After you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s only natural you feel you’re owed compensation for damages caused by someone else. However, even if you are entitled to a damage award from the defendant because of their conduct, it’s important you don’t sabotage your claim and reduce the amount you’re able to receive.
Mitigation of Damages
Mitigation of damages means the victim still has a duty to act reasonably to try and minimize harms inflicted by the defendant’s negligence. In short, even if you weren’t responsible in any way for the accident or your injuries, you still have the responsibility to:
- Care for yourself, and, to the extent possible,
- Limit the extent of harm.
There is no set definition for “reasonable” actions a victim should take; courts will look at your situation and the circumstances surrounding your claim to decide if your efforts were reasonable. However, self-care does not operate as a reasonable substitute for seeking professional medical treatment. The court doesn’t expect you to go bankrupt trying new treatments, but you must make a good faith effort no matter your financial capabilities.
Penalty for Failing to Mitigate Damages
Victims of personal injury have a legal duty to mitigate the damage they’ve suffered; otherwise they will be prohibited from recovering damages for any harm which could have been prevented by either ordinary care or an exercise of reasonable efforts.
The mitigation is not limited to medical care. If you are claiming lost wages, your damage award for these may be reduced if you:
- Refuse to return to work despite being medically cleared
- Refuse to work if you’re approved for lighter duties on the job
- Seek no employment if you aren’t classified as fully disabled but can’t do your old job
Contact a Lawyer Today
Victims of personal injuries are faced with many different challenges – recovering from injury, dealing with insurers, and financially making ends meet. To ensure you can’t be accused of failing to mitigate your damages, contact the skilled Mobile Personal Injury Attorneys at Stevenson Klotz. We’ve spent years providing comprehensive, personalized representation and delivering results; we’ve recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Call us at (850) 706-4226 or fill out our online Contact Page to schedule your free, no-obligation initial case evaluation. Let us help you avoid becoming a victim to the defendant’s attorneys and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.