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University of Georgia School of Law

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Georgia Law Review

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The Color Of Pain: Racial Bias In Pain And Suffering Damages, Maytal Gilboa Jan 2022

The Color Of Pain: Racial Bias In Pain And Suffering Damages, Maytal Gilboa

Georgia Law Review

For more than half a century, our legal system has formally eschewed race-based discrimination, and nearly every field of law has evolved to increase protections for minority groups historically burdened by racial prejudice. Yet, even today, juries in tort actions routinely consider a plaintiff’s race when calculating compensatory tort damages, and they do so in a manner that systematically results in lower awards to Black plaintiffs than to White. This Article examines this problem, zeroing in on the specific issue of racial bias in calculations of tort damages for pain and suffering.

The severity of a plaintiff’s injury is commonly …