If you have been hurt in an accident, you must act reasonably to protect your well-being by ensuring your injury does not get worse. But the insurance company cannot deny you compensation just because you did not take some precautions such as wearing a seatbelt or not seeking immediate medical treatment.
Often, insurance companies use failure to mitigate damages as a tactic to devalue or deny claims filed by injured victims of negligent drivers. A skilled car accident lawyer in Fort Wayne is aware of the legal requirements for such a defense and can help counter it.
How to Mitigate Damages After a Car Accident
Damage mitigation means taking reasonable care to reduce the impacts of a car accident-related injury and the losses sustained because of it. Mitigating damages include moving the car off the roadway, seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the crash, following the orders of the treating doctor, and keeping up with treatment.
But mitigation efforts can also be done before the crash including wearing a seatbelt, driving attentively, and driving defensively. Although such things are essential, the insurer can’t deny compensation just because you failed to do one of these. If the insurance provider tries to reject your claim for not using a seatbelt, for instance, they must prove it’s the only reason you sustained your injuries. The steps you can take to reduce your damages may vary. You must consult an attorney immediately to know how to protect your claim’s value.
Who Makes Mitigation-Related Decisions?
Whether you successfully mitigate your damages and deserve full compensation depends on a judge or jury when your case ends up in court. If the insurance company of the liable party successfully proves your failure to mitigate damages before trial, a judge can offer instructions to the jury, leading to a reduction in your compensation.
But because the majority of injury claims are settled without going to court, you must establish a solid case against the at-fault driver from the time you filed a claim. You must prove the negligence of the at-fault party and your effort to take reasonable steps to prevent the crash or make your injuries worse.
What Happens If You Fail to Mitigate Damages?
Failure to mitigate damage may result in the reduction of your compensation. In general, the liable party cannot be forced to pay avoidable damages. For instance, the insurance company may not pay the surgery cost if you could have avoided an injury if only you sought prompt medical treatment.