Understanding Your Duty to Mitigate Damages After a Car Accident

person outside on crutchesOne of the main reasons crash victims should seek out an experienced attorney is because they need guidance on protecting their legal claim. The things you do and do not do as the victim could greatly affect your ability to recover maximum compensation.

For example, did you know you have a duty to mitigate your damages?

This means you have a duty to seek treatment and take other reasonable steps to treat your injuries and try to make the best recovery possible. Failure to do this could give the insurance company a reason to underpay or even deny your claim.

At Galloway Jefcoat, our licensed Lafayette vehicle accident attorneys are here to help you through every step of the legal process and explain how you can protect your claim. We have the resources to investigate your crash and deal with the rest of the legal process while you focus on your medical treatment. While we want to recover maximum compensation for our clients, the first priority is your health.

We are ready to take your call and discuss your claim: (337) 984-8020.

Defining Mitigation of Damages

Mitigation is a word you may have heard often in the past couple of years related to COVID-19. For example, risk mitigation refers to steps that can be taken to help reduce a risk. There are risk mitigation measures homeowners take when preparing for a hurricane or other natural disasters.

In the context of a personal injury or injury from a car crash, mitigation means taking reasonable steps to keep your injuries from getting worse. A reasonable step would be seeing doctor as soon as possible after the accident.

If your doctor recommends a particular treatment that has been shown to be effective with your injury, going through with the treatment could be considered a reasonable step. While it is up to you to decide what kind of treatment you get, it is important to understand how your decisions might impact your claim.

The Problem With Refusing Treatment

Refusing recommended treatment gives the insurance company a reason to doubt the severity of your injuries. The insurance company’s rationale is that you must not be seriously hurt if you are rejecting treatment – either that or your injuries have healed and no longer need treatment.

You are within your rights to refuse treatment, but you could get a second opinion. Another doctor may recommend another form of treatment that is within accepted medical standards. If you get this treatment, it may be harder for the insurance company to argue you are failing to mitigate damages.

If a surgery is risky and the benefits of it are unclear, it will be much more difficult for the insurance company to claim failure to mitigate damages.

Following Doctor’s Orders

Mitigating damages is not only about continuing your medical treatment, but it is also about avoiding activities your doctor tells you to avoid. For example, your doctor may tell you avoid strenuous physical exercise or to avoid putting weight on an injured leg. Your doctor may tell you that you need to keep your leg elevated, which means you cannot be doing a lot of things around the house.

Failing to follow instructions like these can be seen as failing to mitigate damages. Limiting your physical activity can help your injuries to heal because it helps to prevent an injury from being reaggravated.

Obtaining Medical Treatment Quickly

Another aspect of mitigating damages is seeking treatment quickly. It is reasonable to expect people who know or suspect they are injured to seek medical treatment relatively soon. If you fail to do this, the insurance company will speculate that you are not really injured or that your injuries are not that serious.

What if the Insurance Company Asserts Failure to Mitigate Damages?

You should strongly consider hiring an experienced attorney to help you build your case. There are many reasons why, but one is they will know how to counter the insurance company’s arguments about why your claim should be underpaid or even denied.

For example, an attorney should know how to counter a mitigation of damages defense. Better yet, an attorney can tell you what you can do to strengthen your case, so a mitigation of damages defense will be harder to prove.

Your attorney can use various evidence to counter a mitigation of damages defense, particularly your medical records. If your records show consistent treatment and adherence to doctor recommendations, a mitigation of damages defense should be much harder to prove.

If you have sought a second opinion about your medical treatment, or you have a good reason for why you waited to seek treatment, make sure to inform your attorney. Your attorney needs to know these things to help him or her build a strong case.

We Help Crash Victims Seek Compensation. Call for Assistance

If you were seriously injured in a car crash, you are going to need a significant amount of compensation, and not just for your medical expenses. You may need ongoing care long after your claim is resolved. You may need compensation for the wages you lost when you could not work. We also know an injury can cause significant pain and suffering, which cannot be underestimated.

If you were injured in a crash, contacting the experienced Lafayette personal injury lawyers at Galloway Jefcoat can be a critical step in the legal process. If you try to go it alone, it can be much harder to obtain compensation. Insurance companies often try to take advantage of victims who do not have attorneys.

Free consultation. No upfront fees. Call today: (337) 984-8020.