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Good advice.

6 Key Points to Know about Mitigation in Personal Injury Law

DBM Law Blog

In everyday English, “mitigate” means to “make less severe or painful.” Although “mitigation” in a legal context is related to this common definition, it has a much more specific meaning. In personal injury law, “mitigation” indicates an important responsibility put upon those seeking damages for an injury suffered in an automobile collision, slip and fall, or other accident.
To discuss mitigation in relation to your particular personal injury situation, contact DBM’s Coquitlam law office here.
1. The “duty to mitigate”
In personal injury law, the key phrase to be aware of is “duty to mitigate.” This is a responsibility for the plaintiff—or the person with the personal injury claim—to prevent the injury or damages from getting worse.
2. The importance of seeking medical help
The most important way a claimant can fulfill their duty to mitigate is to seek medical help immediately following the injury. Although mitigation includes preventing the increase of damages, this does not mean you must choose the cheapest treatment option available.
3. The inability to recover damages for unreasonable actions
If it is determined that the plaintiff did not reasonably avoid making their injury or damages worse, then they will be unable to recover that portion of costs. For example, if your doctor gives you the all-clear to go back to work and you don’t, this will fail the “reasonableness standard” and damages for lost wages will not be considered.
4. The ability to recover damages for failed treatment
If you undertake a treatment for your personal injury but it is not successful, you are still able to sue for those damages, as it counts as an attempt at mitigation. Don’t forget to mention any such treatments to your personal injury lawyer as they assess the damages you are owed.
5. The effect of financial factors
Some personal injuries come with a great financial cost—expensive diagnostic tests, hours of physiotherapy, and even structural modifications to one’s home. The ability to pay for such things can affect the duty to mitigate. If you are unable to pay for a treatment but are eligible to apply for benefits from ICBC to help cover costs, you must do so.
6. The benefit of professional legal advice
Navigating mitigation can be confusing. You must balance what is considered reasonable in the eyes of British Columbia law with your own desires as you plan your road to recovery. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer before making any major decisions will help to avoid negatively affecting the damages you will receive in your personal injury suit.
You can contact DBM’s personal injury lawyers at our Langley, Vancouver, and Coquitlam law offices here.


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