Mitigation means keeping your losses after an accident or injury to a minimum. Reasonableness is the guiding principle.

When you claim compensation after an accident, you have a duty to mitigate, or keep your losses to a reasonable minimum. Your response to the problems created by the accident must be reasonable. This applies to your ability to work, or having a damaged item repaired reasonably quickly to avoid a reduction in its value.

A simple example may help. You are involved in a car accident and your car is badly damaged and cannot be driven. What do you do, as you need to get to work? Have you alternative transport is the first question. Hiring an expensive car is not a reasonable approach when you have an alternative vehicle available. If the car repairer has a courtesy vehicle available when yours is in the shop, using that vehicle keeps your losses down and is a good example of mitigation.

A more complicated example is a self employed lorry driver. If you cannot drive, it might make more sense to hire a driver to cover for you, rather than give up the work and contracts you are committed to.

To mitigate your loss, you should take sensible steps to keep the loss down. The law will not support you if you let losses run away with themselves, expecting compensation to come to the rescue.

Common sense and reasonableness should be your guiding lights. Mitigating your loss avoids argument and disappointment when recovering compensation and it can help you. Keeping your activities and work as normal as possible is going to be better for you in the long run. I always encourage clients to do what they can and not to think about the effect on compensation. As soon as you start valuing the effect of any activity on the compensation you will receive, you are in danger of falling into the compensation trap.

Proving your injury and financial losses for a compensation case means you must always show what has gone wrong. How injured are you and what has been its effect? You are examined by doctors and will feel under pressure to impress them just how bad your injury was. So, if your lawyer concentrates on how bad things are, how can you get on with life as normally as possible?

Compensation is little more than an expenses claim. You receive some payment for the injury and its effect, but most of the compensation is for financial losses and expenses, to date and in the future. There is no benefit in allowing an unnecessary increase of these losses, as you have to suffer the loss first before you can claim it. If you rely too heavily on compensation to put things right, you may be disappointed.

My advice is to carry on with life as normally as you can. That is the best strategy. Those who fight disability will tell you not to allow the disability to rule you. In a compensation action my advice is the same. Do what you can to preserve normality and let compensation help mop up afterwards.

Compensation is not the complete answer, it is just the law’s way of trying, in money terms alone, to put you back in the position you should have been in had the injury not occurred.

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