Usually, when a person suffers damages as the result of another person's negligence, the person whose fault the incident is will be responsible for compensating the victim for their damages resulting from the incident. This can be the case when a contract has been breached, when a lease has been broken, or when someone is injured (such as in a car accident, animal bite, or other incident).
The person who caused the damages can be held accountable when he or she breached an agreement, or when he or she had a “duty of care” that they failed to uphold. This means that they had a legal obligation to take reasonable measures to protect the other person. For example, drivers have a duty of care to protect others on the roadway by following traffic laws themselves.
But what about the responsibilities of the person who suffered the damages? Do they have any responsibilities of their own after the incident occurs?
The answer is yes. It's called the “duty to mitigate damages.” What this means, on a basic level, is that the person who suffered the damages must take reasonable steps to lessen the impact of the bad thing that has happened. In other words, you can't just do nothing and continue to let the damages pile up. Usually, in order for the person who was originally responsible for causing the incident to pay for the damages that result, the injured party must take reasonable steps to stop or lessen (mitigate) the damages.
Let's take a look at some real world examples:
- If you have been injured due to someone else's negligence, you must seek medical care in a timely manner. You must not unreasonably turn down treatment. You need to cooperate in your treatment, by doing things like actively following your physical therapy instructions and taking your medications.
- If your car has been damaged in an accident, you need to take steps to get it repaired as soon as possible. For example, if you don't fix a broken windshield, causing damage to the interior of your vehicle when it rains, you would not have mitigated damages.
- If your car has been damaged in an accident and is at a tow yard, you must take reasonable steps to retrieve the vehicle or otherwise stop the storage fees (and other consequences) from piling up.
If you have been injured due to someone else's negligence, you need an experienced attorney by your side to help you preserve your case. Many insurance companies treat unrepresented parties differently, knowingly taking advantage of their lack of knowledge in the field and regarding their rights. The MKH Accident Attorneys team is here to help. We understand the complexities that go into these types of cases and are eager to help you. Contact us today if you have any questions or if you're ready to get started. We can't wait to hear from you!