Donahoe Kearney: Tell us about what you were doing before you were injured?
Ms. B: I was a police officer for a university police department (Full-Time).
Donahoe Kearney: How did you get injured?
Ms. B: I was injured during an overnight shift at the police department. I was assigned to the electronic building, working with Campus Closed-Circuit Televisions (camera systems). It had been hailing and snowing. The sidewalks and steps in the area where I was posted (entry and exit) had not been cleared. I was walking and headed to the steps where I lost my footing. I slipped and fell on the frozen sidewalk and down the steps, causing irreversible damage to my back and limbs.
Donahoe Kearney: What were the best parts of your workers' comp experience? What were the worst?
The best part of the workers' comp experience was finding one of the best workers’ comp lawyers in the DMV: Frank Kearney.
Mr. Kearney took the time to not just be my lawyer but my friend, teacher, counselor, and protector of my rights under the law. He also made sure I understood just what I would be going through with my care, and my case.
The most unpleasant part was that my employer was not there; they did nothing to ensure that I got the finest medical help they had to offer. Nor did they make adequate arrangements to ensure I was properly taken care of during this whole process of recovering (a long process). Not to mention that I am unable to return to my job in my previous capacity; so I have lost a job that I love.
Donahoe Kearney: Do you have any advice to offer somebody with a new workers' compensation claim?
When going through a workers' compensation claim you need to stop, take a moment to breathe, and (if you ask me) I will tell you to find the BEST D.C. workers' comp lawyer that you can. I can personally name one of the top attorneys, Mr. Frank Kearney. In my eyes, Mr. Kearney is the best.
Even if you don't have Mr. Kearney handling your case, please look up his book "Protect Your Rights, The Ultimate Guide to DC Workers' Compensation," because it can help you understand your rights and how to get started.
Above all, I would advise any person with a new workers' comp claim to stay strong through the whole ordeal because there are going to be hard times that can wear on you mentally.
You have the right to fight for your health and employment. Always remember that.
Donahoe Kearney: How is your life different now than it was before you got injured? What are some of the adaptations you have had to make?
Ms. B: Physically and mentally before my injury I was very active both at work and on my own time. I could take any classes that my job required of me; to be of sound body and mind as a police officer. I was able to maintain and stay ahead of my employer's expectations and I was on the fast-track in hopes of advancing in my career. But now, I'm physically, mentally and emotionally in pain on an everyday basis; some days are better than others. But there is never a day without some form of pain. Having to watch what I do and how I do it so as not to cause any stress to what I'm already going through, can be exhausting. I will have chronic pain and other issues for possibly the rest of my life because of these injuries and all of the surgeries that followed. I'm now in charge of trying to soothe and relieve pressure on my body. Some of the adaptations I must make now are how I do things, physically. This affects things I did before without having to think about it; walking, running, jumping, sitting, standing; I used to be able to do these things for as long or as short as I wanted. Now there is pain on a daily basis. My body goes through lots of changes such as swelling, stiffness, spasms, and chronic pain. There's also nerve damage; I now have to take strong medications and may be taking these meds for the rest of my life.
All of these things cause me to break down from time to time; mentally, emotionally, and physically. This is happening, and everyday life is still going on.
Life can, all by itself, throw any able-bodied person for a whirl to begin with. What do you think happens to people like me, with chronic pain?
Donahoe Kearney: Tell me about settling your case. What does your future look like?
First, I can breathe; the tightness of my chest is gone for a moment. No more feeling like I'm being watched all the time, and I can start healing mentally. I have developed depression, anxiety, high-blood pressure, sleep disorder, stomach issues, and a whole host of other things. I never had these things before this whole thing started. I can continue my physical healing, knowing that my health-care needs are taken care of. I can now re-learn what I'm capable of again with no limit, and this God-blessed nest egg I just received will help me not to worry so much.
Future wise, I can't wait to learn new skills on a new job, or try my hand at my own business!