What is ‘Mitigation of Damages’ and What Does it Mean for Your Louisiana Injury Case?

There can be many different way that the opposition in your auto accident case may seek to defeat your claim. Sometimes, some of those strategies involve challenging the things you did or didn’t do. This may involve proving that you were partly to blame for the accident, or, if not, it may involve accusing you of failing to take all of the appropriate steps to minimize the harm you suffered or, in legal terms, mitigate your damages. With representation from a knowledgeable Louisiana car crash attorney, you can address and defeat a claim that you failed to take the steps needed to minimize your harm.

An example of this scenario was the lawsuit filed by Juliet, who was in a two-car collision south of Baton Rouge. Juliet was driving her Honda Accord when Austin, who was traveling along an intersecting road, ran a stop sign and slammed into Juliet’s vehicle. The impact threw the Honda off the road and into a ditch, causing significant injuries to Juliet in the process.

The crash totaled Juliet’s Honda. After several trips to doctors, Juliet received a diagnosis of “cervical spine strain/spasm/contusion and whiplash.” Despite numerous sessions of physical therapy, Juliet’s neck spasms and burning sensations continued to trouble her for many months after the accident.

Juliet sued Austin and his auto insurer. The defendants did not contest that Austin was at fault in the accident, which meant that the trial solely focused upon the extent of the damages that Juliet suffered. Injuries like what happened to Juliet are part of a category of harm often described as “soft tissue injuries.” Since the extent of soft tissue injuries can be exceptionally difficult to diagnose using standard diagnostic tools, it is important to work with legal counsel who is familiar with what’s needed to establish a whiplash or other soft tissue injury.

In Juliet’s case, she testified that her physical therapy provided short-term relief but was not successful as a long-term solution, since her pain and discomfort always came back a few hours after therapy. The judge found her testimony to be highly believable, and she received an award of $50,000 in general damages.

Austin and his insurer attacked the judgment on appeal, arguing that Juliet’s injuries were too minor and occurred over too short a time period to support a $50,000 judgment. They pointed to the periods of time when Juliet stopped going to therapy and claimed that she did not do the proper “mitigation of damages,” which says that you are required to make reasonable steps to prevent additional harm and prevent your existing harm from becoming worse.

The law, however, only requires reasonable steps, rather than extraordinary ones. In Juliet’s case, she stopped her therapy once due to the need to care for her husband (who was undergoing cancer treatments) and another time because she was attending therapy during her workday lunch break, and the appointments were taking longer than her employer allowed for lunch. If continuing therapy would mean an inability to care for her ailing husband or the risk of losing her job, Juliet was not unreasonable in stopping the therapy, and that cessation did not amount to a failure to mitigate damages.

Have you been hurt in an auto accident? If so, take steps without delay to contact the experienced Louisiana auto accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. Our lawyers have spent many years working to represent injured people and help them pursue the compensation they deserve.

For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.

More Blog Posts:

Passenger Receives $434K Jury Award for Injuries Suffered in Baton Rouge Two-Car Accident, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Sept. 25, 2017

Court of Appeal Upholds Bad-Faith Damages Award Against Insurer in Central Louisiana Auto Accident, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, July 12, 2017


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