insurance adjuster looking at property damage

What Is the Duty to Mitigate Damages?

Have you ever heard of the duty to mitigate damages? It is an important legal duty that comes into play in a variety of situations where a person has either suffered physical injury, property damage, or other financial losses. Failure to uphold your duty to mitigate damages can have extensive consequences and, thus, learning about what the duty to mitigate damages is and what it entails is important to protecting your legal rights after you have sustained certain losses.

Overview of the Duty to Mitigate Damages

The duty to mitigate damages is, essentially, a duty imposed on a person who has suffered losses to take actions to minimize further losses from occurring. In other words, when a person has suffered physical harm, property damage, or other financial losses, he or she is not able to simply stand by and watch as further harm keeps happening to himself or his property. The law does not provide for a person who simply stands by watching this happen to be able to recover the losses that could have otherwise been preventable.

The duty to mitigate damages, in sum, dictates that people must use reasonable care and diligence to minimize their damages by taking reasonable measures to prevent further damages or other losses. If you are reasonably able to minimize the damages, you need to do so.

If your property is damaged by wind, rain, storms, etc. you have a legal duty to take steps to minimize the impacts and losses resulting from that damage. In fact, should you fail to take these steps to prevent damages that could have been “reasonably avoided,” your overall damage award will likely be reduced by the amount of damages that could have been reasonably avoided. 

While you are not required to take extraordinary measures to mitigate damages, you do have a duty to take reasonable measures to mitigate damages. For instance, if your roof or windows were damaged in a storm, you may need to put up tarps or seal openings to prevent further rain damage to your property. If your home is at risk of flooding due to increased rain levels and water levels in nearby bodies of water, such as a lake, you will likely need to do things like putting sandbags down to help prevent water from entering your home. Additionally, you may need to move your belongings to higher ground to help avoid them being damaged by flood waters. Failure to take these steps can result in your damage award being reduced by the number of avoidable damages incurred.

Miami Property Damage Attorney

For more information on your duty to mitigate damages after sustaining property damage, consult with the knowledgeable attorneys at VCM Law Group. We are here to protect your best interests. Contact us today.