The Wagners - A Serious Injury Law Firm blog shares Personal Injury stories and opinions relevant to Halifax, Nova Scotia residents. Let us know what you think.

Duty to mitigate: Another individual may have caused your injuries, however, as a plaintiff, you have responsibilities as well.

Victor Lewin
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Before we delve into the duty to mitigate, can we put things into context?

Before delving into the duty to mitigate, it is useful to start with a brief overview of the litigation process. Thus, if you are an individual who has suffered a loss or injury, due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else, you may be able to make a claim for financial compensation. Provided this is the case, you are generally referred to as the claimant, or plaintiff. Legally, in order to make out your claim in a court of law, your lawyer will be tasked with proving various aspects of your case. However, many claimants are unaware that as they move through the litigation process, or even before it gets started, they have responsibilities as well. One of those responsibilities, which is the focus of this discussion, is the duty to mitigate.

What does the “duty to mitigate” mean?

The duty to mitigate is a legal principle which provides that when a plaintiff makes a claim for personal injuries suffered as the result of someone else’s negligence, the injured individual must do whatever is reasonable to limit or ease their physical and financial losses. In other words, a wronged plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for the losses suffered, however, this principle is subject to the qualification that a defendant is not responsible to pay for losses which could have been avoided if the plaintiff had acted reasonably. For example, an injured plaintiff must take reasonable steps to seek medical treatment. Additionally, once treatment is sought, the plaintiff has a further duty to follow the recommendations of their treatment provider in an attempt to get better. Practically speaking, as a plaintiff, these are the types of behaviours you will want to employ in order to ensure that you live up to your duty.

Ok, so I understand the nature of the duty, and how I should ensure that I live up to it, but why is the duty to mitigate important to me?

As indicated above, a plaintiff who fails to fulfill this duty cannot claim damages which result from their own failure to mitigate. In other words, a plaintiff cannot claim for losses that could reasonably have been avoided. So, failing to follow the advice of a health care professional, such as a doctor or physiotherapist, could mean that down the road a judge may reduce your award for damages for the reason that, had you followed these recommendations, you may have recovered faster or suffered a less severe injury.

In light of the above, it is apparent that the duty to mitigate is a very important aspect of any personal injury case. Although your injuries may have been caused by someone else, you must recognize that, in order to receive full compensation for your injuries, you will have to live up to your end of the bargain.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, and you are unsure what you can claim for, the legal team at Wagners can help you. You can reach us at 902-425-7330 or 1-800-465-8794.


When is a radiographic error simply an error and when is it malpractice?

Victor Lewin
Monday, October 16, 2017

Approximately 4% of radiographic interpretations rendered by radiologists in their daily practice contain errors.[1] Most of these errors however are either minor, or if serious, are found and corrected with sufficient timeliness that any potential harm to the patient is avoided. Nonetheless, radiological errors do harm patients, as treating physicians who’ve ordered the diagnostic testing rely on the radiological interpretation for diagnosis and treatment planning. ..

Spinal injuries and the law

Victor Lewin
Monday, October 16, 2017

After you’ve had a car or any type of motor vehicle accident in which you’ve suffered any kind of spinal injury, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer who can advise you of your rights in the Halifax legal system. Spinal injuries can be some of the most difficult and painful injuries to recover from. Here’s some information about what you can expect after a car accident from a lawyer looking out for your interests in the court system in Nova Scotia.

What is a spinal injury and why is it serious?
Your spine is responsible for communication between your body and your brain. The bundle of nerves at the centre of your spine is protected by a series of bones. Taken together, the nerves, bones, and other connective tissue are your spinal cord.

Because most of the nerves in your body responsible for communication go through your spinal cord, any damage to any part of it can be potentially disastrous and there can be a wide variety of severe symptoms that result from an injury.

What kinds of damages can my lawyer pursue?
Since spinal injuries are potentially so grave, determining what damages you’re entitled to can be complicated. Two of the most important categories of damages you can claim if you’ve been in an accident are pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses.

  • Pecuniary losses are those losses that can be calculated monetarily. For instance, if you’ve been injured and can’t work, the salary you have lost can be put in pecuniary terms: the money you would have made if it weren’t for the accident.
  • Non-pecuniary losses are damages that aren’t directly calculable in terms of money. “Pain and suffering,” for instance, is a term that describes a loss that can’t be put in financial terms. This is taken into consideration by the court under specific guidelines.

The most common cause of spinal injury is car accidents. A few years ago, Nova Scotia’s government put a cap, or upper limit, on the amount that you can pursue for “pain and suffering” related to minor injuries after a car accident. This cap, however, does not apply to all injuries. Depending on the severity of your case and the circumstances of the accident, special rules may apply that make your situation more complex.

If you’ve been involved in a highway accident or incurred a spinal injury, contact Wagners—A Serious Injury Law Firm today. We can provide you with a lawyer who can represent you to the Halifax courts, and other courts in Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces. Contact us today to find out more about how we can advocate for your interests so you can focus on returning to your life.


Slip and Fall and Snow Removal Procedures – What’s Required?

Victor Lewin
Thursday, October 12, 2017

In the recent case of Flowers v Allterrain Contracting Inc., 2017 NSSC 194, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court reviewed the case law on slip and fall claims. In this particular case, the Plaintiff slipped and fell on ice when exiting a Walmart store in Halifax. She sued the owner of the property and the snow removal company as a result of her injuries. The Court was asked to look at liability only (i.e. to determine whether the Defendants were negligent and liable for the Plaintiff’s injuries). ..

Neurologic Injury in Newborns

Victor Lewin
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

To be successful in birth trauma litigation, it is necessary to prove, on a balance of probabilities, the cause of and/or material contribution to the infant’s neurologic or brain injury. While the plaintiff must also prove a breach of the standard of care, at least in birth trauma cases, the first step is often to establish causation with the lawyer. ..

Boating Accidents and Safety in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Victor Lewin
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

With Labour Day weekend fast approaching, many Nova Scotians are looking forward to one last chance to get out on the water. With ocean bays, inlets, lakes and rivers strewn throughout the province, we have an abundance of options to swim, boat and cool down. Despite the beneficial aspects of living so close to the water, we should keep in mind that, at times, a fun summer boating trip could go wrong. In June of 2016, the Canadian Red Cross released the results of a 20-year long study on water-related fatality trends in Canada. Between 1991 and 2013, there were an average 101 deaths each year from summer boating-related incidents. Summertime is the perfect time to go boating, but it is important to be safe while you are on the water. ..

Bike Safety & Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Halifax

Victor Lewin
Monday, September 18, 2017

With all the good weather we have been having lately, as motorists it is important to be aware of cyclists on the road. The Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act makes it clear that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists in order to prevent accidents. For example, both are required to drive on the right side of the road and both are required to drive single file, except when passing. Both motorists and cyclists are required to use signals when making turns. ..

Not-so-gentle giants: the lowdown on truck-related accidents

Victor Lewin
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Like all other Canadian provinces, Nova Scotia has a strict licensing system in place for truck drivers—and with good reason! Operating a heavy truck requires a specific skillset that isn’t necessarily part of the regular driver’s ed curriculum. However, despite being trained for the job, truck drivers aren’t immune to the inherent dangers associated with being on the road. What’s more, accidents involving heavy trucks are often more complex from a legal standpoint when injuries are involved. Read on for some key information about truck accidents—and what to do if it happens to you. ..