Injured in an Accident Due to Someone Else's Negligence? Don't Overlook Your Duty to Mitigate

You probably didn't realize it, but the moment you became the victim of someone else's negligent act and ended up injured, the law put a responsibility on you to minimize your own losses. It's called the duty to mitigate your own damages.

While the concept sound fairly simple, understanding what that means for your particular situation can be a little more difficult to do. Here are the basics that you need to know in order to keep yourself out of the hot seat if your case goes to court:

1. Be Wary of Alternative Therapy Providers

While you are actually required to seek appropriate medical care for your injuries if you expect to be compensated for them, you need to be conscious of what "appropriate" means. While there are a lot of positive pieces of information out there on the benefits of aromatherapy, you probably won't be able to claim the costs of your visits to an aromatherapist to help with the headaches you've had ever since your car accident.

Chiropractic care is common after car accidents and falls, so that's generally an accepted method of treatment. However, Reiki, Chakra Cleansing, and other holistic healing methods don't have a lot of weight with insurance adjustors or in the legal world. If you want those treatments, be prepared to pay for them yourself and keep them out of your claim.

2. Be Conscious of the Need to Accept Reasonable Care

It's generally expected that you'll accept whatever care will fix you back up (or at least put you mostly back in working order), even if that requires surgery -- so long as the surgery is deemed safe for you to have given your health and is reasonably certain to be successful.

If you refuse, you can expect the defense to leap on the issue pretty heavily. There are exceptions to the rule, however. For example, if you would require a blood transfusion (or even risk one) and it is against your religion or your religion forbids surgical intervention for some reason, that's a valid reason for refusal. Similarly, if you sought a second opinion and got a completely opposite take on the usefulness of the surgery and its safety for you, that also makes it reasonable to refuse.

3. Remember that You Need to Mitigate All Your Financial Losses.

This is an area that insurance adjusters look at heavily. If you have the opportunity to return to light-duty work and refuse it, they can and will refuse to pay you for your continued time off. Similarly, if you're offered part-time work by your employer until you're ready to get back to full speed, refusing it generally gives the defendant's insurance company wiggle room to wiggle right out of paying you for at least part of the time you were out of work. 

If you keep these three things in mind, you'll probably avoid any problems with the defense. If you have any doubts about the wisdom of a particular choice medically or with your job, talk to a personal injury attorney like Jack W Hanemann, P.S.