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 think I was a victim of medical malpractice. What do I do now?

    How Do I Know If I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

    There are many different types of signs that patients can use to identify a potential medical malpractice case. If you recognize one of those signs and suspect that your doctors or the hospital you were in committed medical malpractice and caused serious injuries, you should get all of the information you can. For example, there are different statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases depending on where the incident took place. In other words, you only have a certain amount of time after the medical malpractice incident to file a medical malpractice lawsuit depending on where it happened. And the time limits are extended for children - this can include negligent prenatal care to a mom that harmed her child.

    Another thing you should do is start looking for a medical malpractice lawyer that can best represent you. In most cases, this will be the first time a person is looking for an attorney to represent them, let alone a medical malpractice attorney. Where do you start? Should you choose one of the lawyers you see on TV commercials or who advertises on the side of a bus?

    What kind of credentials do they have?

    Will that lawyer have the experience and resources to properly investigate your case?

    What will the jury think if you go to court with a TV lawyer? Will they be skeptical of you and your case? You may not know this, but the judges know who the big TV lawyers are, and their reputation is generally less serious than specialists.

    Being exposed to medical malpractice is stressful.  You are worried about your health, paying for future medical care you need, and not being able to earn a living. We know that.  That’s why we provide a number of different resources for patients who were victims of medical malpractice – so you can take the time get the best information and make the best decisions. And when it’s time for you to choose a lawyer, we compiled a list of questions you should ask any attorney you want to represent you in your case: Click Here.

    We also provide reports to help patients identify and hopefully prevent medical malpractice: Click Here.

    Call us today at (202)393-3320 so we can get you started on getting the right information for you and your family.

  • Can My Adjuster Force me to Have Surgery?

    Don't Settle for Allowing Your Adjuster to Control Your Medical Treatment

    You may be wondering if your adjuster can force you to have surgery. The answer is no. They cannot force you to have an invasive surgical procedure.  You obviously have a big decision when surgery is recommended but that recommendation should come from your treating doctor - a doctor who has examined and treated you over weeks, months or even years and has tried different therapies, injections, etc. before recommending surgery or has explained that the treatment for your injury is surgery - that therapy, injections, etc. won't help.

    In D.C. you have the right to control your own medical care and treatment when you get hurt on the job.  Everyone with an on-the-job injury and a workers compensation case in the District of Columbia has the right to choose his or her own treating doctor. Don't get bullied or lied to or tricked by the workers comp adjuster.  She may send you an official letter with a list of doctors to choose from, or tell you they only pay for treatment by doctors in their network or on their panel, or that they have pre certified doctors willing to take workers comp insurance so you have to go to one of those.

    None of it is true.  Don't make the mistake of going to some insurance doctor who is looking out for the insurance company sending him business (you) instead of the patient's best interest.

    And just this past Friday I heard another horror story about a "workers clinic" - that's a clinic that construction companies, insurance companies and employers send their people to when they get hurt on the job. The physician assistant did not refer the injured worker to a specialist in time and the delay may make the injury much worse. You should never settle for a "clinic" run by these people.   Their job is to minimize the amount of medical treatment and time out of work the workers comp insurance company has to pay for.

    If Your Nurse Case Manager or Adjuster is a Bully, Contact Our Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyers Today. 

    Don't settle for only what the insurance company has to offer. Call us today to discover the truth about DC Workers' Compensation. 202-393-3320. We will send your our free report Bullied | Is Your Nurse Case Manager a Bully and help you get started on the right track toward success on your case.

  • What if the Doctors Are Recommending Surgery, But I Don't Want It?

    Can the Insurance Company Force You to Have Surgery?

    One of our clients recently asked me "can the insurance company force me to have surgery?" He has a serious injury, and both his treating physician and the insurance company doctors are recommending surgery. But he is a smart guy, and he knows that surgery doesn't always "take." There are well documented risks with any significant surgery and he and his doctor have discussed those.  In fact, we currently have another client who is considering a second spinal fusion because his first one didn't "take," and his pain has progressively gotten back to pre-surgery levels.

    These are great guys- fantastic workers who got seriously hurt at work - and who didn't deserve any of this. Nobody wants to trade chronic pain for painful surgery recovery, only to be followed by more chronic pain. And although most qualified surgeons put the odds of a successful spinal fusion to improve pain in your favor, it's still a big decision for any patient. And there is concern, according to US News and World Reports, that spinal fusions are over-utilized.

    Can the Insurance Company Force You to Have Surgery?

    The answer is no, so don't listen to the insurance company and the adjuster on this. They cannot force you to undergo an invasive surgical procedure in a D.C. workers comp case.  But if surgery is being recommended by your treating physician and the independent (defense medical) exam, doctor, or any second opinion doctor you went to on your own (and we advise our clients to get a second opinion) it is something you should consider and determine what will be best for you and your family, both now and long term.  Surgery can give relief and increase mobility, which is critical as you get older. 

    If the insurance adjuster is smart, he or she may recognize that ultimately surgery is a gamble for the insurance company as well (they are responsible for anything that goes wrong in the surgery, or if it makes your condition worse) plus it's more expensive for the workers comp insurance company than conservative treatment. So, it really depends on what you decide - what you think is best for your serious injury and how it will affect you.

    The good news is, we have a strategy, for you.

    For our clients, we know the details and risks of their medical treatment and we can give them all of the information they need, and options for their DC workers comp case so they can decide the best course of action. Let's face it - for some serious medical conditions and injuries, surgery is the treatment of choice.  But we would never allow a workers comp insurance company to force a client into having surgery  if he or she wasn't comfortable having surgery, so we would work hard to negotiate a different outcome for them, such as a settlement or long-term pain management and other types of conservative medical treatment. On the other hand if our client wants surgery and is aware of the risks, we will fight for that as well. 

    Contact the Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyers Who Will Go to Bat For You

    It's critical for you and your family to get all of the information you need about the workers comp system before making an important decision on surgery - call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to get the information you need.

  • What Should I Do After a Serious Car Accident on the Beltway

    If You've Been in a Serious Car Accident, You May Be Shaken Up and Unsure of What To Do

    After a serious accident on the beltway, I-66, I-270 or any of the crowded highways around D.C., there are a number of steps to take (and a number to avoid as well). Naturally, the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians comes first. Make sure everyone is safe and gets the immediate medical attention needed for any injuries caused by the accident. Even if you don't feel injured at the time, call an ambulance or go to the hospital to get checked out. Injuries may appear later on, even weeks later, due to the adrenaline your body produces at the time of injury.

    After an accident caused by another driver, you'll probably be contacted by that driver's insurance company.  The insurance adjuster will want want all kinds of personal information and try to get you to give a recorded statement.  Especially if you have serious injuries, don't give a statement or sign any forms without getting information about your rights and responsibilities. Wait until you have a clear head and have spoken to an attorney about your rights before you allow the insurance company to set you up for a lower settlement. They may even try to deny your claim if you don't get medical treatment right away and get the treatment connected to the accident in the medical records.

    Where Do I Start After a Serious Accident on the Beltway?

    Here's a good starting point for people hurt in an accident in D.C., Maryland and Virginia - order our free copy of 7 Deadly Sins that will Wreck your Accident Case. For serious injuries that require surgery, hospitalization or prevent you from working and feeding your family - don't delay.  Get specific information about your situation by calling us at (202) 393 - 3320.  We will get you started on the path to success.

  • Could My Child's Developmental Delays Have been Caused by Medical Malpractice?

    Developmental Delays and Missed Milestones May Be a Sign of Malpractice

    Developmental milestones are times when a newborn or child should do certain things - roll over, sit up, walk, form sentences of 2-3 words, etc.  Its not just pediatricians, child neurologists, neuro-psychologists and other experts who use developmental milestones as a tool to help diagnose cerebral palsy and other conditions - most of the time its parents and grandparents who sense something is wrong or that a child has some disability because he is not meeting these milestones on time.

    Medical malpractice, usually some form of injury to a child's brain around the time of birth, sometimes from lack of oxygen, or infection or extreme prematurity, can certainly cause a child to be developmentally delayed.  Sometimes this can be diagnosed shortly after birth, other times, parents may not know the true cause of their child's injury.

    Many times, an injury to the brain means a person cannot control certain muscles, so its important to look at your child's gross motor skills - sitting up, holding her head up, crawling and walking are examples.  If your child has trouble with these or can't do them at the time she should be able to, talk to her doctor about it.  And keep a journal of what your child can do and what she struggles with, plus take pictures or video.  It will help you remember everything and give the best information to your doctor.

    Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today If You Think There May Be Malpractice

    If you think your child is not meeting developmental milestones, it may just be that she is developing at her own pace.  But if you suspect a birth injury or trauma or difficult labor played a part in causing developmental delay, take action to get all the information today. Don't wait or delay - it will take time to assess your child's case, so you need to take action as soon as you can. Call us today at 202-393-3320.

  • The Office of Workers Compensation Claims Examiner Recommended I Have an Informal Conference. What is That?

    An Informal Conference is a Non-Binding Mediation For Contested Workers Compensation Claims

    In D.C. workers' compensation cases, one of the ways to get an issue decided is through an informal conference.  Just like the name suggests, it's informal, with very few rules.  You don't testify under oath and there is no record or transcript of the testimony. Witnesses are not generally allowed but you can submit medical reports and other documents to the claims examiner. It's more of a mediation than anything else and the decision is not binding.

    Here's what that means - the recommendation that comes out of this conference is not binding on the parties. Either side can reject it and request a formal hearing (which requires testimony under oath, creates a record and can result in a Compensation Order).

    Here at Donabhoe Kearney we usually advise not going to an informal conference if you are out of work due to your injury but the insurance company is Do You Need an Informal Conference for Your Workers' Comp Case?contesting it. They are just going to reject the recommendation and proceed to a formal hearing.  All you've done is delay your benefits by a couple of months to engage in this process and given the insurance company free discovery and more time to build their defenses. With our clients, we always proceed directly to a formal hearing.

    Sometimes an informal conference is necessary: for example if you want to change physicians and the insurance company won't approve the change.  But if you're not getting paid by the insurance company, it's just a waste of time and you'll need to go to a formal hearing so you can get a binding decision from a judge. But don't go it alone. You'll need an experienced workers compensation lawyer like Frank Kearney to win your benefits and keep your medical treatment authorized.

    Get More Free Information Today About Your DC Workers Compensation Claim

    You can learn more about formal heatings and many other critical topics in the signature book on workers' compensation, Protect Your Rights:  The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers Compensation. You can order it online or call us at 202-393-3320 and we are happy to send you a free copy.

    If you have questions about whether you should go to informal conference, give us a call at 202-393-3320 to speak with a real person today. We will take down your information for no cost and no obligation. 

  • I was hurt at work in DC. Does my company have to provide light duty?

    Light Duty in DC Workers Comp Cases

    In workers compensation cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, it’s up to your company to provide light duty if you can't do your regular job because of your injury but your doctor says you can do some work, or work with restrictions - in other words, it’s the employer's choice to offer light duty work - and some do but others don't.

    Some employers have true light duty jobs available that they can move an injured worker to - and if so, that injured worker would receive his regular salary instead of workers comp benefits for the time he is on light duty.

    Other companies may create a light duty job or have a light duty program. A construction company could have a construction worker with a shoulder injury sit in the trailer, or make sure everyone wears a hard hat. A transit employer could have injured workers watch a parking lot. Again the injured employee would be paid his regular salary instead of workers compensation benefits.

    One thing to keep in mind is that even if you are receiving your standard hourly rate in a light duty job, you may be owed additional workers compensation benefits (called temporary partial disability). This is because your average weekly wage (which includes overtime, bonuses and may include income from a second job) could be more than your standard hourly rate.

    What if your company doesn't have light duty work and can't make up a light duty job for you?

    They have to pay your full workers compensation benefits, also called temporary total disability, or TTD, just as if your doctor said you could not do any work because of the injury.

    One thing to watch out for if you have a Virginia workers compensation case - if you are not under an Award, you must look for light duty work within your restrictions (called marketing your residual capacity) even if you will be released to your regular duty job with your company in a short time.

    Light Duty Restrictions and Vocational Rehabilitation

    And in DC cases, the workers comp insurance company may start vocational rehabilitation - hiring a vocational specialist to look for jobs for you within your restrictions.  If you are in vocational rehabilitation, please call us - we have a lot to tell you about the process (it is sometimes a sham and the insurance company will use it to cut off your benefits, so be careful). 

    The bottom line with light duty is it depends on the employer. But the key to any light duty job is to make sure it is within your doctor's restrictions - you don't want to do anything to risk further injury or delay the recovery from your injury.

    Every employer does something different and every case depends on specific factors. So if you have questions, call us at (202) 393-3320.

  • If You Have Been Affected By Medical Malpractice, You Need Resources.

    If You Have Been Affected By Medical Malpractice, You Need Resources.

    Medical malpractice - mistakes by hospitals, HMOs and doctors when they don't follow the rules to keep patients safe - obviously harms and hurts the patient they injure.

    But medical malpractice has a broad affect on the injured patient's family as well.

    We've represented people who have had a severe brain injury in a hospital and need 24/7 care.  In one case, the father had to quit his job and start a new business so he could be home to help care for his adult daughter.  The family had to convert a first floor room into a hospital room to fit the wheelchair, hospital bed, medical equipment and supplies their daughter needs. Their credit is shot - because Medicaid never pays for everything they need.

    Plus, Medicaid never provides the amount of nursing care to take care of someone who needs around the clock care.  And nurses can quit or not show up, leaving the family in a bind where they can't go to work, can't attend the other kids' activities, or even go out for dinner or a movie.

    We can help get families affected by medical malpractice the resources they need to make their lives better.  You can start today by calling us at (202) 393-3320 to confidentially, discreetly discuss your family's situation.

    And you can order two of our publications for free:  Picking Up the Pieces: A Parent's Guide to Medical Malpractice and Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves.

    Both are written based on our experience working with families affected by medical malpractice in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

    Don't wait.  There are time limits for everything.  So get started getting help for your family today.

  • How does PPE affect the safety conditions in my work environment?

    Does PPE Protect You From a Work Injury?

    Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to protect workers from getting seriously injured while working. PPEs can be face shields, hard hats or safety glasses. They can also be garments such as gloves, vests, coveralls, earplugs, or devices such as respirators. Even though PPE requirements will vary Personal Protective Equipment on Job Sites in DCdepending on the industry and materials each industry handles, both employers and employees are responsible for using PPEs properly. Employers are required to identify workplace hazards and use PPEs, as well as other methods to reduce hazards. Employers must also train and require workers to use PPEs. Meanwhile, it is the employees’ responsibility to report problems with the equipment to employers.

    It is important to know that using a PPE doesn’t eliminate work hazards. It only helps prevent injury due to work hazards. For example, hard hats on a work site are required to help prevent head injuries from falling equipment. Requiring workers to wear hard hats doesn’t eliminate the risk of equipment falling but it can help prevent injuries. So, employers need to implement methods like using PPEs to help reduce risks of serious injuries in a given work environment.

    One way you can protect yourself and your crew is to make sure your work environment is up to standards. This could help prevent life-changing injuries.

    Here are some of the organizations that published guidelines for standards of care for workers, PPE requirements, and more:

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an organization that created standards of care for workers. Besides OSHA’s PPE requirements, the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI), ASTM International (ASTM), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also publish standards for the manufacture, testing and use of PPE.

    Do You Know Someone Who Has Had a Serious Work Accident?

    If you know someone with a serious work injury or have questions about workers compensation in D.C., Maryland or Virginia, contact our experienced workers compensation lawyers today and order one of our free guides on workers compensation or the book, Protect Your Rights: The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers’ Compensation or by calling (202) 393-3320.

  • What are some of the workers’ compensation benefits available in the District of Columbia?

    If You've Been Injured at Work, Here are Some of the Common Benefits Available in the District of Columbia:

    Temporary Total Disability:

    An injured worker is entitled to temporary total disability benefits if he or she is unable to return to work because of the on-the-job injury. With this benefit, the worker is paid 2/3 of his or her average weekly wage.

    Temporary Partial Disability:

    A worker was injured at work but his doctor says he can return to work only on restricted duty or light duty.  This worker is entitled to temporary partial disability benefits, based on the difference between the pre-injury average weekly wage and the post-injury earnings. For instance, in the District of Columbia, temporary partial disability benefits are 2/3 of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wage and the new income.

    Permanent Partial Disability:

    The difference between this level of disability and the first two is that with the first two, the employee is expected to return to work after recovery and to be able to perform to his or her full capacity. A worker who is permanently impaired from an on-the-job injury is entitled to permanent partial disability.

    It is important to note that these are just the basic definitions. However, it’s much more complex than this because there are many different variables that play into the situation. For example, injuries to the back or neck are compensated by temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, or permanent partial disability, based upon wage loss. Another factor that is taken into account is the nature of the injured worker’s job.

    Workers’ compensation cases are extremely complex and time consuming. Once you’re injured on the job, make sure you have all the information and have all the help you can get. One simple mistake can cost you thousands of dollars each week. Call us today at (202)393-3320 to speak to us about your work-related injury so we can work together to make sure you’re receiving all the benefits that are available for you. This will help you stop worrying about the finances and start focusing on getting better.

    Have Your Workers Comp Benefits Been Denied? Contact our Workers Compensation Lawyers Today

    If you're worried about getting benefits after a work injury, you're not alone. Our experienced workers comp lawyers can get you started on the right path to protect yourself and your family. Contact us today at 202-393-3320.