, the damages can be reduced by the negligence of the parent.
So if a car hits a kid who is six (6) years old or younger old when he or she runs out in the street in Florida, the child generally cannot be found to be at fault.
But fault can be placed on the parents, which reduces the full settlement value of the child’s claim.
Another example of the effect of age on comparative negligence is if you were riding an ATV and were injured.
There are different ATVs designed for teenagers then there are for adults. A teenager who is injured while riding an adult ATV may be at fault because it is not designed for a teenager.
Effect of Age on Pain and Suffering Damages
All things equal, in serious injury cases, younger people tend to be awarded more for future pain and suffering than those who are older. This is particularly true in serious injury cases.
This is because younger people have a longer life expectancy and can argue that they will have a longer period of future pain and suffering.
Life expectancy is how much longer you’re expected to live. You can use the actuarial life table to see life expectancies.
Court Implies 85-Year Old’s Age Is a Reason Why It Won’t Dismiss Trip and Fall Case
A Florida court implied that old age should be considered as a reason to not dismiss a fall victim’s case if she can’t say exactly what was wrong with a mat on which she tripped.
The doorman said that tiles were chipped and covered by the mat. Simon suffered serious injuries. She sued the condominium association.
The 85-year old testified through an interpreter. She was asked if she tripped on the edge of the nylon and she said, “Yes. I hit the nylon and I bumped into the door.”
Simon said “she tripped or caught her foot on the edge of the rug,” and there was “no evidence that there was anything wrong with the edge of the rug.”
The condo association’s attorney argued that her case should be dismissed because she couldn’t say what was wrong with the mat.
The condo appeals court let the case continue to trial. By mentioning that she was 85-years old, the court gave her a break due to her old age.
Court OKs $4.5 Million Verdict; Says Award Based Life Expectancy and Evidence
In Hendry v. Zelaya, 841 So. 2d 572 (Fla. 3d DCA 2003), see why a court approved a $4.5 million dollar jury verdict for pain and suffering for a skull fracture that required surgery, and a brain injury.
The appeals court said the verdict was based on the injured man’s life expectancy and evidence. I think that the court was implying that because he was young, he would endure a lot of future pain and suffering.
He was hit by a bottle in a bar in a Miami Beach hotel.
Juries Like Young Children
Younger minor children are sympathetic claimants and very likable in the jury’s eyes. Adjusters know this, and they may offer more money for the pain and suffering component of the claim to reflect this.
Older People Have a “Golden Years” Argument
On the other hand, juries typically feel sympathy for people who older. I’m referring to people who are approximately 65-years-old or so or older.
This can increase the amount of money that an insurance company, cruise line or responsible party assigns to the pain and suffering component of your claim.
Effect of Age on Loss of Wage-Earning Capacity
If someone’s negligence in Florida, or on a cruise ship, caused your injuries then you may be entitled to make a claim for loss of wage earning capacity. In measuring the loss of wage-earning capacity, no single factor is conclusive.
Criteria by which loss of earning capacity may be measured have been announced in a number of cases decided by the Florida Supreme Court.
These criteria include several factors including, but not limited to, claimant’s age. Walker v. Electronics Products & Engineering Co., 248 So.2d 161 (Fla. 1971).
Minors – Type IV Fracture Through Growth Plate, Metaphysis, and Epiphysis
One type of injury that can increase the value of a minor’s case is a growth plate injury. Growth plate injuries do not occur in adults.
A type IV fracture, which runs through the epiphysis, across the growth plate, and into the metaphysis. Surgery is usually needed to restore the joint surface to normal and to perfectly align the growth plate.
Unless perfect alignment is achieved and maintained during healing, the outlook for growth is bad, and angulation (bending) of the bone may occur.
This injury occurs most commonly at the end of the humerus (the upper arm bone) near the elbow. This adds value to the pain and suffering component of the claim.
Minors – Type V: Compression Fracture Through Growth Plate
A Type V Compression fracture through the growth plate is when the end of the bone is crushed and the growth plate is compressed. It generally happens at the knee or ankle.
The outlook is bad is poor, since premature stunting of growth is almost unavoidable. This increases the pain and suffering component of the claim. This adds value to the pain and suffering component of the claim.
A newer classification, called the Peterson classification, adds a type VI fracture, in which a part of the epiphysis, growth plate, and metaphysis is not present.
This generally happens with open wounds or compound fractures, and often involves lawnmowers, farm equipment or gunshot wounds.
Every type VI fracture need surgery, and most will require later reconstructive or corrective surgery. Bone growth is almost always stunted. This adds value to the pain and suffering and medical bills component of the claim.
How Is Your Case Value Affected if You Have Medicare?
Many individuals who are 65 and older have Medicare. If you have Medicare, and you’re hurt in an accident, Medicare should pay your bills before the settlement.
You have to repay Medicare for any amounts that it paid for your accident related care. If you have a lawyer, Medicare will reduce its lien (the amount owed) by your attorney’s fees and costs.
Medicare can deny future injury related treatment, but is rarely doing so. This is likely to change in October 2017, when Medicare has said that it will get much more aggressive in denying future accident related treatment.
Florida Settlements for Minors May Require Court Approval
Over 87 important factors affect the value of a Florida injury case
Age is just one of the 87 important factors may affect the settlement value of a Florida injury case. You need to know all of these factors before speaking with an insurance adjuster.
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