Finding yourself in a situation where you have suffered loss at the hands of someone else’s negligence can be unique. Before you visit a lawyer and seek legal advice, it is possible that you may have already made a series decisions that can drastically affect your claim for compensation.
After an accident has taken place, a person who plans to seek compensation has a duty to mitigate their losses. This essentially means that you cannot claim against a defendant the consequences of your own failure to take reasonable and rational steps to alleviate the impact of an injury.
Sometimes this means doing things that might be difficult or disagreeable. For example, undergoing treatment that is reasonably available, returning to work or study despite experiencing pain, and continuing to look after yourself and any dependents.
Fortunately, assessing whether or not a victim has appropriately mitigated their losses does not tend to be a stringent test when applied by the courts. The burden is on the defendant to establish that your refusal to mitigate was unreasonable, and the Court’s will generally be appreciative of the fact that it was the defendant’s wrong that put you in that position.
Taking steps to mitigate your loss may require you to spend money, such as paying for treatment where it is required, though you will not be expected to pay more than you can afford. Furthermore, as long as this treatment was reasonable, these expenses are recoverable in the claim against the defendant.
If a defendant establishes that you failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate your loss, your damages recovery will not fully compensate you for the losses that you have claimed. This is because a portion of that loss will be considered to be the your own responsibility. In other words, your final compensation will generally be reduced to the amount you would have received had you appropriately mitigated your losses.
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, or alternatively, make an online enquiry.
Written by Mark Crollos.
Mark Crollos is a paralegal in Julie Mahony’s Practice Group. Mark works on a variety of different compensation matters, with a particular focus on medical negligence claims.