What You Need to Know About Mitigation of Damages

Mitigation of damages means that as a victim of an accident who suffered personal injuries (and had no fault for the crash) you won’t deny any reasonable chance to decrease your losses or damages. 

If you fail to mitigate damages, the court may refuse to award any damages that could have been reasonably avoided by you as a victim. The court will evaluate your actions after the breach of contract to determine if you took the steps that a reasonable person would take in a similar case. 

Mitigation of damages doesn’t require you to take extreme steps or make any actual sacrifices to avoid or minimize the loss.

It’s best if you let an Indianapolis car accident lawyer take care of all this. 

Duty to Mitigate

When you suffered damages as a result of a breach of contract, you should minimize the effects and losses that occurred after the injury. People use the duty to mitigate to deny recovery of any part of damages that could have been reasonably avoided. In general, “reasonably avoided” means what a reasonable person would do in such circumstances. If you have a duty to mitigate, and you fail to do it, the court will reduce your damages by the amount you could have mitigated. 

How Courts Calculate Damages in a Breach of Contract Cases?

First, the court will look at the contract and then will determine what was promised by whom. The court will then evaluate the terms of the contract and will decide if a breach occurred and when.

If there is no breach, the plaintiff won’t get the damages (they aren’t entitled to them).

The court will estimate the damages by checking if the contract was partially fulfilled and will then examine the plaintiff’s actions to see if they have partial responsibility for the damages. In that case, the damages will be reduced. 

Example of Mitigation of Damages

Let’s say you decided to drive without the seatbelt even though it’s required by law because of your own safety. You can’t even assume that you’ll end up in a crash when you’re side-swiped by another car. Your injuries are severe and the damage is big.

Naturally, you will file a lawsuit against the other driver who is at fault, but they may claim that you didn’t mitigate your injuries because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt when the accident happened. Since you failed to do this, you partially contributed to your injuries. This way, the other driver will argue that they aren’t fully responsible for all your costs.

In mitigating your injuries, you’re mitigating your damages and you must take “reasonable efforts” to limit the costs after the accident.

This means that you should seek medical help immediately, get suitable medication and rehab and abstain from doing activities that could worsen your injuries. 

In other words, you should do what you can to treat your injuries and recover and if you do something that puts your progress in danger, or worsens your condition, you might be accused of not mitigating your damages. 

I Failed to Mitigate Damages. Now What?

The responsible driver must prove that you (the plaintiff) failed to mitigate damages. They should prove that you could have avoided additional costs and damages (you didn’t get medical help or didn’t get a recommended medicine or surgery that would have to prevent the worsening of your condition). Their goal is to prove that you didn’t reduce the costs or losses that could have reasonably be avoided. 

When you as a plaintiff fail to take reasonable steps to mitigate damages, you will just prove the defendant’s point and face the risk of losing your settlement or getting a lower one. 

Do I Need a Lawyer

Being in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, not only because of the damages and injuries but because of the legal labyrinth you have to go through. A car accident lawyer would review your case and advise you on all the steps you should take to avoid any risk of getting your settlement reduced.

The insurance company would work hard to offer less because it’s their job. They won’t feel bad for your damages; their interest is to offer a settlement that won’t affect their budget.

Your interest is to get the highest possible claim so you can cover your expenses.

When you have an attorney by your side, this is very much possible. Get the legal help at Rowe & Hamilton.

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