Anyone injured in a car accident is under a duty to mitigate their damages, which essentially means lessen the harm that resulted from the accident. For example, someone who suffered serious personal injuries after a car accident can mitigate their damages by going to the hospital immediately after the accident to get the best treatment. Another example of mitigation is going to the treatment prescribed by your doctor. Or returning to work after your doctor has removed any work restrictions. In a car accident setting, mitigation of damages simply means doing what it takes to heal yourself and get back on your feet.
Mitigation is about reducing future risks and making sure losses suffered do not get worse. If you fail to follow your doctor’s instructions on how to care for you injuries, then you may be accused of failing to mitigate your injuries by the insurance company. Often, however, the cost to mitigate can be an obstacle if you do not have health insurance or medical payments coverage. In certain cases, an attorney can issue a letter of protection to a healthcare provider for you to get the medical care you need.
But letters of protection often only work for certain healthcare providers. More extensive treatment e.g. surgery will not be covered through a letter of protection. In those case, it’s necessary for the personal injury victim to seek out health insurance through Medicare or Medicaid depending on which may be appropriate for their situation.
Reasonableness in mitigating damages is measured up against how someone in the community would act to reduce damages or limit future expenses that could have been avoided. Damages that are not mitigated after a crash may not be recovered. That is why it is important to be proactive in the long run after a tragic car accident and face matters head-on.