When an individual is injured in a car accident caused by another person's negligence, they may look to an attorney for help with a personal injury case. Many times, these cases are settled with damages awarded to the plaintiff. While there are many factors that go into determining the amount of damages a plaintiff may receive, one commonly overlooked aspect is a plaintiff's duty to limit damages.
Limiting or mitigating damages is the term given to describe the plaintiff's duty to avoid further damage after an injury. Simply put, an injured individual has a responsibility to take reasonable action in an attempt to minimize additional loss after injury. These steps can be in relation to employment, treatment or medical advice.
A plaintiff's failure to uphold their responsibility to limit their loss can significantly impact their ability to seek damages. At the very least, loss related to their unwillingness to mitigate damages is not considered when determining compensation for their loss.
When seeking medical care, treatments or professional medical advice, the plaintiff must remain in good faith and exercise reasonable judgment when doing so. This obligation can extend to a plaintiff's claim for disability or work related loss. If an injured individual can find employment, even if it is not related to their specific field, they should do so to show good faith by honestly attempting to support themselves. Likewise, if a medical professional recommends surgical intervention as treatment to what could be considered a disabling injury, the plaintiff may not be able to request compensation for the disability if they were unwilling to undergo the surgical intervention.
Just as we have a duty of care before an accident, we also have a duty of care and responsibility to limit damages and loss after an accident. Individuals that have been injured in a car accident as the result of someone else's negligence may want to consider working with a personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney can keep injured individuals aware of their rights and responsibilities while pursuing fair and adequate compensation for their injuries.