I’ve litigated auto accident cases in Nevada since 1988 and during that time I’ve seen patterns emerge in the way that insurance companies defend these cases. Here are some thoughts in that regard.
Insurance companies are fixated with the issue of body damage to your car after an auto accident. Or, more specifically, insurance companies often argue that severe damage to your car does not necessarily mean that you were severely damaged and insurance companies and their attorneys always argue that minimal damage to your car means that you were minimally damaged. While this approach is somewhat absurd, I counsel clients to be ready for a fight that will require medical testimony when physical injuries are significant and body damage is minimal.
Mitigation of Damages
There’s an old doctrine of law known as mitigation of damages. Simply put, this means that you have to do what’s in your power to minimize your damages. For example, if you can go back to work, you should. If you can’t go back to the same job due to physical limitations, you should look for another job. Similarly, it’s your obligation to seek out and get appropriate medical treatment so that you recover from your injuries as soon as possible. Absences from work due to an injury should be supported by medical evidence. In contested cases, expect a defense attorney to ask your doctor whether extended absence from work was excused and justified. While lost wages are frequently perfectly understandable, clients should be prepared to offer medical evidence that damages in this regard are justified.
I’ll touch upon more issues related to how insurance companies defend cases in an article later this week.
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.