Do I Have an Obligation to Mitigate Damages?


When you are involved in a car or truck wreck, you suddenly have to make a number of important decisions. You may have been seriously hurt and your car may have been towed from the scene of the crash. Although some things are out of your control, you are supposed to take reasonable steps to mitigate your damages. The term “mitigate damages” simply means that you must take reasonable care to prevent your damages from getting worse.

Mitigating Damages in a Car or Truck Accident Case

Mitigating your damages means that you must take particular actions if they are reasonable and necessary to prevent further damage or injury. It generally applies to property damages but it can also be applied to physical injuries. A common problem following a crash is that your vehicle was towed from the scene. You may not even immediately know where the vehicle ended up. However, the tow company charges for the tow and for storage of the vehicle while it is located on their premises.

You will need to take steps to remove your car from the tow yard before incurring excessive fees. For instance, you cannot abandon your car there and later request compensation for the multiple charges that were incurred on the vehicle. The law uses the term “reasonable” and this can be somewhat subjective.

Mitigation can also apply to your medical condition. You have a duty to follow the doctor’s orders when you seek medical attention after an accident. If the doctor tells you not to return to work, or puts other limitations on you, but you do not follow your doctor’s orders and your condition worsens, this portion of your medical care may be due to your own failure to mitigate.

Failure to Mitigate

Texas law requires that you have a “duty to mitigate or avoid damages in a manner appropriate to the action.” The judge or others who adjudicate the matter can determine whether a person took the steps necessary to prevent further damages or injuries from happening. It is important to be careful when making decisions regarding your medical treatment following your injury. It is not surprising to know that insurance companies may seize on any shred of information to try to prove that you failed to mitigate and are therefore not owed complete compensation.

It is not uncommon for insurance companies to try to twist the facts to meet their own agenda. For instance, you may return to work because you cannot go without pay, but the insurance company may use that against you by saying that it proves that your injuries were not significant.

This confusing scenario can be resolved more easily with help from an experienced Houston 18-wheeler accident attorney. Your lawyer will guide you through the process and help you make decisions that will be best for your particular situation.

Call us to schedule a no-obligation consultation about your rights, actions and options after an injury accident. 

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Houston/Texas Truck Accident Lawyer-Greg Baumgartner

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