Do Injury Victims Have a Duty to Mitigate Damages?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Jul 21, 2022 in Personal Injury News
Injury victims have a responsibility to prevent an accident or reduce the worsening of an injury. However, the insurance company cannot deny you compensation simply because you did not take steps to mitigate your damages. Arguing that an injury victim failed to mitigate his or her damages is a common defense tactic used by insurance companies to deny valid claims.
Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers know the tactics used by insurance companies and how to fight back against them to help recover maximum compensation.
Learn more about your legal options when you schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable attorneys today. There are no fees while we work on your case, and no obligation to take legal action.
What Does Mitigation of Damages Mean?
To mitigate damages means that you have a duty to act in a reasonable manner that would prevent an accident from happening or prevent your injuries (damages) from getting worse if an accident does occur.
Some examples of mitigation of damages to avoid an auto accident include defensive or focused driving. To prevent a slip and fall accident, a reasonable precaution could be to watch your step and avoid wet floors.
But accident prevention is not the only reasonable action a person can take to mitigate their damages. Mitigation efforts also include safety precautions, like wearing a seatbelt while in a car or a helmet if you are on a bike or motorcycle.
Once an accident does occur, despite your efforts to prevent it, you also have the burden of mitigating exacerbation of your injuries. Part of this responsibility includes seeking appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident.
Are Injury Victims Required to Mitigate Economic Damages?
Injury victims do have a duty to mitigate the cost of their economic damages to a certain extent. An example of this might be if you chose to see one of the most expensive doctors in town.
While you cannot be denied compensation on this basis alone, the insurance company could use it to seek a reduced payment. This could be a strong argument, especially if there were more reasonably-priced options available to you.
The insurance company might also try to argue that some of your medical procedures, such as getting surgery, were elective and therefore unnecessary expenses.
It is important to remember that the insurance company will always look for reasons to try to reduce what they pay for your damages. However, these arguments are often not valid.
What Are My Options if the Insurance Company Claims I Failed to Mitigate Damages?
If the insurance company denies liability by arguing you failed to mitigate your damages, it is a good idea discuss your legal options with an attorney.
Our attorneys are prepared to help build a strong argument against the insurance company claiming you did not mitigate your damages. If your case ends up in court, the conclusion will ultimately fall on a jury to decide. A licensed and experienced legal professional can help to dispute false claims, protect your interests and fight to prove your due diligence.
Is There a Difference Between Mitigation of Damages and Comparative Fault?
The duty to mitigate damages and comparative negligence are different legal standards.
Comparative negligence is when partial liability is assigned to an injury victim. This reduces the at-fault party’s liability as well as the amount of compensation awarded to the victim. Whereas the duty to mitigate damages does not take any fault for the accident away from the liable party. It does, however, reduce the value of a claim due to the victim’s failure to act in a reasonable manner to prevent damages or diminish them.
Both are defensive arguments often used by insurance companies to help them avoid paying out full compensation for valid claims.
Schedule a Free Consultation. Call Today
It would be in your best interest to discuss your claim with an attorney as soon as possible. Especially if the insurance company is trying to pin any blame for your damages on you. This strategy is often used effectively by insurance companies. Do not lose out on the opportunity to recover what you need for your medical bills because of these tactics.
Call our licensed attorneys today to learn more about your legal options and your right to pursue full compensation.
Call (800) 518-0508 to schedule a free consultation.
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