Hayes, Williams, Turner & Daughtry, P.A.

What's your duty to mitigate your damages after a wreck?

Car accidents are frustrating and scary. When they leave you with serious injuries, they can also be debilitating. Naturally, you expect the person who caused the accident (or their insurance company) to pick up the tabs for your lost wages and other expenses. After all, you're clearly quite hurt.

But insurance companies never pay out more than they're obligated -- and they often go looking for reasons to devalue a claim. One way insurance adjusters commonly try to get out of paying what's due is by claiming that the victim simply didn't do enough to mitigate their own damages.

What's your obligation to mitigate your losses?

Essentially, you have a legal obligation to keep your losses to a minimum. The insurance company doesn't have to cover any losses you could have reasonably avoided with a little due care. That can substantially reduce what you can receive in a settlement.

What are some examples of the failure to mitigate?

Every case is unique, but here are some common situations that could make an insurance company reluctant to pay your full claim:

  • Your doctor recommended surgery that could restore your full ability to function -- but you refuse to have it.
  • You chose to ignore your doctor's recommended course of physical therapy and went with alternative medicine, like acupuncture, instead.
  • You took unreasonable chances with your physical health while you were still healing from the accident -- and that caused your condition to worsen.

Even though these may seem like absolutes, however, your situation may not be so clear. For example, you may have religious objections to the surgery or have a perfectly rational concern about going under anesthesia that stands in your way.

Insurance companies can be bullies when they're trying to get out of paying a car accident claim -- but you don't have to accept that kind of treatment. Find out more about how experienced legal advice can improve your situation.

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