FAQ: What is the Duty to Mitigate Damages?

A person that is injured by another has the legal obligation to take reasonable steps to minimize the effects and losses caused by the injury. The defendant in an injury case may claim a breach of this in order to reduce the amount of compensation awarded.

Examples of a failure in the duty to mitigate include:

  1. A driver who is involved in an accident fails to pull off to the side of the road, if physically able, and is hit by another vehicle.
  2. An injured person refuses medical treatment that could have reduced pain and suffering.
  3. A plaintiff claims lost wages as a result of an accident, but does not seek work or follow through with employment opportunities.
  4. The plaintiff in an automobile accident lawsuit rents a luxury car while his mid-range car is being repaired. He tried to recover the cost of that rental even though a less expensive car could have been rented.