The legal system will award more money to an injured pro athlete than an injured homeless person, why is that?

Why can pro athletes sue for more than an average Joe?

A warning: This post isn’t about what is fair in a cosmic justice sense. Instead it’s about the reality of the legal system and the logic behind it. Our firm doesn’t make the rules, it just plays by them.

Lawsuits are not a fun pay day for people who have suffered at the hands of others, or a chance for people to become rich by seizing the assets of someone else. Instead, litigation is about making someone “whole” again after someone else’s actions have harmed them.

Imagine this, two people are waiting in line at an outdoor coffee business. A third party loses control of his car and strikes them both. Both people in line are severely injured and now have to use wheelchairs the rest of their lives. Both file lawsuits against the driver.

Let’s imagine the two victims are the same age and suffer identical injuries that prevent them from working. Both have spouses and two kids. The only difference is one of them earns $50,000 a year and the other is a professional basketball player and earns several million annually.

In normal circumstances, the basketball player will receive  much higher compensation. It’s not because they are more deserving or renowned. It’s not because society values them more. It’s because both victims are being compensated on wages they will never earn because of the injury.

The lifetime earning potential of the pro athlete is much higher than that of the average person, and personal injury lawsuits factor in the lost wages that person will miss out on. As a result, the pro athlete is likely to receive a higher settlement.

That’s the legal system as we have it, and that’s the reality we have to navigate when we litigate. While money can never truly make a person whole again, it can help them make their mortgage payments and provide for their family.