If you were hurt in a car accident, you probably expect the insurance company to cover at least a portion of your medical bills and other damages. If you live in a “no-fault” state like Minnesota, your own insurance company would likely be your first source of compensation no matter who caused the collision. Depending on the facts of your case, though, you may also be able to sue the liable driver if you:
- Incurred more than $4,000 in medical expenses;
- Sustained a permanent injury;
- Suffered scarring or disfigurement; or
- Will be disabled for at least 60 consecutive days.
For your claim against the at-fault motorist to be successful, you must be able to demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to minimize your damages and that you did not contribute to their extent in any way. This is known as “mitigating damages.”
If you cannot prove you made a reasonable effort to mitigate the damages—or the defendant can prove you are at least partially liable for their severity—you may be able to recover compensation for only a portion of the losses you have incurred. And if you are deemed to be more at fault for your damages than the defendant, you would not be able to recover any compensation in your claim against the liable driver, pursuant to Minnesota’s comparative fault laws.
Let’s explore a few ways to mitigate damages after a car accident:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Even if you feel relatively fine following a crash, it is critical that you visit a doctor as soon as possible. Not only will this ensure that you receive appropriate treatment for your injuries, but it will also show the insurance adjuster that you are taking your recovery seriously.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
It’s okay to seek a second opinion if your physician proposes a particular treatment modality that you are uncomfortable with; however, it is generally advisable to follow your doctor’s orders. This includes taking medication as advised, undergoing recommended surgeries, and possibly avoiding strenuous activity for a certain period of time.
- Use Alternative Therapies with Caution
Car accident victims often try alternative remedies like massage therapy, acupuncture, and spinal adjustments to relieve neck and back pain. Although such therapies may help, they should not be your only means of treatment. Some of these remedies lack clinical evidence proving their efficacy, and foregoing modern medicine may be considered negligent on your part.
- Look for Work upon Recovering
In many cases, accident victims can return to work after reaching maximum medical improvement. They may not be able to do the same kind of work they did prior to getting hurt, but they may still be able to earn a living wage using their education and/or experience. If you are physically capable of returning to work in some capacity, it is essential to demonstrate an active effort to find employment, or the opposing party might dispute your lost wage calculations.
Discuss Your Case with a Car Accident Attorney in St. Cloud
If you were hurt in a motor-vehicle collision, a strategic personal injury lawyer can help you mitigate damages from day one. To discuss your case with a seasoned car accident lawyer, turn to Bradshaw & Bryant.
We will work closely with your healthcare providers and the insurance company to ensure you’re being treated properly while your case receives the attention it deserves. Call 320-259-5414 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney in St. Cloud.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.