What is the Duty to Mitigate in a Personal Injury Case?

When a personal injury occurs due to another party’s negligence, they should prove liable. However, the injured person also has a duty to mitigate their injuries. That means taking appropriate steps toward treatment and recovery. That is why an insurance company will not pay damages if someone is hurt in an accident but refuses to see a doctor.

In addition, just receiving medical treatment is not sufficient. The individual must also follow doctor’s orders in their duty to mitigate. That includes, for example, not returning to work before the doctor gives consent. If those orders are not followed, that could reduce potential damages. The duty to mitigate involves not awarding damages to someone whose subsequent actions or lack of action caused further injury.

If the plaintiff does not follow the duty to mitigate, it may obstruct their ability to receive the compensation they might otherwise obtain. A New York City personal injury lawyer at Douglas and London can help you receive what you deserve for your injuries. Our experienced attorneys have recovered more than $18 billion for clients in settlements and verdicts.

Failure to Seek Medical Attention

Personal injuries are a shock to the system. That is true whether the injury involves a car accident, slip, and fall, or any other type of negligent situation. The accident victim may initially experience a surge of adrenaline but otherwise feel fine, or the incident embarrassed them, and they assume they will feel better soon. They might put up with the pain for a few days, and then finally go to the doctor.

However, that failure to seek prompt medical attention can harm a claim. Delay often exacerbates an injury. The insurance company could allege that it is not that serious if the plaintiff waited so long to see a doctor. The insurer might also assert that the injury did not occur from the accident.

Failure to Seek Employment

Some individuals can no longer work in their previous occupation after suffering a personal injury, but they might be able to get other forms of employment. If the person can do this, and such work is available, their damages are reduced if they refuse to apply for these jobs.

A duty to mitigate includes trying to be gainfully employed. Damages are also reduced if the plaintiff has a history of not appearing at job interviews or wearing inappropriate attire. In sum, the plaintiff has the duty to find reasonable employment if they are capable of doing so.

Mitigation and Damages

A doctor may recommend surgery for a particular injury. If the individual does not consent to the surgery, it may permanently impair them. On the other hand, no one is forced to undergo an operation. However, if they choose not to go forward with surgery, it will be more difficult for them to receive damages for a disability. 

Moreover, if the accident victim refused to undergo surgery because it raised the risk of additional injury or death based on their health, it might not affect the amount awarded. Some patients might seek alternative therapies for their treatment. Depending on the nature of this therapy, not following conventional treatment may also harm the claim.

Contact us for a free consultation

If you were seriously injured because of another entity’s negligence or deliberate action, contact us at Douglas and London. Schedule a free consultation by calling or texting us 24/7 or filling out our online contact form. While the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York is three years, it is critical to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. After reviewing your case, we will discuss your options. That includes advice on your duty to mitigate. As we work on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless you receive compensation. Se Habla Español.