Personal injury law regulates all the cases where someone gets hurt due to another’s malice or negligence. In such circumstances, a personal injury lawyer will help the victim get fair compensation for their losses. That includes damages for medical bills, property damages, and other economic losses. In addition, in some cases, personal injury claimants get additional compensation for intangible losses like loss of consortium and many more.
Every injury victim would love to get the maximum compensation possible for their losses. However, if you sustained your injuries in Georgia, some factors can significantly limit your compensation sums. For example, Georgia uses the modified comparative negligence rule in determining liability in a personal injury claim. That means that the compensation amount depends on your degree of fault in the accident.
Apart from the negligent rule, the doctrine of mitigation of damages can also reduce your compensation sums drastically. That’s even when you had zero faults in the accident that caused your injuries. We’ll discuss more on this in successive paragraphs.
What Is the Plaintiff’s Duty to Mitigate Damages?
When you file a personal injury claim, it means that you’re seeking justice for sustaining injuries that someone caused you. For example, it could be because they drove while intoxicated, didn’t maintain their buildings, made their dogs bite you, etc. In any of such cases, the defendants failed in their duty to protect you from harm. However, under mitigation of damages, you have a corresponding obligation to ensure that your injuries don’t get worse.
Therefore, damages mitigation (or the doctrine of avoidable circumstances) means that you must take reasonable steps to reduce your losses. As an injury victim, this doctrine mandates you to make your damages less costly and much milder. By mitigating your damages, you’re helping the defendant to avoid paying extra damages for losses that you could avoid. Doing so will also make you spend less and recover faster from your injuries.
Common Examples of Avoidable Circumstances in Georgia’s Personal Injury Law
The following are some examples of the possible ways personal injury claimants may neglect to mitigate their damages:
Failure to Seek Medical Attention
One of the wisest decisions to make after an accident is to visit a medical doctor for treatment. Doing so will ensure that you don’t complicate your injuries. For example, seeing a doctor immediately after sustaining a road traffic injury can significantly reduce your risk of dying. So, refusal to visit the hospital in such cases can become negligence on your part.
However, it’s important to note that mitigation of damages is subject to the test of reasonability and rationality. So, if you genuinely feel that you have minor injuries, you may treat them as such. Your refusal to seek medical attention in such cases may not translate to failure to mitigate damages.
Refusal to Seek Alternative Employment
Usually, the defendant will compensate you for any loss of income that you suffered due to the accident. However, personal injury law expects you to mitigate such damages by seeking an alternative means of earning income.
What Happens When I Fail to Mitigate Damages?
Generally, when people sustain injuries, they’ll do everything in their power to heal as quickly as possible. Again, when they lose their jobs, they’ll seek alternative employment immediately. Therefore, refusing to mitigate your damages just because someone else is responsible places you in a bad light. Apart from that, it also has some adverse legal consequences on your personal injury claim.
For example, a judge can reduce your compensation awards because you failed to mitigate your damages. So, the negligent party can use it as a viable defense to your complaints and allegations. If the court upholds that defense, they’ll assign some fault to you and reduce your damages. They’ll do that by subtracting the value of your negligence from your original compensation awards.
Contact the Bethune Law Firm Immediately!
As a personal injury claimant, it’s easy to believe that the defendant bears all liability and responsibility in your claim. However, as you now know, that isn’t the case. You often wouldn’t know what personal injury law expects from you until you speak with our Bethune Law Firm accident attorneys.
At our personal injury law firm, we understand how the doctrine of avoidable circumstances can adversely affect your compensatory sums. As such, we’ll ensure that you don’t run foul of the rule. Our goal is to get you maximum compensation for your injuries like we’ve done for numerous Atlantans in the past. So, visit us today for a free consultation.