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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  • In DC workers comp, do I have to get every doctor visit approved by the insurance company?

    No, but unfortunately, a lot of doctor's offices think so.

    Here's how it works when you're on DC workers compensation.

    First, you can choose your own treating physician - that is your right under the D.C. Workers Compensation Act, so don't let the insurance company tell you otherwise.  Sometimes the adjuster or nurse case manager will tell you that you need to select from a panel or that they have a list of approved doctors to choose from.  Make your own choice - get a referral from friends and relatives or call us to see who our clients like.

    Once you choose that doctor, they do not have to get every appointment authorized by the workers comp adjuster - this is a big waste of time, and many adjusters won't even do this.  They won't call back or fax a form to the doctors office in time for your appointment and sometimes the doctor will cancel the appointment if he doesn't get this pre-approval.

    All the doctor has to do is send the bill and report to the adjuster for payment after he sees you.

    Specific treatment and tests - surgeries, MRI, physical therapy, etc. need to be approved, but this doesn't apply to routine visits with your treating physician.

    Questions on workers comp?  Call us at (202) 393 - 3320.

  • Is Misdiagnosing a Pulmonary Embolism Medical Malpractice in DC?

    Is Misdiagnosing a Pulmonary Embolism Medical Malpractice in DC? Well, that depends...

    Here's what we've learned representing families who have lost a loved one because of pulmonary embolism.  It's not medical advice, but you can get a sense of what we look for when we investigate a D.C. medical malpractice case.

    A pulmonary embolism is a serious, life threatening medical condition that can be avoided. But if it is not diagnosed and treated, it can be fatal.

    Many times the embolism (or blood clot) originates in the legs, in the form of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These blood clots in the leg can cause pain, swelling, and redness. The blood clot can then break off and travel up to the lungs, and cause chest pains and shortness of breath. What are the common risks of DVT that may lead to a pulmonary embolism?

    One of the risk factors for DVT and pulmonary embolism can be immobility - after a surgery when you’re confined to bed, for example, and you now unable to get up and walk around, you may be at a higher risk of getting DVT. Why? If you're not able to at least walk around or have some mobility in your legs for an extended period of time, it's much harder to allow a healthy level of blood flow to and through your legs. And, if there is no healthy blood flow, in your legs, the blood will start to clot and the clot can start to travel throughout the rest of your body, including your legs. 

    There are ways that your doctor or a hospital can test to see if you have DVT that may lead to a pulmonary embolism.

    A common screening test for DVT is a sonogram that checks the veins in the leg. Another common screening test is a d-dimer, which is a blood test that helps to determine whether there is a clot or not in your legs.  

    Screening and diagnosis is critical because effective treatment is available. 

    Determining whether the pulmonary embolism was not diagnosed properly or in time could be the first step in determining whether medical malpractice occurred.  Unfortunately, many times, the cause of death is disputed by the hospital or doctor who did not properly diagnose the pulmonary embolism, so an autopsy is usually important to prove the cause of death.

    Remember, not every medical error reaches the level of malpractice. Call us today to see if it does.  

    If someone you know had pulmonary embolism that could have been prevented, call us today at 202-393-3320 and you will be able to get a live person on the phone who will answer your questions. Don't put your health on hold, get started today and get the help you need!

  • How Do I Choose The Best Doctor For My Work Injury?

    Choosing the best doctor for your workers' compensation injury can be difficult. You probably have never been injured at work before, don't know what to do, and probably haven't even gotten a lawyer for this type of issue before. This whole process may be completely new, and that's why this choice can be so complicated - you may feel like you're "jumping in blind". Still, you want to choose the right doctor for you so that you can have access to your provider whenever you need it, and so that you can get the best care possible to recover from your injury.

    BUT, how do you make that choice?

    There are ways to make this choice wisely - there are ways that will help you pick the best doctor for you, and here are the two most important considerations you should keep in mind when choosing: 

    1) Make sure you get referrals. The first thing you want to do is try to get referrals from family and friends. It's best to work with a doctor that you know from your own experience or someone else's own experience. The best way to tell you how competent, easy to talk to, and responsive a doctor is, is by listening to their patients and other people they have worked with. When you get referrals from family and friends, you get to see (almost) first-hand what being a patient for this doctor might be like - that's an invaluable expereince!

    2) Don't let the insurance company choose for you. Secondly, it's important to remember that some doctors do so much work for insurance companies that they probably won't have your best interests at heart, or will be biased basd on all the money they make from insurance company evaluations.   Don't let this happen to you. 

    You want a doctor that is unbiased, and is working for YOU, not one that is working for the insurance company.

    If you need more help on picking a doctor for your workers' compensation case, give us a call at 202-393-3320. After listening to your specific situation, we can probably give you a list of doctors our clients have recommended for treatment of specific injuries, or at least tell you who the insurance doctors are.

    At Donahoe Kearney, most of our new clients are from referrals, clients who enjoyed working with us and have passed on our name to someone else. And, what they find is that the experience they were expecting at the outset, is the expereience they've received. Check out some of what our past clients have to say about us here.

  • Three Critical Steps to Success in Washington DC Workers Comp Claims

    Has Your DC Workers Comp Claim Be Denied. These Three Critical Steps Can Save Your Claim

    Unfortunately, workers' compensation claims can be denied for a variety of reasons - some explained, and others not. For a list of all the common denial reasons, read our blog here. When a claim is denied for a worker legitimately injured at work, we know it spells bad news for you financially - and recovering from an injury is hard enough, but now there might not be enough money in the house to manage basic living expenses.

    3 Important Things to Know

    After a claim is denied, there are 3 important things you MUST do to ensure that you are not giving up the rights to benefits that you are allowed. 

    1) Read the Denial Letter. Make sure you read the letter or Notice of Controversion and see if there is something the workers' comp insurance company is missing. Sometimes, not often, a denial letter is a simple clerical error that can be fixed quickly. Most times, the letter or notice will let you know the reason they denied your workers' comp claim.  Sometimes it doesn't make sense or is full of legal mumbo jumbo.  If so, call us to translate it or find out the real reason your workers' comp was denied.  Don't let that happen to you.

    2) Get All Your Medical Information Together.  Go to your doctor's office and any hospital you went to and get all the records regarding your injury.  You will need these to prove your case.  Don't delay on this - sometimes the doctors offices are slow in getting your records to you, so start right away.

    2) Get an Experienced Work Accident Attorney. Many people lose out on medical treatment, weekly benefits, and future benefits for a permanent injury that happened at work. Don't just assume the workers' comp insurance company decision is final, and some people make a host of other legal mistakes when they don't have an experienced attorney on their side.

    Has Your Workers Comp Claim Been Denied? Our Experienced Work Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help

    Appealing the denial of a workers' compensation claim in DC is a complicated legal process, and you need someone on your side who knows the law, knows the legal process, and can help you get what you deserve after a serious injury. Give us a call at 202-393-3320 for help today. With over 20 years of experience each, the attorneys at Donahoe Kearney know how to help. Check here to see reviews from our clients, and to see how we can help you. 

  • I'm Out of Work With a Work Related Injury. How Long Will My Case Take?

    The Length of Your Case Depends on the Severity of Your Injury and the Physical Demands of Your Job. 

    Your case should take as long as necessary to get you all of the benefits and medical treatment you need for your work injury, and for you to get back to health. Unfortunately, you can't speed this up or slow this down, it just depends on your recovery, medical treatment and the extent of your injuries. Permanent injuries will take longer, of course, because we want to make sure we can get you everything you need to take care of yourself and your family now and in the long run.

    Every day we do what's best for people in their specific situation. So you can expect a thorough and specific plan to get you and your family what you need.

    Sometimes that's a settlement for a minor injury that comes relatively quickly and allows you to put that money to good use. Other times, it's making sure you have ongoing medical care in the future should you need it. Sometimes it's transitioning to a new light duty career.

    Whatever will work best for you and your family is what we'll advise you to do. We're going to make sure that it gets done whether it takes a couple of months or a couple of years.

    Get the Help You Need Now for a Serious Work Related Injury in DC

    Contact the experienced workers comp lawyers at Donahoe Kearney to at (202) 393 - 3320 so we can send you a free book, guide or report on workers comp to help you get started.

  • Why Do I Need a Workers Comp Lawyer for My Formal Hearing?

    If You Filed for a Formal Hearing, a Deposition is Part of the Discovery Process

    A deposition is an opportunity for the insurance company lawyers to ask you questions under oath. It doesn't happen in a courthouse, and it usually happens in an attorney's office, or some other mutually agreeable location. The insurance company will send their lawyer and they will ask you questions about almost anything related to your case. You will certainly be asked about prior injuries, past or present medical conditions, how your injury happened, the medical treatment and diagnosis you've received since being injured, whether you can work or how much you have lost in wages if you can no longer work, etc. They will also ask you a number of other questions depending on your unique case and your specific circumstances. 

    We Take Care of Our Clients During the Discovery Process

    We look at the deposition as an opportunity to educate the insurance company about the seriousness of your injury and what you and your family have been through. We have a very specific protocol for preparing our clients to testify so they are confident and composed in the deposition. And, we are right there with them the whole way during the deposition, and of course more generally during the entirety of their case.

    We expect your deposition to be taken in every serious injury case we file, so we start planning and preparing you for it even before your case is filed.

    And the way we prepare you for this? Let's just say it's like everything else we do in our practice - it's completely different than the way everyone else does it.

    Have You Been Seriously Injured at Work in DC?

    Contact our experienced workers comp lawyers today. If you've filed for a formal hearing in your workers compensation case you'll need an attorney on your side for your best outcome. 

  • Will I have to go to trial after an accident that wasn't my fault?

    The short answer is probably not – most car accident cases do not go to trial and will actually end up settling. 

    Even though most cases don’t go to trial, the attorneys at Donahoe Kearney are comfortable in the courtroom.  Because of more than 20 years of experience, we’ve won significant verdicts and are board-certified trial lawyers, so if your case does go to trial, we have the specific experience and knowledge to fight for you and get you what you deserve. Still, the reality is most traffic cases do not go to trial for a variety of reasons that we’ll talk about here. 

    Honestly, many of our cases settle because we are well-prepared and because we are ready for trial very early in the process, usually at the time we file the lawsuit against the other driver.  Being ready for trial acutally helps the settlement process along since it shows the other side that we will do well at trial, and makes the other side worry about their chances at winning in trial - making them want to settle. 

    From the earliest stages, the insurance company knows we represent people with significant injuries and that we can prove that they were caused by the insurance company’s driver.  Even with all this information, sometimes insurance companies are unreasonable and after a year or more of litigation they still do not want to settle.  And, that doesn’t bother our clients because we have prepared them all along and they are ready for trial if their case continues in the courtroom.  

    Another reason car accident cases most likely won't go to trial is because it's just simply too expensive to litigate.  Especially if it's a minor accident, many people will want to settle so that they don't spend too much money going to trial only to end up with a smaller award in damages from the Court. 

    At the negotiation table or in court, we're here for you.

    Whether you have to litigate or whether your case settles, you can know that we have the experience and the skill to fight for you in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  Call us today at 202-393-3320 if you've been hurt by another driver in the area for a free and confidential consultation.

  • Is filing a worker's comp claim suing? Can my company punish me for that?

    That’s a great question and we hear it a lot.  Remember, filing a worker’s compensation claim for an on-the-job injury is not suing your company. We make that very clear from the beginning.  In fact, we deal only with the worker’s compensation insurance company – we don’t involve your supervisors, or your coworkers.  Instead, we handle your case in the most professional manner with the worker’s compensation insurance company.

    Why do we do it this way?

    Because it's better for you.

    We've been helping workers with serious on the job injuries for more than 20 years now.  So we know what to do to help you and your family.  Our tactics and strategies are different for every person we represent but the goal is always the same: do what's best for you and your family.

    Furthermore, it’s against the law to retaliate against an injured worker who files a worker’s compensation claim.  

    I know that the fear of retaliation is an ever-present one, but in over 20 years we have only seen a couple of cases of retaliation for filing a workers comp claim.  So, retaliation is extremely rare, and the penalties for employers who do so can be harsh.

    And workers compensation is a different system - sometimes a complicated, unfair system for injured workers - but it's specific laws and procedures.  And it was designed to prevent workers from suing their employers.

    Many injured workers who come to us say they don't want to sue their employer, they've never sued anyone.

    And you may feel that way too.  You like your company.  You've been there a long time.  They treat you well.

    But remember, your company has workers compensation insurance, just like you have car insurance or homeowner's insurance.  And the insurance company will take over as soon as the workers compensation claim is reported. That insurance company is a business and makes business decisions - with no input from your supervisor about what a good employee you were.

    So if you were hurt at work, you won’t be suing your employer.  

    But you should file a worker’s compensation claim to make sure your rights to future benefits and medical treatment from the insurance company are protected, and we can help you do that here at Donahoe Kearney.

    If you don't file that workers comp claim on time, or in the right place, you may not get the benefits and medical treatment you and your family needs (and is entitled to).

     

  • What if a doctor at a D.C. hospital caused my child's cerebral palsy?

    Cerebral palsy can be caused by medical mistakes.

    Unfortunately, cerebral palsy can be caused by medical mistakes made by the doctors and hospital staff at the hospital where you delivered your baby.  We've seen cases of malpractice at every hospital in D.C., even if the hospital has a good reputation, there are common medical mistakes we see that cause cerebral palsy:

    1. System errors - these are hospital wide failures in a system for how patients are diagnosed or treated, in other words, how things are done at the hospital.  System failures happen when they do not focus on patient safety.  In one case, a hospital had an overhead paging system for emergencies (we've all heard these in the hospital) but one of the team leaders for emergency responses couldn't hear the overhead intercom in his office because the speaker was down the hall, too far away to hear.  he didn't hear an overhead page and never got to a patient in time to help her. Another D.C. hospital did not have a system for making sure all of a patient's radiology studies (MRI, CT, x-ray) were read by a radiologist before the patient was discharged.  When an abnormal finding was discovered, the patient was already discharged without treatment, and no one told him about the diagnosis.
    2. Lack of experience - some D.C. hospitals are staffed with residents, interns and medical students.  Attending physicians rely on these less experienced medical professionals to be the "eyes and ears" and tell the attending doctor all of the important information about mother and baby.  But in practice, a medical student doesn't always know what's important - is it a lab value, blood pressure reading, elevated temperature - that is important? Many times, they don't know what to tell the more experienced doctors or when to act quickly when they need to.  Unfortunately, medical mistakes often get repeated in the medical chart.  A diagnosis made without all of the information gets repeated again and again and is never questioned. So other causes of symptoms and problems are never ruled out.
    3. Not consulting medical specialists - Medicine is specialized.  But sometimes doctors are hesitant to call in a specialist if a patient needs it.  Someone with a high risk pregnancy because she is a bit older, has high blood pressure or is at risk for delivering her baby prematurely, may need to see a maternal-fetal medicine specialist instead of an obstetrician. A newborn may need a neonatologist instead of a pediatrician.  Hospitals, especially in the D.C. area, are set up with many medical specialists available and on-call.  Not calling in a specialist can have severe consequences for a patient.

    If you're worried your child's cerebral palsy was caused by a doctor in D.C.

    Take action to get the very best for your child.  He or she may need special care, attention, and therapy - much of which Medicaid or health insurance doesn't cover. 

    We can help.  We investigate the cause of your child's cerebral palsy.  If it was caused by medical mistakes, we can help you and your family get the resources your child needs to help him or her get the very best care and therapy available.

  • Is a Hartford workers comp insurance adjuster handling your workers comp claim?

    Is she telling you everything you need to know about your D.C. workers compensation claim?

    Are you willing to bet your financial security, health and relationship with your family on that?

    Look, insurance adjusters are trained to keep costs down.  And you are a cost to the workers comp insurance company.  Your medical treatment, tests, therapy and medications - all a cost to the insurance company.  Your benefits that you need to live on - just a cost to that adjuster.  Your future benefits - a cost the workers comp insurance wants to avoid "at all costs"!

    That's what you have to remember.  Here's a quick story why:

    I just got off the phone with a nice guy, hard worker, who had a bad fall that caused broken bones he needed surgery for.  And the workers comp adjuster was very nice to him.  Paid his medical bills.  Paid his benefits.  But never told him he had to file a claim for workers comp benefits, never told him he could choose his own doctor.  And so he never did any of those things.

    What do you think happened?

    That's right.  There came a time when the adjuster, or the new adjuster, or the adjuster's supervisor, or someone higher up in the insurance company wanted to cut costs.

    And that means cut you and your family.

    And if you haven't taken steps to prevent that, done the right things to protect you and your family - your finances, health and welfare - you will be cut.

    Learn how to avoid that pain by calling us for some free information, tips and tactics or ordering a free copy of our book that explains the D.C. workers comp system.