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  • What Are A Plaintiff’s Duties To Mitigate Damages In Personal Injury?

    What Are A Plaintiff’s Duties To Mitigate Damages In Personal Injury?

    When you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you have an obligation to minimize the effects of your injuries in a reasonable way. That may seem unfair to many plaintiffs. After all, it isn’t their fault that someone else causes their injuries. But it is a legality so that people can’t purposely fail to take care of themselves and then cry foul when things go terribly wrong.

    When it is possible, reasonable steps must be taken by a plaintiff to lessen any long-term or ill effects of on the job injuries. The “obligations” that someone has can at times be confusing and not very concrete. They are obligated to seek other employment if they are no longer able to work at their current position, and if their disability or injury is going to be long-term, then they have the obligation to consider retraining or taking on a new career, according to their new capabilities.

    A defendant will most often use the argument of the plaintiff’s failure to provide reasonable action to minimize their damages when the case goes to trial. In an attempt to lessen the amount that the plaintiff will be awarded, the defendant will use the defense that the injured person didn’t take reasonable steps to try to protect themselves from loss of income. An incompetent lawyer will not recognize that this is why it is so important for plaintiffs to understand what their responsibilities are before they are left with substantially less compensation than they deserve.

    Obligation to minimize damages

    Even though an injury is not someone’s fault, they are obligated to ensure that any effects from the injury are as minimal as possible. The injured person has to take the reasonable action necessary to avoid any further loss that can come, such as wages lost or other financial results, from the injury.

    Mitigation of damages is legally a term that reduces a person’s right to receive compensation for their personal damages by shifting the blame onto the injured individual. It is a way that a jury can disallow monetary damages if they believe that an individual’s injuries did not have to be as severe or as damaging as they became due to the plaintiff’s negligence.

    By law, the plaintiff has a responsibility to act in good faith, which means to take ordinary and reasonable actions to care for their injuries. They have to exercise due diligence, seek medical care when necessary, and take steps to decrease any further consequences, if possible. That includes finding gainful employment elsewhere if the injury results in their  no longer being able to work in their former capacity.

    The choice of surgery

    One way that a plaintiff can be denied recovery is if they willfully deny medical treatment, or even surgery, to repair their injuries. If a specific injury could potentially be corrected through a surgery or procedure, then the plaintiff has the obligation to make a reasonable choice to go through with the procedure or surgery. If a surgical procedure will result in better outcomes for the plaintiff, then they are obligated to choose it. A plaintiff cannot sue for a condition that is permanent if they could have fixed or ameliorated it through a procedure or surgical intervention.

    Failure to seek professional care

    If a plaintiff fails to seek medical intervention when necessary, that can also be grounds for denial of a claim. If delaying medical treatment results in making a condition worse, then the plaintiff may not recover the damages lost. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to seek reasonable and prompt care for their damages after any injury.

    Refusing treatment or advice

    If a plaintiff refuses to comply or goes against the medical advice they have been given, then they may forfeit the right to recover for their damages. They have an obligation to reasonably care for their injuries, and to not only have medical care but also to follow the advice of a physician to minimize an injury. Failure to do so may mean forfeiture of monetary compensation.

    Failure to seek alternative employment

    A plaintiff cannot sue for lost wages if they were able to work at another occupation or to be retrained. As a plaintiff, you are obligated to gain employment in a different capacity if you are injured. Not working and suffering the consequences is not something that you will be compensated for if you can be employed in a different capacity.

    If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, it is important that you understand that you have obligations for your injuries as well. Make sure that you take reasonable care to minimize your injuries, or you can find yourself without monetary recourse.