Mitigating losses in a compensation claim
Mitigating one’s losses refers to the duty of an injured person or claimant to take appropriate steps or actions in order to improve their circumstances despite the effects of their injuries.
This is a recognised legal principle which can also be found in statutory law, see for example Section 136 of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW).
Steps to mitigating one’s losses can include the following:
- Undergoing all reasonable and necessary medical treatment and rehabilitation.
- Cooperating with the insurer and treatment providers in relation to providing requested information and attending medical appointments.
- Retraining or undertaking studies for another field of employment.
- Pursuing alternative employment opportunities where appropriate.
While these may seem easier said than done, a claimant is not expected to simply be ‘idle’ while making a claim. Of course, each claim will depend on its individual circumstances. For example, a seriously injured claimant may be limited in what they can do. And quite often, some things (such as the state of the jobs market) may simply be out of the claimant’s control.
However, it is still the claimant’s duty to do everything reasonably possible to alleviate their circumstances and ongoing effects of their injuries. Insurers may also sometimes be more sympathetic to a cooperative and honest claimant, which can help their claim in the long run when it comes to potential settlement discussions.
Speaking from experience, the vast majority of claimants are happy and willing to mitigate their losses anyway, as they would just like to obtain the necessary treatment and, despite the ongoing effects of their injuries, bring some normality back to their lives. This attitude is to be commended and encouraged in every claimant.
If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident and believe somebody else was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation. To arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 to speak to one of our compensation experts, all alternatively, make an online enquiry.
Written by Erick Culala.