So you were just involved in an accident, and you have finally returned home from the hospital; it’s 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, you did the laundry, and attended classes on Tuesday and Thursday 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 where you didn’t 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, we call these daily difficulties 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. They 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 used to mow your grass, take out the trash, wash your car, paint, trim the bushes, etc. 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, etc. If you have had to bring on extra help to complete these tasks, make note of it, whether that is a paid housekeeper or an unpaid helper.
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.
It is important to tell your doctors about every task that you are having trouble completing. Make sure that your physician has made a note of your difficulties in your file, and explain to them the severity. 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 exact amount of time and give those notes to both your physician and your attorney. They can be invaluable as you case moves forward.
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. We have the personal injury lawyers you need in the greater Clearwater area, and can analyze your claim to maximize your recovery. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions. You can reach us in one of these 4 ways:
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765