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How Your Actions (or Lack thereof) Can Affect Your Award

In law, nothing is certain but the expense.

Samuel Butler

There is more to the story of what your particular injury is worth in the world of personal injury… namely, how your actions, or inactions, affect the total value. The two key points I want you to pay attention to are the “percentage of fault” and whether there was the need to “mitigate” any damages. Yah, yah, yah – more legal mumbo jumbo.

We’re going to start with percentage of fault. We know you’re hurt and the value of your injuries reflect a certain number. However, it is quite possible that you were partially to blame for the accident. This is what is known as “comparative negligence.” Let’s give an example. You were walking down the street and not paying attention to where you were walking. There was a huge pothole in the street, you fell into it and became injured. Clearly the pothole was not your fault, right? Well, that’s true. However, the truth of the matter is that a normal person (or what the law calls a reasonably prudent person) would be paying attention to where they were walking. The adjustor can say in this situation that you were partially at fault for the accident because you weren’t paying attention. What the adjustor will do is assign a percentage of fault to you. Perhaps they will say that you were 25% at fault for the accident. The adjustor will then decrease the settlement offers by 25%.

Another key point to think about is failing to mitigate damages after an accident. This is a much rarer concept than percentage of fault. Failure to mitigate typically only comes into play when you fail to take certain actions after an accident, and those inactions made the entire situation worse. For instance, maybe you were hurt after an accident and then for some unknown reason, wouldn’t go to a doctor for your injuries. After waiting a long period of time, you do finally go to the doctor and he or she tells you that because you waited so long, your injuries are significantly worse. Like I said, this rare, but it has happened. The adjustor will say that it wasn’t their fault that you failed to go to the doctor right away and therefore, they shouldn’t be responsible for the increased damages you have suffered. You’ll argue that it makes no difference because they are responsible for the injuries in the first place. Regardless, you don’t want to get into this argument because it could potentially lower your settlement.

Remember, the best thing you can do is to call the Ticktin Law Group at (954) 570-6757 as soon as possible. By speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer and going over all the facts of your particular claim, you will get a much better idea of what steps you should already be taking, and what compensation you may be entitled to.

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