What is the Duty to Mitigate Damages After an Accident?


In personal injury claims, injured victims are said to have a “duty to mitigate” their injuries. What does this mean for you and your claim for damages?

The legal duty to mitigate is an obligation on the claimant

The plaintiff in a personal injury action is bringing a claim for damages against the person they say is responsible, the defendant. If she is successful, she is entitled to recover any losses that were the result of the defendant’s negligence. However, she cannot recover any damages that she might have avoided by taking reasonable steps to do so.

This obligation to mitigate limits the plaintiff’s recovery to those damages that she had no opportunity to reasonably avoid.

The duty to mitigate and refusing medical treatment

In personal injury cases, the duty to mitigate most often surrounds the question of following medical and treatment advice, and whether a plaintiff’s injuries would be less severe, had she followed her doctor’s orders.

A plaintiff will not be expected to undertake treatment with high risks relative to the potential outcome, nor any treatment with only transient or temporary results. However, if a potential treatment was relatively safe and had a high probability of resulting in a permanent improvement in the plaintiff’s condition, refusal to do so is likely to be viewed as a failure to mitigate.

Personal injury lawyers advising victims about their duty to mitigate damages

At Jasmine Daya & Co., we advise seriously injured victims about their options to obtain compensation. If you have been injured, it is important to understand that your actions may have an impact on the availability of damages. We provide legal information that helps our clients make informed decisions about their treatment options. Contact us online or call our office at 416-967-9100 to make an appointment; we offer free consultations to new clients.