What is the Duty to Mitigate in Personal Injury Cases?
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligent or careless conduct, you might be entitled to compensation for your damages and losses.
However, after filing a personal injury claim, your insurance company can devalue or even deny your claim by arguing that you failed to mitigate the damages. What does it even mean?
What is the duty to mitigate in personal injury cases? Consult with a knowledgeable and results-driven attorney at The Turnbull Firm to handle your personal injury claim and obtain maximum compensation for your damages.
What is the “duty to mitigate”?
Many personal injury claimants are not aware of the “duty to mitigate,” which is essentially the claimant’s obligation to take reasonable steps to minimize their damages after the injury. The duty is also commonly referred to as “the doctrine of avoidable consequences.”
In 1984, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal explained the meaning of the “duty to mitigate.” When an injured party fails to mitigate damages, they are barred from recovering the damages that “could have been avoided without undue risk, burden, or humiliation.”
In other words, if you suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you have a duty to take reasonable steps to reduce the damages stemming from the injury.
If the at-fault party or the insurance company proves that you failed to mitigate the damages, you will not be able to recover the damages that could have been avoided had you acted reasonably.
What steps should I take to comply with the duty to mitigate?
Now that you understand how the doctrine of avoidable consequences works in Florida, you need to know what steps you should take to mitigate the damages in your personal injury case.
One of the first steps an injured person should take to minimize the damages is to seek medical treatment immediately after the accident. In addition to seeking treatment, you must also follow your doctor’s orders and recommendations to recover and get back to normal life as soon as possible.
What happens if I fail to mitigate the damages?
Failure to fulfill the duty to mitigate can result in the reduction of your award for damages.
- In most cases, failure to mitigate the damages simply means that the injured party will not be able to get compensated for the damages that could have been avoided through reasonable steps.
- In the worst-case scenario, the insurance company or judge (if your case goes to trial) may even bar you from recovering any damages if you fail to mitigate the damages.
Often, insurance companies attempt to use the doctrine of avoidable consequences as an excuse to pay claimants less than they are entitled to. For example, your insurer may argue that you could have recovered faster had you followed all of your doctors’ orders.
The duty to mitigate is an essential element of any personal injury case in Florida. It is advised to contact an experienced Lakeland personal injury lawyer to find out how you can mitigate the damages to maximize compensation in your particular case. Schedule a consultation with our attorney Sanga Turnbull by calling 863-324-3500.