Answers to Medical Malpractice, Workers Comp, Long Term Disability Insurance, and Car Accident Questions
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Contact us directly 202-393-3320
At Donahoe Kearney, we believe it's important to empower through education. Here are some of the questions people have when they first contact us about D.C., Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, serious car accidents, long term disability insurance claims, or workers compensation. We try to provide as much information as we can based on our experience as medical malpractice lawyers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Since every person is unique, if you have questions or need information about an injury or death in your family, please contact us to talk it through.We'll talk to you, schedule a free initial meeting and give you all the information we can. Call us today at 202-393-3320.
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How do I request my claim file after I've been denied long term disability?
After you receive a denial letter from your long term disability insurance company, one of the first things you should do is request a complete copy of your claim file.
Why you should request your claim file after your long term disability benefits were denied.
The claim file should contain all of the information the insurance company used to deny your claim for long term disability benefits - many times the claim file will be several hundred or more pages long. And it's a critical piece in the evaluation of your appeal - and remember, filing a well written, thorough appeal with additional medical records, reports from specialists and experts, research, medical literature, vocational information and persuasive evidence is absolutely critical. It will be used by the insurance company to decide your appeal, and then by a federal judge if your case is filed in court.
An appeal of the denial of long term disability benefits is not just filling out a form or writing a letter!
Since you only have 180 days to file an appeal, you should request the claim file as soon as you can, and the insurance company can not charge you for this, it is free of charge. Under ERISA, the insurance company has 30 days after your request to send the claim file to you.
How should you request your long term disability claim file?
First, carefully review and analyze the letter denying benefits that you received from the disability insurance company as to why they say you are not entitled to benefits for your injury or medical condition. Many of these will have an address you can write to with your request, but call the person who signed the letter for the insurance company - you may be able to email or upload your request instead of mailing it.
As long term disability lawyers in Washington, D.C., we draft a specific request for the claim information that requests 15 - 20 types of documents and materials, and we do this as soon as someone hires us to review their denial of long term benefits. We know the clock is ticking and we want to get to work on your appeal!
Get help with your long term disability claim in DC
As long term disability benefits lawyers in DC, we offer a range of services to help with your long term disability claim. If you've been denied long term disability benefits, call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 for a free, no obligation, confidential review of your denial letter so we can analyze your specific situation.
If you're thinking you should apply for long term disability but haven't yet, we offer consultations (now by video) to review your situation and provide a strategy to help you through the application process as well.
How can you tell if you have a legitimate medical malpractice case?
With a serious injury or death after surgery, anesthesia, delivering a baby or some other routine health care procedure, you should investigate whether the injury or death was due to medical mistakes, like the hospital's directions to nurses of how often to check on a patient, or a doctor's office system for telling patients about test results.
If you're left to care for a family member who had a life changing condition, like paralysis, brain damage, cerebral palsy, etc or if a family member died after medical treatment and now you have to provide for children, struggle with grief and worry about the future, it probably makes sense for you to investigate whether the injury or death could have been prevented and learn about resources and compensation that can help.
We try to get people answers. So they know. So they don't have to worry about whether they should have done something years from now, when its usually too late.
We try to take care of those worries for you.
If this is you, call us for more information at (202) 393 - 3320. Even if we can't help you, the talk will be confidential, helpful and free.
How Do I Know I'm Getting a Fair Settlement From the Insurance Company After a Car Accident?
Getting a Fair Settlement From the Insurance Company
Getting a fair settlement from the insurance company after a serious accident can be difficult - you really have to understand how insurance companies work and know the law on accident cases and insurance in DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Accident cases can be more complex in the DMV than in other areas of the country because we often have the accident occuring in Maryland, hospitalizations and medical treatment in D.C. and the driver who caused it (and his insurance company) being in Virginia.
But there are a number of critical things that go into getting a fair settlement for your accident case.
Settlement of an Accident Case
A good settlement will depend on a lot of factors. so there are a number of things an experienced lawyer who helps people with serious accident cases will need to determine (or you if you are trying to settle a case for minor injuries yourself - and don't believe what other lawyers tell you, ot the TV commercials - for some cases you don't need a lawyer).
Are there serious injuries caused by the accident?
We're a lot different than most lawyers. That starts with the first thing we want to talk to you about, evaluate and help you with - you.
We want to know how you're doing.
Are you still in the hospital or did you have a long hospital stay? Did you have surgery caused by the trauma of the crash? Do you need more surgeries in the future? Are you facing a long and painful rehab? Do you have to stay home or quit your job because you can't physically do it anymore? How has this affected you and your family? How are you paying for the medical treatment you need?
There is a lot to ask and find out about. And we want to help people who are the most severely injured - that's where we can really make a difference in someone's life.
How did the accident happen?
Were rear-ended? Did the other driver run a red light? Were you a pedestrian hit by a car?
The facts of the accident should be investigated immediately - getting the police report, talking to witnesses, going to the scene of the crash, taking photographs of the cars are all important steps in the process.
All three local areas in the DMV - DC, Maryland and Virginia have their own laws, courts and procedures, so where the accident happened may be a factor. But DC, Maryland and Virginia all are contributory negligence states, meaning that if someone is at all responsible for or at fault for (even 1% at fault) an accident that they are hurt in, they won't be able to win their case.
It's a harsh law, but the way it is. So insurance companies are always looking to blame you for the accident, or say that you were partially at fault (one of the reasons not to give a recorded statement to the insurance company without talking to a real accident lawyer first). They investigate the accident and try to blame you.
Is there enough insurance coverage for a fair settlement?
If you have serious injuries and the accident was clearly caused by the other driver, you need to make sure there is enough insurance coverage to get a fair settlement. In this area of DC, Maryland and Virginia, the policy limits for car insurance are relatively low - $25,000 (and Virginia doesn't require auto liability insurance).
If you've been hospitalized, had surgery, have permanent injuries and can't work, that $25,000 won't go very far.
So it's critical to determine whether there is additional insurance coverage available - was the person who caused the accident on the job at the time? If so, his employer may be responsible. Some people have umbrella policies - an extra liability insurance policy, usually $1,000,000.00 or more that will pay in very serious accidents - but you have to understand to ask for that.
And every driver should have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage on his own insurance policy. This coverage protects you by providing additional insurance coverage over the limits of the person who caused the accident. UM and UIM is a little different in every state but is usually inexpensive and can really protect you if you're in a serious accident.
If you have serious injuries caused by an accident, talk to a serious injury lawyer
Let's face it, these are just basic tips and to make sure you don't make a mistake or get taken advantage of by the insurance company, reach out to us today at (202) 393 - 3320 or fill out our short contact form and we'll get in touch with you.
We know a lot about these cases, and we're happy to talk to you personally, confidentially and with no obligation to make sure you get the best information for you and your family.
What If My Doctor Recommends Surgery But the Insurance Company Says It's Not Necessary?
What Happens When Travelers or The Hartford Denies Surgery Recommended by Your Doctor?
The insurance company doesn't always go according to the recommendation of your treating physician. In fact, one of our clients had to have two surgeries because the first one resulted in a serious condition called frozen shoulder and he struggled to get the second surgery authorized.
If the insurance company is refusing to authorize the recommendation of your treating physician, you should call an attorney. Often the insurance company will hire their own doctor to examine you, who is paid by them and will most of the time find in favor of them. They call this exam an Independent Medical Examination, or IME. We call it what it really is - an Insurance Medical Exam paid for by the insurance company and for the benefit of the insurance company. You're not there for medical treatment and the doctor has no duty to you (most won't even talk to you - they'll say you just have to get the report from the workers' comp insurance company).
What Can I Do After My Surgery Is Denied By My Workers Comp Insurance Company?
Sometimes the only way to get your treatment authorized is through filing for an informal conference (mediation) or a formal hearing. The informal conference is non-binding but might help to reconcile the differences between the two sides. If that doesn't work or for more serious adjudication issues, a formal hearing will result is a binding decision from an adjudication judge.
At Donahoe Kearney we use all of the process to your advantage: to pressure the insurance company to do the right thing, or have a judge order them to do the right thing. There are no insurance company tactics, strategies, or tricks that we haven't seen (and we can see them coming and prepare you for them). We will do everything we can to make sure your treatment is authorized and that you are on the road to healing.
If you have been caught up in an IME battle or the workers' comp adjuster is denying or delaying your medical treatment after a serious work injury, give us a call at 202-393-3320 or email us at [email protected] to get a free copy of our report "Scheduled: A Guide to Appointments with the Workers Comp Insurance Doctor and How to Protect Yourself."
Ready to Hire an Experienced Workers Comp Lawyer Now?
Contact our experienced workers compensation lawyers at 202-393-3320 to get help now. You'll speak to a real person who can help you get started on your road to success.
How Can I Get From Short-Term Disability To Long-Term Disability Smoothly?
Going From Short Term Disability to Long Term Disability
Most people don't realize that short term and long term disability are totally different - different policies, administration, time limits, types of injuries and medical conditions, just to name a few. So even if both types of policies are provided by your employer, you may have very different benefits and claims policies available.
A lot of short term disability policies cover you if you can't work for anywhere from a few months to 2 years. They typically have a short waiting period, about 14 days, and require a less intensive application policy and review. Many times, these applications are granted quickly. They may have exclusions - for example, they may exclude injuries that happen at work.
So does getting approved for short term disability mean you will be automatically approved for long term disability? You would think that but it's not the case. Many times the short term disability is really the employer's money rather than the insurance company's money - the disability insurance company just administers the policy.
And you can be denied for short term disability and still get long term disability benefits.
Long term disability can cover you for many years if an injury or medical condition prevents you from working in your occupation, or after a period of time, any occupation, and typically these policies cover you until age 65. Like short term disability, there are usually exclusions, often for mental illness, for example, and the application and review process is more rigorous. These policies often require you to apply for social security disability (and take a credit if you're approved and getting social security disability).
Keep in mind - all long term disability insurance policies are written to favor the disability company, and the federal law that governs disability claims (ERISA) is much more favorable for disability insurance companies than it is for employees with legitimate, serious injuries or medical conditions that prevent them from working.
And the key is - if you've received a letter from the disability insurance company denying or terminating your claim for benefits, call us so we can arrange to review the denial letter (in confidence and free of charge) and give you our analysis of what to do to put your appeal in the best light. But under ERISA, you only have 180 days and that's not a lot of time for the amount of work involved.
Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to get started.
When someone dies and has a D.C. medical malpractice case, who does the money go to when the malpractice case settles?
Wrongful Death and Survival Action Claims
When a patient dies because of medical malpractice in the District of Columbia, the relatives and estate have both a wrongful death case and a survival action. In D.C., both are different in terms of who is involved and the damages to make up for the harms and losses caused by the malpractice.
Here's how it works. Say a wife and working mother of two young children dies because of an undiagnosed pulmonary embolism in the hospital or after leaving the E.R. and we can prove her death was caused by the hospital's malpractice, there are two components to the family's case. First, the children can recover for the harms and losses for losing their mother due to medical malpractice. The D.C. Wrongful Death Act allows the children to recover for the loss of care, guidance, attention, services, etc. the mom would have given them if she had been alive.
The mom's estate can also recover for her lost future income and her pain and suffering. The husband and possibly the children could also recover damages under her estate - that depends on a number of factors. These are just the basics - there are other elements of legal damages available. And there are different time limits for filing a wrongful death case (1 year after death) and a survival action (3 years).
To Learn More Contact our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
If you are facing this situation having lost a loved one, or if you know someone trying to get answers in the face of such a tragedy, don't delay. The sooner you call us to investigate a potential medical malpractice case, the sooner you will have answers, and we hope, peace of mind. Want more information? Give us a call today at 202-393-3320. We can't wait to hear your story.
Do We Have to Sue My Husband's Employer for Workers' Compensation in Washington, DC?
My husband was hurt at work in D.C. We don't want to sue his company, we just want fair compensation. What should we do?
We get this question all the time. Most people have never had to have a lawyer, have never gotten seriously hurt at work, have never gone through this before. Before you do anything - sign any forms, talk to the adjuster, go see the insurance company doctor - you need to get information. Get started by ordering a free copy of my D.C. workers compensation book.
If your husband has a minor injury and is back to work quickly, he may not need a lawyer. But if the injury is serious, if he is out of work for a long time, needs medical treatment, needs surgery, has an injury that will flare up in the future or is permanent, you should call us now at (202) 393 - 3320 so we can answer your specific questions based on your specific situation.
There is a big difference between filing for a workers compensation insurance claim and suing your employer. Filing for workers compensation is opening a claim with an insurance company- much like you would after a car accident or if someone was injured at your home. Your husband's employer may do everything they can for him but they have a workers compensation insurance company that is calling the shots. And the insurance company doesn't know or care about your husband or any injured worker - the insurance company is in business to make money for its shareholders and they make money by paying injured workers less.
How do they do that? They will never tell you all of the benefits you are entitled to under the law (because they don't want to pay for them). They will send you to one of their doctors for medical treatment for your injury (is an insurance doctor likely to recommend tests or specialists that the insurance company has to pay for). They may even send you to some type of "worker's clinic" they fund where you won't see a specialist (or even a doctor usually) for treatment. Don't get me started on these "worker's clinics" but I wouldn't send my dog there. If your husband was injured in DC, he has the right to choose his own doctor for independent treatment.
Choose the Right Lawyers for Your Husband's Work Injury Claim
An experienced workers compensation lawyer knows how to get benefits fors an injured worker and follow through on an eventual settlement of the claim. We don't get between an injured worker and his company - we only deal with the workers comp insurance company. And our goal is always to get fair compensation for an injured worker - and that includes everything - like compensation for time off work, proper medical care, and permanent injury benefits.
Give us a call today at 202-393-3320 to learn the realities about DC Workers' Compenation, and discover how to protect yourself and your family.
How do you know if your child was a victim of medical malpractice?
A Few Signs to Help Find Out if Malpractice Occurred in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
The truth is you probably won’t know right away. It’s not like an injury at work or a car accident when you know exactly when the injury happened. With medical mistakes, it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint the exact moment the mistake was made, making it critical to obtain a thorough review and investigation to identify the cause of the harm. For a baby or child this could mean investigating whether something could have happened during your pregnancy, at the time of birth or after. If a serious and permanent condition was caused because the hospital, doctors, nurses or other healthcare providers made bad choices that didn’t keep you or your child safe, that’s the definition of medical malpractice.
Here are some signs that can help you determine if your child’s condition or injury could have been prevented. Here are three events that should trigger alarm:
- Your pregnancy was high risk but the doctor didn’t do anything different or refer you to a specialist. If your doctor should have made this determination or should have referred you to a maternal fetal medicine specialist, it may have affected the treatment and management of the pregnancy.
- You were in labor and your OB didn’t come to the hospital, leaving you in the care of residents or interns. Complications with the delivery came up, requiring an emergency c-section to save your baby’s life and you were evaluated by the nurses or interns, not your doctor. Should the complications been detected earlier, before there was an emergency?
- The doctor didn’t follow up on a test or prescribe the right medication that may have extended your pregnancy. Sometimes an infection that should have been diagnosed and treated, leads to premature delivery with the baby having complications of prematurity that could have been avoided with proper care and follow up.
If You Have Experienced Any of These Signs, Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
If any of these events happened to you, and caused harm to you or your child, you owe it to your family to get a thorough investigation of why this happened to you and to see if it could have been prevented. It may be that there is an explanation for your child’s injury and that it could not have been prevented, but why wonder about it, think about it or worry about it for years when you can take action to get answers.
The only way to get answers is by investigating your specific situation. Call us today at (202) 393-3320. We can help you get those answers.
What should I bring to the first meeting with a medical malpractice lawyer in DC?
How Can I Prepare for a Meeting with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
And you can tell a lot from the first meeting - or even a telephone call with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, especially us. We will be up front with you from the first phone call and interested in what you and your child have been through, always looking to help.
Because you have a lot of questions and worries, but not much time, we've developed a whole series of resources we publish for victims of medical malpractice in DC, Maryland and Virginia - information you can read in the privacy of your own home, and information that will help you make the best decisions about a malpractice case for your child and your family.
One of the critical things we will give you in the beginning is a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Evaluation Form. We know it's impossible to tell who the best lawyer for your family is from all those TV commercials (ask yourself - if they were that good, would they have to advertise on TV?). And that you want more - you want trust, and service and experience that will help your family and your child well into the future. At least that's what our clients are looking for in a malpractice lawyer.
When developed a specific system that we customize for you and your family, that we put into place when we investigate a medical malpractice case for a child, whether the child had a birth injury or birth trauma, has cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, complications from septic shock, etc. We only accept cases with life changing, serious injuries where we can help make the child's life and the family's life better - this let's us focus on only a few cases at a time.
Usually, the first thing we request is all of the medical information.
But we don't make you go to Children's Hospital and the pediatrician and all the specialists your child has seen since birth. We can review or obtain the medical records once you authorize us to do so. So when we first meet, certainly bring any records you have to the first meeting, like Discharge Summaries from the hospital, instructions, doctor's notes, MRIs or CT scans, etc. Depending on the child's age, if you have school records, we'll need those too. And bring pictures of your child - we always want to see those. We'll make copies of everything and explain the process of a medical malpractice case.
But mostly we'll want to get to know you and learn about you and your child at the first meeting - so anything you have is helpful but not required.
If You're Looking for This Type of Service, Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you want this type of service, trust and experience for a medical malpractice case, just call us at (202) 393 - 3320 or fill out the form on the left. It's all confidential, and the books, guides and other resources are yours free, absolutely no cost or other obligation. Don't wait - take a positive step for your child and your family today!
Can I Work at Another Job When I'm on Workers Comp?
What Are Workers' Compensation Benefits?
Getting workers' compensation benefits in D.C., Maryland or Virginia means you've had an injury at work and are getting medical treatment or disability payments while you can't work due to the injury.
If I'm on Workers' Comp for One Job, Can I Be Working at Another Job?
The short answer is no, and the long answer is also no. If you're getting workers' comp benefits, you can't be working somewhere else. That's fraud and you will be required to pay back the workers' comp benefits and could also go to jail. Here's what happened to one of these cheaters.
What Should I Do When I'm on Workers Compensation?
There's a lot, but here are a few tips:
- Go to all of your doctor's appointments and get all the treatment you need;
- Provide your out of work (disability) slips to your insurance company;
- Let your employer know if your doctor says you can return to work with restrictions and see if they have any light or modified duty for you.
The workers compensation system can be overwhelming - unfair, burdensome, slow and difficult. But don't make it harder on yourself by doing something you shouldn't.
If You Have a Serious Injury, You Probably Need an Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyer to Help You
One of the ways you can make things really hard on yourself is by not hiring an attorney to advocate for your rights. Don't hesitate or wait to call us at 202-393-3320; you will speak to an experienced staff member today who will take down your information for review at no cost or obligation to you. And order our free report 5 Mistakes That Will Absolutely Kill Your Workers Comp Case today to get started. What have you got to lose? The answer is benefits, medical treatments, and appropriate settlement if you have a complicated case and no attorney. Give us a call today: 202-393-3320.