Answers to Medical Malpractice, Workers Comp, Long Term Disability Insurance, and Car Accident Questions

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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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  • I was hurt at work and I want to make sure the workers comp insurance company is paying me the right amount. What is the maximum workers' compensation rate in DC?

    Workers' compensation rates can vary. You may know that they can vary greatly from state to state - which is why it's important to file in the correct state. Filing your workers comp claim in the wrong place can mean hundreds of dollars lost in workers compensation benefits every week - click here to see how we doubled how much our client was receiving in workers' compensation benefits.

    Not only can the workers' comp rate vary from state to state, the maximum rate can vary from year to year.

    The maximum compensation rate is the amount of benefits high wage earners in DC will receive.  Remember, workers comp benefits while you are out of work because of an on the job injury are 2/3 of your average weekly income (in D.C. the average is usually calculated using your last 26 weeks of income).  The max rate is the top amount the workers comp insurance company has to pay you under the law.  In DC for example, the maximum workers' compensation rate is set every year.  Take for instance that the maximum workers' compensation rate in DC in 1985 was only $396....compare that to the relatively updated figure for 2017 below:

    2017 -  $1,467.46

    $1,467.76 - that's the maximum compensation rate in DC for workers injured on the job in 2017, while the minimum rate is $366.86.

    Let's say you worked a ton of overtime, got raises or bonuses or had two jobs in the six months before you were hurt (remember you can add income from a second job) and your average weekly wage was $2,700.00 per week - normally, you'd get 2/3 of that, or $1,800.00 but your benefits would hit the cap and you'd receive $1,467.46 per week in workers comp benefits.  

    Be careful here - you still want to calculate your average weekly wage as high as possible because that will be used to calculate partial benefits if you go back to work light duty and earn less money because of your injuries.  Most people don't realize that, so watch out for that trap.

    And, why is it important to know what the rate was in previous years?

    If you're a high wage earner entitled to workers' compensation benefits and you've been getting underpaid (meaning the rate at which you've been paid is lower than the maximum rate you should have been receiving - many times because all of your earnings weren't included in the calculation) we can go back to correct the rate and increase the compensation you receive. This would make a huge difference, especially for high wage workers. If you are entitled to just $300 more a week for example, then that's $1,200 more, every month, of benefits just because of this rule.

    The workers' comp insurance company didn't explain any of these differences to you?

    Give us a call at 202-393-3320 and we'll review your case with you. Or, you can order one of our free books and guides written just for injured workers to make sure you're getting the correct benefit rate for you and your family.

  • Am I entitled to temporary partial disability when hurt at work?

    Two Types of Temporary Disability in Washington, DC

    There are two types of temporary disability: temporary total disability and temporary partial disability (also referred to as "wage-loss" temporary disability). But, let's talk about temporary partial disability today to answer your question. Click here for more information about temporary total disability

    When workers get injured on the job, it can take some time to recover and to reach maximum medical improvement. In addition to rest, medications, physical therapy, and knowing your case is in good hands, there's one more thing that we've found that can speed up the recovery process: going back to work.

    How? See how slowly getting back to work can actually help you recover.  

    Since going back to work can help, many injured workers go back to work on the advice of their treating physician. The treating physician will assess your recovery and give you medical restrictions before going back to work - maybe working part-time, or performing a light-duty version of your job that will not put too much stress on you or aggravate your injury.  

    If you're making less by working light-duty because of your injuries and your doctor's advice to only do light duty work, then you are eligible for temporary partial disability. That can be calculated every week or every two weeks depending on how often you are paid.  You should be receiving TPD benefits in addition to your light duty salary or hours.

    But, of course, the laws are different in different states. And, it matters more when it comes to the compensation you stand to receive if you're injured at work and can only return by doing light duty.

    Is the insurance adjuster telling you which doctor you can see or where to get your medical care?  Confused about which state you should file workers' compensation benefits in, and what your rights are? Fed up with that nurse case manager who shows up at your doctors appointments?

    Give us a call at 202-393-3320 to get answers to your questions, and to get started on getting the help you need to recover today.  

  • I Was Hurt in an Accident on my Way to Work. Does Workers' Compensation Cover Me?

    In DC, Maryland and Virginia, Workers' compensation covers injuries that happen in the course and scope of employment, so that means injuries that happen on the job suddenly, or injuries that happen on the job over a long period of time. Workers' Comp even sometimes covers injuries that happen outside of your office building or work site; like accidents on your commute, or accidents on business trips. 

    Because every case is different, whether or not you are covered by workers' comp and the amount of workers' compensation benefits you stand to receive (if eligible) may be different depending on a lot of factors.  

    In other words, it depends. Typical lawyer answer, right?

    But on this question, it really does depend on a lot of factors you need to analyze. There are many questions we will have to ask, like in the case of getting into an accident: were you in a company truck when the accident occurred? Were you on or off duty? Was the truck used to provide you transportation to and from work? Did the company pay for gas, insurance, tolls, etc.? Were you on your way home, or were you on your way to your first stop of the day, for example? All these factors may make a difference in your case - and an expereinced workers' comp lawyer will listen to your answers and discuss all of these aspects with you!

    So, if you're hurt in an accident there are ways to get help for your injuries through workers' compensation, but getting an experienced attorney on your side is the first step to realizing these goals. You can click here to hear reviews of some of our clients who we've helped through their workers' compensation claims over the last 20 years. Remember that every case is different so if you have a question, contact us today.

    Never take the insurance company's word for it! Just a few weeks ago, a company told a plumber hurt in a truck accident in Maryand on his way home from the job site (he was in a company truck) that he could not get workers' comp benefits.  They were wrong! 

    You can start NOW by ordering any of our FREE informational materials like the 5 Commons Mistakes that will Absolutely Kill Your Workers' Comp Case to make sure that the steps you're taking are the best ones for you and your family after an accident at work. 

    Then, if you're confused about anything, want clarification, or just want to talk to an attorney about your workers' compensation matter, give us a call at 202-393-3320 or contact us here on our website.

     

  • I Was Injured in a Bike Accident in DC. Is that a Possible Auto Accident Case?

    According to the US Census Bureau, DC has one of the highest percentages of commuters who travel by bicycle. People are also using bikes more these days as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Cutting on gas and getting healthy is a win-win!

    DC's popular Bikeshare program and the maintenance happening on the Metro lines in DC (SafeTrack is still a factor in DC) has also contributed to the uptick in bicyclists on our road. With all these changes in transportation happening in our city, bicyclists are on our road even more. Unfortunately, that means that the chances of getting into an accident go up with it. 

    But, it's important to remember that bicyclists can also be liable for traffic accidents because they must obey the same traffic rules and laws as automobiles on the road. And when the driver behind the wheel of a car, bus, or truck isn't paying attention to the rules of the road and injures someone using a bicycle to get around, everyone on our roads suffer. 

    So what happens after someone is seriously hurt in the accident? Like, who pays for the damage? And, will the other driver's insurance company pay for the medical bills? You can get the answer to these questions in our Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in the DC Metro Area. Order it online here or give us a call at 202-393-3320 to order your copy today.

     

  • My friend's child has cerebral palsy and she thinks it's because the doctor waited too long to deliver the baby. Can you help?

    Cerebral palsy is considered one of the most common motor disorders in children today. Cerebral palsy can occur when there is no malpractice or medical mistake made by health care providers. But, medical mistakes can cause cerebral palsy, too  and they often do

    In fact, cerebral palsy can be directly related to medical mistakes when the hospital, doctors, interns, residents and nurses don't follow established patient safety rules.  Unfortunately, as medical malpractice lawyers in D.C., we've seen the devastating effects cerebral palsy can have on a child and family.  

    And we've represented families and special needs children against many hospitals in the D.C. area, get families the resources they need and to hold hospitals and healthcare providers accountable, so they follow patient safety rules the next time and don't hurt someone else.

    You can read about how we helped one family in a similar situation here. 

    Here are some common reasons for cerebral palsy:

    1) Failure to monitor fetal and maternal distress

    2) Failure to diagnose - or a misdiagnosis of an issue

    3) Failure to identify umbilical cord problems 

    and these can laso lead to another problem:

    4) Delay in delivering the infant

    It's hard to know if your infant has cerebral palsy due to a medical mistake. Want specific answers that will help get your family back on track? Still have questions about cerebral palsy or medical malpractice? Check to see if we've answered any of them in our FAQs or in our blogs on our website.

    Know someone with a special needs child that would benefit from our list of resources in the area? Call us today for our FREE Resource Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves: A Parent's Guide to Resources

    When a child suffers cerebral palsy because of medical errors, the responsible party should be liable for damages - and those damages can last a life time.  So we focus on your special needs child and your family, to do everything we can to make your child's life better.  

    Don't take our word for it, see for yourself how we investigate and prepare a case and how that lead to a D.C. medical malpractice verdict that changed a young man's life.  

  • Filing workers' compensation in DC - can I let the insurance company do it?

    No, don't rely on the insurance company to file your claim.

    Don't ever rely on your employer or coworkers to file your claim.  They can't do it for you.

    You have to tell your employer after getting hurt at work in D.C., Maryland or Virginia, and you should do this as quickly as you can, immediately after the accident is best. But, just because you've told your employer that you've been injured doesn't mean a claim is now filed.  Talking to the workers comp insurance company doesnt't mean your claim has been filed.  The Human Resources person at your job telling you she called in the claim doesn't mean your workers comp claim has been filed.

    Plus, workers' compensation is about protecting your rights - you don't want to put the responsibility of protecting your and your family's future in someone else's hands. Especially not the insurance company whose main goal is to pay you less in benefits!

    After an injury at work, it's hard to know what to do to make sure you're recovering as best as you can - especially if you've never been hurt at work before. A lot of times injured workers believe that filing a claim means just telling your employer or the insurance company that they've been hurt at work. This is not true. And, it can definitely hurt your claim in the long run. 

    This is one of  the five common mistakes people usually make that can hurt their workers' compensation case. Don't let that happen to you. 

    Only you can file your workers compensation claim after an injury at work by signing the claim form yourself. If you haven't done this, you have not filed your workers comp claim.

    And do you know where to file your workers comp claim?

    Workers comp insurance companies are known for sending claim forms to injured workers in our area to sign and return so they can be filed in a jurisdiction that pays less in benefits every week (for workers earning about $1,500.00 per week - and this includes overtime, bonuses, commissions, and earnings from a 2nd job, D.C. benefits every week are higher than Virginia or Maryland).  

    Workers compensation nsurance company lawyers know this and tell insurance adjusters to send you claim forms to file in the place that will pay you less. 

    That's just one example showing that after being seriously hurt at work and trying to get workers comp benefits, you need the help of an experienced workers comp lawyer who literally wrote the book on D.C. workers comp to make sure the insurance company isn't taking advantage of you. And they often take advantage of unrepresented injured workers.

    If you or someone you know was injured at work, give us a ca ll at 202-393-3320 and we'd be happy to help get them back on their feet. We have educational materials that are free to injured workers in Maryland, DC and Virginia.  

    With a serious injury, you have enough to worry about.  Recovery, rehab, new medical bills, worries about your check coming on time,.  A whole new legal system with new requirements and terms - like light duty and utilization review and vocational rehabilitations and filing the right claim forms can all be overwheleming - so we take care of all of that for you.   

  • My son had a brachial plexus injury after delivery - can we recover for his injuries?

    Is My Son's Brachial Plexus a Result of Malpractice?

    Birth injuries are sadly common and can have long term effects. Brachial plexus injuries are the most common type of birth injury. This injury happens when the bundle of nerves that originiate from the upper spine and go through the neck, shoulder, arm and hand get damaged during birth. When this injury happens, it can cause temporary and mild complications or it can cause permanent and lasting injuries where the arm isn't functioning.

    During delivery, doctors, midwives, nurses, and other health-care providers have a duty to uphold the standard of care. This means they have to follow established rules to keep their patients (mom and baby) safe and healthy.  And there are a number of factors that determine whether the rules were followed.  When that doesn't happen, and your baby is injured, that's medical malpractice. 

    It isn't always easy to tell if you have a medical malpractice case. That's why we've published free reports, books and guides that we offer free to parents in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia who have a child who has a brachial plexus birth injury, or any other type of birth injury. Just give us a call at 202-393-3320 and order your free, no obligation copy today.

  • Doctors discharged me too soon after an injury. Is that medical malpractice?

    There are many factors that go in to deciding whether or not a patient is ready to be discharged.

    Often times, patients can have a say in when they leave the hospital by telling their doctor how they've been feeling after treatment. A quick "Doc, I'm feeling much better now!" can have an impact on whether or not that patient is discharged or has a longer stay in the hospital. 

    This reminds us: take control of your health by speaking up about what goes on in the hospital! You have a say...and often times this can help your doctor pinpoint the right time for you to be discharged. 

    That's not always an option for serious medical conditions, however.

    We have seen cases where a patient was discharged before his physician reviewed an important MRI, or before consulting with a specialist, or before arriving at a diagnosis for the patient's serious symptoms - shortness of breath and chest pain in one case.

    Unfortuantely, patients have had unnecessary surgeries, had physicians who gave them the wrong information about their treatment and medications, and worse, doctors who removed the wrong body part during surgery. And we know that medical malpractice happens more frequently than most people realize.  

    Having a patient advocate who can speak up and ask your doctor and hospital personnel tough questions is a good start.  But it is up to your hospital, HMO, doctors and nurses to follow established patient safety rules to keep you and other patients safe. 

    And when it comes to discharging you from the hospital, the doctor has the ultimate say. 

    Remember, if the choices the doctors and nurses make in the hospital fall below the standard of care and you were harmed as a result, then your early discharge may mean medical malpractice. And if your child was harmed due to medical malpractice,  Picking Up The Pieces After Medical Malpractice: A Parent's Guide can be a great resource, and we're offering it for free. You can order this FREE book on our website or give us a call to order today

    With doctors, nurses and hospitals extremely busy, a patient can be discharged too early if there isn't a system in place to make sure the doctor has reviewed all the test results, consults with specialists and arranged follow up care.  

    If you think you are your loved one were discharged from a D.C. hospital too early and have suffered serious medical complications as a result, call us at 202-393-3320. Our attorneys can give you specific advice about your particular issue.  

  • Is my workers' comp nurse case manager working for me?

    What is a workers comp nurse case manager?

    A nurse case manager is a registered nurse who works for the workers comp insurance company.  In theory, she is supposed to implement individualized patient care plans and coordinate medical care and treatment.  In reality, these nurses are hired by the insurance companies to oversee your case, so you can bet that they're working to reduce your benefits and medical treatment needs with every move. 

    And, we don't say this willy-nilly, either. During our over 20 years of experience, rarely do we come across workers comp nurse case managaers that are beneficial to our clients. Clients with severe injuries, who need complex medical care coordination with several surgeries, could often use a real nurse case manager  - one that's on their side, helping along their recovery process. 

    BUT, that never happens... 

    Like many things in the workers comp system, nurse case managers sound like a good idea but are just another way for the insurance company to limit your benefits, treatment and the amount they have to pay you (like vocational rehabilitation).

    The workers comp nurse case manager is not working for you.

    Nurse case managers try to get between you and your doctor - meeting with the doctor secretly, telling him the insurnce adjuster won't authorize or approve some test or treatment he has recommended for you, saying your job isn't as physically demanding as it really is, saying you tell her you're feeling "fine" so you don't really need more physical therapy, etc.  You get the idea.  

    A busy doctor just relies on the nurse and believes what she is saying.  He doesn't have time to call you to see if what she is saying is true or accurate.

    Sometimes, nurse case managers cause delay in the entire process. They do this by pushing your doctor to release you back to work before you are physically able to work, conveniently 'forgetting' to follow up, send and request paperwork, questioning every doctor recommendation for tests and terapy, and a number of other tactics. 

    And, delay in any form brings you further away from getting the help you need. Like this man, who had to wait 8 years before receiving the benefits OWED to him,  Anything that delays the process is probably good for the workers comp insurance company and bad for you. 

    Don't let this happen to you.

    Order our FREE report Managing Your Nurse Case Manager here - it's free to anyone who has been injured in DC, MD or VA and has information you need to make sure you're getting all that you rightfully deserve. 

    Call us today at 202-393-3320 if you've been hurt at work - all we do is represent people who have been seriously injured. 

  • How do you know your workers' comp rate is correct?

     

    You probably don't...

    Workers' Comp Benefits in D.C. are Based on ALL of your income.

    That's usually where the problem comes in.  The workers' comp insurance company is supposed to take all of your income from the 26 weeks (six months) before your injury.  The average of that is the amount your weekly benefits are based on - it's called your average weekly wage.

    But they can't always count.  They need to count all overtime, differentials, bonuses, tips, wages - everything.  The adjuster doesn't always get the right information on the wages or doesn't understand the need to count tips and bonuses, or doesn't have time to deal with it.

    It's one of the first things we do for a new client who was hurt at work.  And sometimes it pays off big.

    Here's a good example of how we doubled our client's workers comp benefits by including all his income - it ultimately led to a very favorable settlement.  And he had no idea the insurance company was paying him the wrong amount before he came to us.

    No one would - and workers' comp insurance companies know that.  They know 99% of injured workers aren't going to check that or really know their rights.

    And here's another tip - if you're working a second job at the time you get hurt, wages from both jobs are included in the calculation.  We represent a nurse who had a second part time job as a home health aid and the insurance company was only paying her benefits based on one job.  We forced them to include income from both jobs and that increased her benefits by over $200 per week. Just like that.

    Sometimes it literally pays to have us as your workers' comp lawyers!