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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  • Can you increase your social security disability benefits while you're on D.C. workers comp?

    Social security disability benefits are available to people who have been injured at work in D.C. (plus Maryland, Virginia and other states). And of course, social security disability is available to people who qualify for any number of medical conditions or injuries, whether or not they are caused by work, a serious car accident, a disease, etc. 

    So a lot of our workers comp clients also get social security because their injuries are severe and will prevent them from going back to work. But when you're on workers comp benefits, your social security is reduced because the social security administration can take an offset for workers comp benefits - the only thing they can take an offset, or credit for.

    Workers comp benefits are not reduced because someone is on social security, however.  So our clients typically apply for social security (and we refer them to a lawyer who specializes in social security cases - we don't handle those cases) for several reasons - even if they are getting the minimum from social security, it is a benefit they earned and deserve. 

    Plus, what if something happens with your workers comp case - your benefits get cut off and you have to wait for a hearing, you lose your case, the workers comp insurance company goes bankrupt? Those things may be unlikely, but why take the risk?  Social security can at least provide some income to help if something goes wrong with your workers comp case.

    The way to maximize your recovery (and that's what we do for our clients) is to look at all potential sources of benefits you can be entitled to.

    And settling your D.C. workers comp case, if you do it right, can increase your social security disability benefits.

    Social security law and regulations allow a lump sum workers comp settlement to be pro-rated over the injured worker's life expectancy, so that you can reduce the amount of the offset and increase your social security benefits after the settlement.

    For example, after we settled the D.C. workers' comp case of one of our clients, his social security benefits increased by $700 per month.

    Is it complicated? Sure, but that's why you need a lawyer who understands how to maximize the value of your recovery after a serious work injury.  That's what we do.

    If we can help you with a workers compensation case or question, give us a call.  And we'll send you a free, no obligation book on D.C. workers comp law and benefits (we even pay the postage) so you can get the answers you need.

  • Are you afraid the workers comp adjuster will take advantage of you?

    You probably should be.

    The workers comp adjuster will take advantage of you - unless you know your rights and how to fight for them.

    We've said it many times before.  After a serious injury at work, the workman's comp adjuster is working against you (especially in D.C.).  She has to - it is her job.  The workers comp insurance company needs to pay you less so they can make more money - and they do this even though you have a legitimate, serious injury.

    That means less for medical care you need - less PT, not approving another MRI, denying surgery, etc.

    And less in weekly benefits (you should check your average weekly wage calculation) or benefits for a permanent injury.

    How do you make sure the workers comp adjuster doesn't take advantage of you?

    We're here to help you. 

    As workers comp lawyers, we've literally written the book on D.C. workers compensation.  And we have a lot of information for you to make sure you don't get taken advantage of.

    But the problem is - you may not know whether the insurance company is telling you everything.

    Do they have a nurse meeting with your doctor when you're not there? Did the adjuster give you a list of "approved" workers comp doctors to choose from?  Did they say they filed your workers comp claim for you?

    Workers comp is a difficult, complex system where insurance companies have a lot of power, experience and resources.

    But you can change all of that by calling us.  We'll send you the only book on workers compensation written by a Board Certified trial lawyer with 20 years experience who only represents people who are seriously injured.  And we'll talk to you about your specific situation to see how we can help you.

    It's that easy.  Just call us at (202) 393-3320 to schedule a time.  And check out what real people (just like you) have said about working with us.


  • Do you need help with your workers comp case in D.C.

    You've come to the right place for help with your workers comp case, whether it's in D.C., Maryland or Virginia.

    We've literally written the book on Workers Compensation (and we'll send you a copy) and we can tell you how to approach your case, where to file it, how to discuss your injuries with your doctor, how to make sure everything is done right from the beginning of your workers comp claim.

    Let's face it, workman's comp is a complicated, frustrating system.  Adjusters have hundreds of cases, so how much can they pay attention to you?  Even if things are going well now (and how do you really know that?) there comes a time in every workers comp case where there are disputes - about the medical treatment or the amount of benefits or working light duty, etc.

    And remember - their job is to make the insurance company money (by paying you less, denying your rights to medical treatment and delaying everything).

    The people we work with get treated differently.  And honestly, we're different.  We don't take every case that comes through the door because we don't have to.

    We take fewer cases and we treat people differently - check out what some of our clients have said about working with us.

    When you work with us, you'll get treated like that too. 

    We only help people who were legitimately injured and have serious injuries where they may need surgery, are worried about not being able to return to their job after an injury and may need lifetime medical care. 

    If that sounds like you, call us for a private consultation.  There is no charge and no obligation.  And it will help.


  • Can a medication error lead to a medical malpractice case?

    Many times, medication errors and mistakes are preventable.  Either the wrong medication was ordered by a doctor or the tech or pharmacist filled the wrong prescription. 

    Sometimes the patient has a known allergy to a specific medication that is ordered.

    Sometimes this happens even in the hospital even though the hospital chart has your allergies listed and documented and even though you have an allergy bracelet or other identification.  Many times doctors, nurses, techs are all in a rush and they just don't check.

    And if they don't check or bother to find out, that is medical malpractice if it happens in a hospital in D.C.. Maryland or Virginia.

    So what can you do about it?

    As medical malpractice lawyers, we look at how we can help you - that is the key to every case.  And that will depend on the extent of the harm you suffered.  For example, even if the hospital made a serious medical mistake, like giving you the wrong medication, if it didn't cause any harm, you wouldn't want to go through the time and expense of a medical malpractice lawsuit to hold them responsible.  But you would want to report it, make sure the hospital understood the medical mistake occurred and that they were taking steps to prevent it from happening again to someone else in the hospital.

    Let's say the worst happened - you were given the wrong medication in the hospital and suffered significant, life changing consequences because you were allergic and they knew of the allergy.  We would help you and your family make up for the harms and losses caused by giving you the wrong drug through a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital.

    The goal would be to get you the resources you now need because of what the hospital caused and prevent it from happening again to anyone else in the community.

    And remember, even a medical malpractice case for a mistake that caused a life changing condition or injury has time limits and other legal requirements that you must comply with.  If you're interested in talking confidentially about a life changing condition or injury caused by a hospital in D.C., Maryland or Virginia, please call us to schedule a free, no obligation telephone appointment.


  • How can you get workman's comp to pay for the surgery you need from your work injury?

    You've Had a Serious Injury at Work and You Need Surgery.

    How do you handle that - workman's compensation is too slow.  If your doctor says you need surgery, and you trust him and feel that you need the surgery he recommended, here's what may happen:

    The workman's comp adjuster can still deny the surgery.  She may have you see one of the insurance doctors - and you know what they will say.  Or she will have a utilization review, where some doctor you've never seen, who usually isn't even a surgeon, reviews only some of your medical records and says you don't need surgery for your work injury. You need to request a hearing the minute that adjuster denies the surgery or sets you up to see an insurance doctor - don't wait.

    There is already delay built into the workers comp system and the best way to force them to authorize the surgery you need is to force the issue. That's exactly what we do when we request a hearing for our clients. A hearing is something you can file for within the Administrative Hearings Division in order to get your issue heard before a judge. It's important to move quickly with a hearing rather than trying mediation first, especially if your return to work hinges on getting the surgery. We've seen this a lot with people who tear their rotator cuffs or meniscus.  Sometimes people with these types of injuries are able to return to work after surgery, so it's very important to get the surgery as soon as possible.

    Can I Go to a Formal Hearing Without a Lawyer?

    You could, but we don't recommend it. Our experienced workers compensation attorneys can manage all aspects of your claim while we are getting your surgery authorized, so you don't have to worry about discovery, depositions, and evidence. We highly recommend hiring a workers compensation lawyer with civil trial experienced and is Board Certified.  Contact us today at 202-393-3320 to find out if we are the right lawyers for you.

  • Is filing for workers comp benefits the same as suing my company?

    Not at all - in fact, its completely different.

    If you get hurt on the job, your employer has workers compensation insurance - and that is who you will deal with to get your medical treatment paid for and your benefits to replace your lost income if you can't work because of the injuries.

    Some people naturally feel funny about any kind of claim involving their company, especially if they've worked there for a long time, or are friends with the owners or managers.  And that is why companies have workers comp insurance - to pay for medical treatment and lost time from work when an accident happens and one of their employees gets hurt on the job.

    Some companies expect or even require you to go through their workers comp insurance to make sure your bills are paid and you get the treatment you need so you can return to work.  But a lot of times, there is a big difference between how your company treats you and how the insurance company does - usually, your company gives up control and the workers comp adjuster takes over.  Her job is to deny and delay benefits - to pay you less.  

    Sounds crazy, but there is an entire system that you're in after a work injury that you can't control - even if you have a great relationship with your employer and have been a model employee for many years (like most of our clients). 

    And even if your boss is trying to help, he doesn't know the system either.

    That's why you need someone looking out for you after you get hurt - it's a lot dealing with the system and even people who are trying to help may end up hurting in the end.

    If you're not sure about hiring the right lawyer for a workers comp injury, someone you can really trust, order your copy of the only book on the workers comp system written by a Board Certified attorney with 20 years of helping injured workers like you. We'll send you the book for free, with no obligation as long as you were injured on the job in the D.C. area.

    And if you need to, just call.  Sometimes we can answer a question that's been bothering you in a 5 minute phone call.  We schedule time every week to do this, so just call us, toll free to get on our schedule for this week.  You'll get information, or an answer or a tip that can help you, even if you decide you don't need a lawyer.

  • Why Did My Adjuster Schedule a Functional Capacity Exam?

    Your workers comp adjuster has just told you she scheduled a functional capacity evaluation or an FCE for you.  Should you be worried?

    Yes. Here's why - many of these evaluations are nothing more than an insurance company funded way to try to get "evidence" that you can return to work, that you do not need the physical restrictions or limitations your doctor has indicated, and of course, that you are faking your injury.

    There are some legitimate measurements of how much you can lift and carry, but more and more, these evaluations (by a physical therapist - not a physician) focus on what they call "symptom magnification" or "pain behaviors" - things they say you are doing, or not doing. More often than not they will use this data to stop or limit your benefits and return you to work before you're ready

    Why is this Problematic?

    Here's the problem with that - these physical therapists aren't qualified to give opinions, make a diagnosis, or evaluate someone's mental status.  They rely on their personal observations, probably whether they like you or not, whether they are having a bad day, whether the workers comp insurance company isn't sending enough people to them to stay in business - you name it.

    Can they measure and count how many times you can lift 20 pounds? Sure.

    But what a lot of these workers comp insurance companies use them for is just plain wrong.

    What Can You Do About It?

    Don't let this happen to you - call us at 202-393-3320 and order our free, no obligation book, or call us with your question or issue before they try to stop your workers comp benefits and your medical treatment. 

  • Is your employer making it hard on you to file for workers comp benefits?

    We just talked to an electrician about his employer, a large corporation, making it hard on him to file for workers compensation benefits after an injury at work in D.C.

    Here's how they do it.  And some of this is driven by their insurance companies.

    First, they say "don't worry about it.  We'll give you all the time you need to go to the doctor (a doctor the company chooses) and we'll handle the paperwork."

    Or they say, "you've had an injury in the past - why don't you just have your health insurance take care of it."  Or, "that's not a serious injury, just let it go."

    Then they give you a hard time about time off to go to the doctor (to get treatment for an injury they are legally responsible for).  They try to push it off on you.

    Don't let them.  Here's why:

    They are creating defenses - manufacturing ways they can deny or delay paying benefits to workers with legitimate work injuries.  They want to make their workers uncomfortable about reporting an injury.  Why? So they can later deny a legitimate injury because it wasn't reported right away. Or they create an atmosphere where you don't want to go to the doctor or miss time from work - so you don't give your injuries a chance to heal, and they get worse.

    What then? They say it can't be that bad because you didn't get much medical you must be "milking" it.

    Do the right thing for yourself and your family after a work injury.  Get the information, expertise and advice you need before the insurance company uses your inexperience against you (remember, they have thousands of cases they have handled and absolutely no duty to you or your family).

    So order one of our books and guides on D.C. workers compensation or call us at (202) 393-3320 to see how we can help.

  • How do you help someone who experienced medical malpractice?

    As lawyers specializing in medical malpractice cases against hospitals, doctors and healthcare corporations, we try to help patients who have been seriously injured in very specific ways.

    Here is how we approach a medical malpractice case for you (and it's always about you and your family):

    First, we meet with you and your family - it's part of getting to know you - and listen to what happened.  We take lots of notes so you don't have to rememeber everything or write everything down.

    We analyze your medical records and we go over these with you. Remember, the hospital or doctors probably didn't tell you everything - so we sometimes find things that will surprise you - tests that weren't followed up on, orders that weren't followed through, specialists who never came to see you, that kind of thing.

    Next, after organizing and analyzing the medical records, we consult with specialists in the field - whether the case involves obstetrics, neurology, pulmonary, internal medicine, etc.  Our goal is to find the best experts in their field to review and analyze what happened and why so we can hold the hospital, doctor or group accountable for what happened.

    These are just the first steps we take in working with you.  There are many more.  It's a complicated (but rewarding) process.  But we work hard to take the stress and worry off of you - so you can focus on your recovery, your family, your life.

    If you were seriously injured because of medical malpractice and are ready for us to get to work for you, call us today.  We'll send you a lot of information you can read in the privacy of your own home and help you through the process.

    But don't wait to call.  This process takes time, and we need enough time to do it properly (or we won't do it at all).

  • How do I find the right medical malpractice lawyer in D.C.?

    I heard a judge recently telling another lawyer who advertises on T.V. and is in T.V. commercials that the lawyer was a "T.V. star."

    It was said as a joke but remember the old saying "the truth is said in jest."  Judges, insurance companies, hospitals and jurors know who the T.V. lawyers are, and some of them are skeptical of any case that lawyer has.  One senior partner at a law firm that runs a lot of T.V. commercials told me long ago that T.V. ads brought in a lot of small cases but people with serious, life changing injuries usually didn't want a T.V. lawyer.

    Why is that?

    Probably because, deep down, it's hard for people who will evaluate and analyze your medical malpractice case - insurance company executives, hospital lawyers, judges, jurors, to believe a T.V. lawyer.  It may not be fair, but that's the perception some people have.

    Personally, I think it's a free country and lawyers can run as many T.V. commercials as they want.  But I can see the concern many people have.  I'd feel the same way. 

    Because if you or someone in your family has a permanent injury or condition, like paralysis, cerebral palsy, brain injury, even death, caused by the medical system, why would you take a chance with your medical malpractice case? Proving a hospital, doctor or healthcare provider was negligent may be your only opportunity to take care of your family and provide the support, medical care and income they need, now that you or someone else in the family can no longer do it.  And even if you can do it all right now, you can't do it forever - what happens if you get sick, or hurt, or lose a job.  Then what?

    Choosing the right lawyer may take time.  We recommend you read everything you can about the lawyer and interview him or her (feel free to download our checklist of what to ask any lawyer you meet with).

    Most of all, will the lawyer help you and your family?  Can he answer your questions and give you advice you can trust?  Does he make you feel comfortable and at ease when you talk to him?

    And will he take care of your worries and your stress - about providing the medical care someone in your family needs for the rest of his life, or replacing income that would have sent your kids to college, or getting nursing care, transportation or modifications to your house that Medicare and health insurance won't cover?

    So read our short reports and guides to start.  And call us to talk about your specific situation and how we can help take care of it for you.