When you are injured by the negligence of someone else, you could end up with a mountain of medical bills, significant pain, suffering, property damage, emotional distress, lost wages or more. Generally, you (the plaintiff) file a lawsuit against the party that injured you (the defendant) to make him pay —both literally and figuratively— for the damage he caused you. You are usually looking for money damages to compensate you for the harm you have suffered.
Economic and Non-economic Damages.
Money damages come in two flavors: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to money losses, like medical bills, car repair costs, lost wages, etc.
Noneconomic damages, however, refer to more intangible damages, like injury to reputation, mental distress, or humiliation. In the context of a personal injury action, “pain and suffering” generally refers to the noneconomic, mental or emotional damage you suffer as the result of an injury or accident.
Not surprisingly, the costs of a serious accident, injury, or medical malpractice case or an incident where a death ensues, can skyrocket into the millions pretty quickly.
So, can a seriously injured person recover the full amount of her or his claim?
No, not in Oregon
Caps on Damages.
Damages caps are laws that limit the amount of non-economic damages that a plaintiff can recover. Each state has its own damages cap. To find out what the cap on non-economic damages are in the states of Oregon, consult with knowledgeable personal injury attorneys.
Damage caps are an issue of public policy. I have personally seen how they can effect people with catastrophic and life changing injuries.
What a damages cap means to your lawsuit is that you may be limited in the amount of money you can recover for your pain and suffering or mental and emotional damages.
What do if you are facing a serious, catastrophic injury
Every case is different. Developing a good legal strategy to deal with the caps and maximize your settlement is paramount. We offer free consultations, reasonable fees, and are committed to getting our clients the relief they need. To set up an appointment, call us toll free at: 1-800-682.9568 or contact us through our website.
Personal injury cases can get complicated pretty quick. Not only do they involve a lot of factors that can be difficult to prove —like a defendant’s duty, breach, causation and damages—but even when those hurdles have been met, a plaintiff, has obligations of his (or her) own that must be met. Even an innocent plaintiff who has been injured by someone else’s negligence must mitigate—or reduce— as much as possible, his damages.
The Duty to Mitigate.
The “duty to mitigate” (or “mitigation”) refers to the legal concept that requires a plaintiff who has been injured to reduce the damage that has been inflicted on him.
Does that mean that someone who has been injured through no fault of his own has a duty to reduce the damage the other person caused him to suffer?
Yes, it does.
Every plaintiff has the obligation to take reasonable steps to avoid further loss and to minimize the consequences of the injury. In the context of a personal injury case, that means, for example, that you (as a plaintiff) have an obligation to seek medical attention, undergo surgery if recommended, or to seek other employment or re-train if necessary, or undertake any other reasonable steps necessary to mitigate as much as possible, the damage that was caused to you.
Because if you do not, the rule of mitigation of damages allows the judge or jury to reduce your right to recover that portion of your damages which the judge or jury finds you could have reasonably avoided.
How the Duty to Mitigate Works
It may be easiest to understand the way the duty to mitigate works by looking at an example. Let’s say that you are in a car accident and you break your leg. If your doctor recommends surgery as the only way to repair the break, and says you must stay off the leg for 6 months, and you refuse to have surgery and don’t stay off the leg for 6 months, you cannot later claim damages for the conditions that resulted from your refusal to have surgery and stay off the leg. If a reasonably prudent person would have followed the doctor’s advice, your damages will be reduced by the amount your failure to follow the doctor’s advice resulted in a lack of improvement in your leg, or aggravation of the break.
We Are Personal Injury Attorneys.
If you have been injured, we can help. We are personal injury attorneys with offices throughout Oregon. We have offices in Salem, Medford, Bend, Portland, Eugene, Albany, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, and several other cities in Oregon. We also have offices in Vancouver and Tri-Cities in Washington. You can call us toll free at: 1-800-682.9568.To set up an appointment, contact us here.