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 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.
Is there a book that tells me what I need to do in my D.C. workers compensation case?
You came to the right place to find out what you need to do to get started with your D.C. workers compensation case. After a serious work injury, you will get lots of misinformation from many sources. The insurance company will send you forms to sign. Your job may tell you one thing. A friend or relative may tell you what he did when he got hurt on the job.
Many times, the advice and information you get (even from a lawyer) is wrong. And it will hurt your case.
What do you do? It can be overwhelming, confusing and you don't want to make a mistake or get taken advantage of.
That's why I wrote Protect Your Rights: The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers Compensation.
Early in my career, I represented insurance companies and large employers. And I learned a few things. First, from the moment you get hurt at work, the insurance company has lawyers, doctors, nurse case managers, adjusters and investigators working against you. It sounds harsh, but the insurance company has a duty to make money for its shareholders - and they do that by limiting the amount of benefits and medical treatment injured workers should get.
It may not be fair, but that is the reality.
This book explains it all - what to do when you first get hurt on the job, how and where to file a claim (and filing for workers comp benefits in another state could literally cost you hundreds of dollars every week - insurance companies know that) choosing your own doctor and many other practical topics.
Best of all, it's not a bunch of legalese or boring history of the workers comp system (who cares?). Instead, this book is straightforward, easy to read and practical. And even better, it is FREE to any worker or family member hurt in the D.C. area (including Virginia and Maryland).
Have a question or issue that can't wait? Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 and we'll do our best to answer it for you. We set aside time every week to answer questions. But don't wait - those times fill up fast.
How can I get information on medical malpractice in D.C.?
Medical malpractice - when a doctor, hospital or HMO violates a patient safety rule and injures a patient - can take many forms and be caused by many types of medical mistakes or errors.
There are certainly common patient safety rules that we see violated in our medical malpractice cases. But if you are looking for information on what a medical malpractice case is, how these cases are investigated, how you determine whether a doctor violated the standard of care (basically a patient safety rule) to help you and your family after a serious injury or medical condition, we have a number of guides, books and reports that can help.
Based on our experieince helping patients affected by medical malpractice for over 20 years, we've published resources you can read in the privacy of your own home to give you information you can use to make the best decisions for your family. Here are a few of the resources we offer to people who have been affected by the medical system:
Have a child with special needs? Order a copy of Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves: A Parent's Guide to Resources for help finding resources for special needs kids in the D.C. area.
If your son or daughter was affected by medical malpractice, read our short guide Picking Up the Pieces: A Parent's Guide to Medical Malpractice for practical tips, advice and explanations.
And for a report you can download right now to help you recognize and prevent medical errors before they happen, go to 7 Symptoms of Medical Malpractice.
Already looking for a lawyer specializing in medical malpractice cases in D.C.?
Don't hire a lawyer or sign anything without using our guide to interview and evaluate any lawyer (hint: we're not all equal) before you make that important decision. TV commercials, Yellow Page Ads, internet ads, they can all attract customers in any business, but this is different. You're not buying a mattress. Take action and learn how to find the best lawyer for you and your family.
Of course every person affected by medical mistakes is different and unique. That's why we set aside time every month to talk to people just like you, who are living with the stress and worry of dealing with a serious medical injury that could have been prevented. So if you want to talk specifically about your situation, call us at (202) 393 - 3320.
The reports are free, written in English (no legalese) and very helpful. The call is also completely confidential, of course.
I'm so scared and confused -- my baby has a birth injury. What should I do?
What is a birth injury?
Birth injuries in a D.C. hospital can refer to a number of specific injuries, conditions, or diagnoses a baby receives. Sometimes the term "birth injury" refers to a lack of oxygen (perinatal asphyxia) during delivery. Sometimes it means a delay in delivering the baby that causes Cerebral Palsy or other permanent damages and disability to the child. Sometimes the term will refer to a delayed delivery that caused shoulder dystocia, or a baby born with infection.
No matter what the specifics of the injury or condition related to the child's birth, there are certain steps to take immediately.
1) Get a complete copy of all of the medical and hospital records. Records for the obstetrician and records for the hospital may be separate, depending on the hospital;
2) Get a complete copy of all films, images (like sonograms, MRIs and CT scans) your baby had. Remember to get the acual images, not just the reports; and
3) Get your child the best medical care, treatment, and therapy you can find (we published a resource guide for parents in D.C., Maryland and Virginia who have children with special needs. Order it for free today -- it will help).
4) Then talk to us about investigating the cause of your child's condition or disability. The medical investigation we do is thorough and time consuming - we want to make sure you have all of the information you need to help your child.
We will review your records for free; no cost and no obligation.
We also know, from over 20 years experience, that the sooner we get started, the sooner we can help you and your child.
So call us today and we can send you your free copy of Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves: A Parent's Guide to Resources.
We have also published a book called Picking Up the Pieces After Medical Malpractice: A Parent's Guide. Both of these resources are free and indispensable to a parent of a child with special needs.
Both should help get you started. We also set aside time every week to answer questions and give information over the phone. If a confidential, no obligation stragegy session would help you, please call us at 202-393-3320 to schedule it. There is no charge for the initial strategy session.
Should I sign the medical information release form the workers comp adjuster sent?
No - unless you don't care who is reading your confidential medical records and history (sometimes family history) since birth. The forms insurance companies use will allow them or anyone they see fit, total access to all of your medical records.
They don't need it. What does a back injury playing football 10 years ago have to do with the ankle fracture that happened at work last week? Or a positive drug test 20 years ago? Or a family history of diabetes?
Plus, they will use it to deny or delay your claim for benefits after a work injury, especially if you have ever injured the same body part before or have a pre-existing condition that was affected by this injury at work.
Despite what the adjuster will tell you, there is no requirement that you sign any forms giving away all of your confidential medical information.
If you hurt your shoulder at work, have your doctor send the records for treatment to the shoulder.
Have questions or need more information? Call us today and we'll send you a free, no obligation book on workers compensation that you can use to make the best decisions about your case - decisions that will be best you and your family, not the insurance company.
I have an unrelated pre-existing medical condition that was affected by my injury at work in D.C. Can they deny me benefits?
The workers comp insurance shouldn't deny your claim just because you have a pre-existing condition, but many times they do.
In D.C. an underlying condition that was made symptomatic or aggravated by an injury at work is covered by workers compensation. Many workers have had prior on the job injuries or conditions, like a bad back, that have flared up from time to time.
Some people have medical conditions that may make an injury more severe than if it had happened to someone else, like a condition that causes brittle bones. A fracture caused by a fall at work may be more severe and require additional treatment, surgery and recovery time than it would have otherwise.
If you have a pre-existing condition or medical history and you are hurt at work, don't give the insurance company a recorded statement. They will use any mention of your condition to deny or delay your workers comp benefits - medical treatment and weekly income - even if there is no medical basis to do so.
Why is My Workers' Comp Check Always Late?
Late Workers' Comp Checks in DC Are A Big Problem. Our Aggressive Workers Comp Lawyers Can Fix It.
Late workers' comp checks don't mean you can be late on your bills. Your creditors don't care if your workers' comp check is late and now you can't pay your mortgage, rent, car, utilities, and other bills.
Do you have the time, resources, and ability to make sure your checks come on time? We do.
Can you convince the adjuster, nurse case manager, and your doctor all to do the right thing so your check isn't held up and comes on time, regularly so you can pay your bills, feed your family and do what is important for you? We can.
Our Professional, Experienced Staff Makes Sure Your Adjuster Sends Your Check On Time.
There are a number of reasons adjusters don't send out workers compensation benefit checks on time like they're supposed to. The adjuster just forgot. Or the supervisor has to authorize it. Or the computer made a mistake. They put your address wrong in the system. The automatic system failed. There are a lot of excuses they will give you.
Remember, the adjuster works for the insurance company - and her job is to reduce the amount of medical treatment and benefits the insurance company has to pay you. Even an adjuster who is friendly, organized, and hasn't given you any trouble at all may also have three hundred cases on her desk, so she isn't going to give you any special attention when she gets busy.
What can you do about it? You need persistent, targeted, professional follow-up. And that's hard to do by yourself; most people don't have the training, experience, or time to navigate the DC workers' compensation system and deal with an insurance company. That's one of the first benefits we provide for our clients.
We Have A System In Place To Follow Up For Our Clients And Take Action When Your Check Is Late.
Here are some specific tips on what to do when your check is late.
Remember, in D.C., the insurance company can stop your benefits for just about any reason, or no reason at all. They can send you to one of their doctors for an appointment with an insurance doctor, (insurance companies call this an "IME") and that doctor may say any number or things. He may say you can go back to work, or that your injury or condition is not related to your work injury, that your injury was caused by some other factors, or that it has resolved or gotten better (or worse; it should have gotten better by now so you must be faking).
Or maybe your doctor has not yet responded to their requests for more info on your medical condition, or hasn't given you an out-of-work or disability slip indicating you cannot yet return to work. Maybe they have talked to your employer and are questioning the workers' comp claim. Maybe you need a hearing to get your checks flowing again.
If your check is late, so you can't pay the bills, or you're not sure you are being paid the right amount (a lot of people aren't paid the correct amount and they don't know it - the insurance adjuster won't tell you that, it's not her job...), or your medical treatment is delayed and you aren't getting better, you don't have to put up with it any longer.
If Your Workers Comp Check Is Always Late, Contact Our Experienced Lawyers Today
Call us at (202) 393 - 3320 to see if we can help you and your family. You'll speak to a real person today.
Read the reviews of what real clients have said about working with us. Watch the educational videos we've produced. Order a book, guide, or report that can start helping you today. Then, give us a call to see if we can help reduce your stress and get your case moving more efficiently.
But do it today. Here's why. First, the sooner we can start helping you and your family, the better off you will be. Second, if you wait, we may not be able to or be available to help (we prefer everything be done right from the beginning - a lot of people (or the wrong lawyer) make significant mistakes in their case without even knowing it).
Does My Nurse Case Manager Have the Right To Attend My Doctor's Appointments?
Is Your Nurse Case Manager Trying to Get Into Your Doctor's Appointments?
If you have been assigned a nurse case manager and they are trying to get into your doctor's appointments, you may be asking if they have the right to do so. The answer is No. Make that Hell No.
If you've been hurt on the job in D.C., you have the right to choose your own doctor and control the medical treatment needed to treat your work related injuries. Nurse case managers or nurse consultants are hired by the workers compensation insurance company - and they work for the insurance company - not you. They have only one objective: to save money for the insurance company. This money that should go to therapy, tests, specialists and benefits you need because of the injury, not the insurance company stockholders.Why does a workers compensation insurance company try to hire a nurse to meet with you, call you and go to your doctor's appointments? Because most of the time they want to limit the medical treatment you get, interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, push your doctor to get you back to work before you are ready, and limit expensive medical or diagnostic tests, such as MRIs, that the insurance company will have to pay for. Only in rare cases have nurse case managers been beneficial to an injured worker. And remember - everything you say to the insurance company nurse (and some things you don't) goes right back to the insurance company.
What Is a Nurse Case Manager and How Can I Deal with Them?
If you have a serious work injury, don't let a nurse case manager "manage" your case. Order our free book about Nurse Case Managers today and call us so we can tell you what we really think about nurse case managers!