Defendants will employ every tool at their disposal to avoid having to pay damages to plaintiffs, and one defense they may use is to claim the plaintiffs did nothing to mitigate their injuries. Here's what they mean when they make this claim and what you can do to push back against it if it's used against you in your case:

Plaintiffs are Responsible for Minimizing Injuries

Even though the defendant injured you in some way, you have a responsibility to keep your damages from becoming unreasonable and blowing out of proportion. If you are hurt in a vehicle collision, for example, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. If you fail to do so, you could make your injuries worse, which would require more money to treat them; money the defendant would be required to pay.

Thus, when a defendant claims you failed to mitigate your damages, he or she is claiming you did nothing to prevent them from becoming as bad as they did. If the defendant is able to convince the judge or jury that you incurred avoidable losses, any financial award you receive will be reduced to account for the additional damage you caused by not taking reasonable action to stem your losses.

Refuting a Failure to Mitigate Damages Claim

A failure to mitigate claim is fairly straightforward to refute. You would simply need to show why you didn't take action as necessary to avoid aggravating your injury or damages. For example, you could explain that you are waiting to see a medical professional after an auto accident because you weren't experiencing any symptoms of injury at the time the collision occurred.

However, it's important to be careful when submitting your response, because it could open the door to other problems. If you say you waited to seek medical attention because you didn't realize you were injured during the accident, the defendant may respond that your injuries aren't as bad as you claim, for instance. Thus, you need to work closely with your attorney to word your response so that it does minimal damage to your case.

Another way to refute the defendant's claim that you didn't mitigate your damages is to show your actions didn't have any significant impact on the outcome. If you experienced head trauma, for example, you would need to show that waiting three weeks to see a doctor had no impact on the type of treatment you required. This may require the testimony of a specialist, which your attorney can arrange.

To learn more about this defense or assistance with your personal injury case, contact a lawyer like Loughlin Fitzgerald P C.