What are Duties Under Duress?

September 29, 2017 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
What are Duties Under Duress?

Pain During Daily Activities after an Accident

So you were just involved in an accident, and you have finally returned home from the hospital; it's time to get back to your day-to-day routine. Before the accident, you were an avid bowler, you took care of your two children, you worked a full-time job, did the laundry, and still found time to attend college classes on Tuesday nights. But ever since the accident, you have noticed that things don't quite feel the same. You have pain in areas of your body that you never even thought about before. You now find those daily tasks to be harder to complete: bowling is near impossible, picking up your children is excruciating, your job has become harder, even a laundry basket feels heavy, and sitting upright in class for two hours is painful. In the legal and insurance world, these daily difficulties are known as duties under duress.

What are duties under duress?

Duties under duress are daily tasks which were once easy for the accident victim to complete, but are now painful and difficult to accomplish. These duties are typically broken down into categories including: work, household, domestic, and educational duties. Knowing which type of duty is under duress is important when filing an injury claim. When insurance companies evaluate your case, they need to know what you are having trouble accomplishing.

Keeping Track of Duties Under Duress

In order to be properly compensated for the damages caused by duties under duress, you must record and describe each change in your daily activities. A detailed explanation of how your injury has affected your ability to perform daily duties is extremely important to justifying your claim. As with every legal proceeding, one cannot simply generalize and hope to receive a beneficial outcome. To keep track of your daily duties that are painful, record the following things in a journal or notebook:
  • Task that is difficult (i.e. gathering laundry, sitting at a computer, etc)
  • Reason for the difficulty (i.e. back feels weak, knee wont bend, etc)
  • Duration of difficulty (i.e. every day since the accident, on Tuesday nights at school, etc)
  • Details of difficulty (include anything that further clarifies)
Keeping track of how your injuries have affected your daily duties should be a continuation of the details you are already keeping about your injury. For more information about preparing a detailed case, read 6 Things Personal Injury Claimants Must Do after an Injury.

What are the types of duties under duress?

When evaluating an injury claim that involves duties under duress, insurance companies often look for the following difficulties in each category. Work- Have you continued to work? If not, how long have you been absent from work? What changes have you had in your ability to perform your work? Are you having trouble with mobility or stability? You may find it harder to climb, kneel, lift, or walk for long periods of time. Maybe you are having difficulty concentrating. If you find yourself making mistakes more often since your accident, that is worth noting. Household (outside)- Many of us work outside of our homes on a regular basis, and if any task you used to perform has now become difficult, make a note of it. If you now find it difficult to mow your grass, take out the trash, wash your car, paint the fence, or trim the bushes, make sure you tell both your attorney and more importantly your doctor that you are having trouble with these tasks. Domestic (indoors)- Domestic duties are those you perform inside your home, and can include: laundry, dish washing, vacuuming, washing windows, cleaning, preparing meals, taking care of children, etc. If you have had to recruit extra help to complete these daily tasks, whether they are a paid housekeeper or an unpaid helper, write it down. Educational- If you are a student, you may find certain tasks to be more difficult. You may now have trouble carrying your books from class to class, sitting for long periods of time, looking down to read your textbooks, etc. You may also find that your ability to concentrate during class or while studying has been affected. Make sure you note these difficulties as well.

Can duties under duress include mental or emotional issues?

Although most people think about duties under duress as being symptoms of physical injury, this is not necessarily the case. So yes, duties under duress can include mental or emotional issues. After an accident, it's not uncommon to suffer emotional or mental anguish, in addition to the physical injuries. This often takes the form of anxiety or depression, but may also manifest as panic attacks, nightmares, or other mental health symptoms. If these mental or emotional injuries are making it difficult to complete your daily duties, then you should include these instances in your notes.

Who should I tell about my duties under duress?

It's important to tell your doctors about every task that you are having trouble completing. You should be as detailed as possible and clear about the severity of each issue. Make sure that your physician makes a note of your difficulties in your file since this is what the insurance company will later be using to assess your claim. Medical documents are often the only record of the pain or difficulties you experience after an accident. Make sure that every detail is contained within those documents, since they can be vital to a successful case. You should also let your attorney know about any duress you are in while performing daily duties. Let them know in detail which tasks have become more difficult for you, and they can work on your behalf to make sure you are compensated for your losses. It's important not only to tell your doctors and your attorney about the duties you are having difficulty with, but also to tell them when you first noticed that you were having difficulty completing the task, and how long it lasted. Maybe you are still having trouble completing the task on a day to day basis, or maybe it was only for a short period of time and has since gone away. Either way, it's best if you write down the details described above so that you can share them with both your physician and your attorney. These notes can be invaluable to getting compensation for duties under duress.

Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have been injured as the result of a car accident or other unfortunate event and are now experiencing difficulty completing your day-to-day tasks because of your injury, contact the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. We have the experienced personal injury lawyers you need, and the resources available to properly analyze your claim to maximize your recovery. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation.

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Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, Florida 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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