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After a Car Accident, What is My Obligation to Reduce Damages?

If you have suffered a car accident, it is normal to want to receive as much compensation as possible for your personal injury. While you should not curtail any compensation owed to you, there are obligations under California law for a plaintiff to mitigate, or reduce, one's damages. While the very thought of engaging in this activity infuriates some who feel it is a rejection of what they are rightfully owed, a closer examination of what the law requires, and the intent behind it, shows that there are sound reasons behind its implementation, and an affirmation of what one is owed, rather than a rejection of it.

First, it is helpful to understand what the law actually says. The law states that a plaintiff in a personal injury case must take reasonable steps to mitigate the loss and consequences of injuries suffered after an accident caused by a negligent party. To give an example, if the personal injury victim of a car accident is unable to continue working at his or her job because of sustained injuries, there is a duty on the victim's part to make a good faith attempt to find other employment or training to compensate for the loss of income. A defendant in a personal injury case will do all they came to reduce the amount of damages owed by showing that the plaintiff did not make a good faith effort to reduce the costs of damages owed. This can understandably seem unfair in theory, but a closer examination reveals a method to the reasoning.

If an injured person is allowed to sit idly by in anticipation of litigation or otherwise, losses accumulate. Some of these losses absolutely should be compensated. However, following the same reasonable person standard that applies to the perpetrator of the injury, a reasonable person, in theory, should attempt to move forward, and not wait for one's economic situation to grow worse and worse. To do so not only drains resources of the justice system, it allows one to potentially take advantage of it. While the law as it stands may seem to unfairly favor the defendant, keep in mind that by attempting to mitigate any losses, a judge or jury is much more likely to award the full amount of compensation sought, and that is deserved. The purpose of litigation is to ensure a fair and just outcome for an injured party, not to squeeze a defendant any more than is fair. Since appearance plays a large role in how many of these cases turn out, it is better to appear reasonable and forthright as someone who simply wants to move on with their life after justice has been delivered, not as someone who is looking for revenge or monetary gain.

If you have a good personal injury lawyer to represent you, you are much more likely to receive the full compensation you seek, even after you have mitigated your losses. The most fair outcome is what your attorney will fight for, which in the long run, will usually end up compensating you for the damages you seek the most. The lawyers at California Attorney Group deal with these types of issues on a daily basis, and know exactly how to handle these types of cases so that you will receive the satisfaction of justice won, and damages received. Honor the law, and with the right legal representation, it will reward you.