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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  • As medical malpractice lawyers, do you help your clients find resources once their case is over.

    Absolutely - we tell our clients we are their lawyers for life.  After their medical malpractice case settles, we help them find the right specialists for their needs and what they want to do.  Sometimes that means a lawyer specializing in trusts or probate, or a structured settlement broker to get the best rates on annuities if that is part of the settlement.

    For children with special needs, such as cerebral palsy or developmental delays, we published a handbook and list of resources for parents of special needs children, Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves, a handbook full of ideas, programs and resources in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  Health care, social security, respite care, camps and much more is included.  And we send it to parents of special needs children for free - it doesn't matter what the cause of the child's disability or whether they were our client.

    We provide these "extras" because we can.  We've been fortunate to work for many parents caring for special needs children, and they've taught us a lot.  Rather than pour money into advertising for medical malpractice cases or run t.v. commercials telling you to call a lawyer if your child has cerebral palsy (not our style) we'd rather develop and publish information that can help you.

    You can order a free copy of the resource guide on the website or by calling (202) 393-3320. 

  • There are a lot of issues regarding your child's education, benefits and medical care.

    There are certain protections, resources and benefits available in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia for children who are severely disabled and their parents.

    Social Security benefits are available for severely disabled children in the form of supplemental security income, usually called SSI.  This is administered through the social security administration and is designed to provide a monthly amount for food, clothing and shelter.

    Medicaid is a state run program providing medical assistance and paying for medical treatment.

    If your child's disability was caused by medical malpractice, and you settle a medical malpractice case, there are different options, such as a special needs trust, to protect that money and remain eligible for SSI and Medicaid. You can use this trust to use the settlement proceeds for supplemental needs, and programs and resources your child will need such as transportation, a handicap accessible home, camps, computers, and other goods and services that will enrich your child's life (and hopefully make yours easier).

    There are a lot of issues regarding your child's education, benefits and medical care. 

    Need more information on resources and programs for children with special needs?  Call for your free guide to resources in the Washington, D.C. area that we wrote and published - its based on our work helping parents and children with special needs.

    Order your free, no obligation guide to resources by calling us at (202) 393-3320 or send an email with your address to [email protected] and we'll send it right out to you.

  • Will it hurt my DC workers' compensation case to look for another job or take another job after my injury heals?

    Will it hurt my DC workers' compensation case to look for another job or take another job after my injury heals?

    Not at all.  The way it works is your weekly workers compensation benefits should continue until you are released by your doctor to return to your regular job or you return to another job making more money than you were when you got hurt.

    If you have a permanent injury to an arm, leg, hand, foot, etc. (sometimes called a scheduled loss or permanent partial disability based on the schedule) you can get those benefits after you reach maximum medical improvement whether you are working for the same employer or not.
    Future medical treatment and ultimately settlement will not be affected by a job change, either.


  • How do I request my claim file after I've been denied long term disability?

    Requesting your claim file after being denied long term disability.

    After you receive a denial letter from your long term disability insurance company, one of the first things you should do is request a complete copy of your claim file.

    Why you should request your claim file after your long term disability benefits were denied.

    The claim file should contain all of the information the insurance company used to deny your claim for long term disability benefits - many times the claim file will be several hundred or more pages long.  And it's a critical piece in the evaluation of your appeal - and remember, filing a well written, thorough appeal with additional medical records, reports from specialists and experts, research, medical literature, vocational information and persuasive evidence is absolutely critical.  It will be used by the insurance company to decide your appeal, and then by a federal judge if your case is filed in court.

    An appeal of the denial of long term disability benefits is not just filling out a form or writing a letter!

    Since you only have 180 days to file an appeal, you should request the claim file as soon as you can, and the insurance company can not charge you for this, it is free of charge.  Under ERISA, the insurance company has 30 days after your request to send the claim file to you.

    How should you request your long term disability claim file?

    First, carefully review and analyze the letter denying benefits that you received from the disability insurance company as to why they say you are not entitled to benefits for your injury or medical condition.  Many of these will have an address you can write to with your request, but call the person who signed the letter for the insurance company - you may be able to email or upload your request instead of mailing it.

    As long term disability lawyers in Washington, D.C., we draft a specific request for the claim information that requests 15 - 20 types of documents and materials, and we do this as soon as someone hires us to review their denial of long term benefits.  We know the clock is ticking and we want to get to work on your appeal!

    Get help with your long term disability claim in DC 

    As long term disability benefits lawyers in DC, we offer a range of services to help with your long term disability claim.  If you've been denied long term disability benefits, call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 for a free, no obligation, confidential review of your denial letter so we can analyze your specific situation.

    If you're thinking you should apply for long term disability but haven't yet, we offer consultations (now by video) to review your situation and provide a strategy to help you through the application process as well.

  • A mom with a developmentally-delayed child asks: What is respite care?

     What is respite care?

    Respite care is a break for parents and grandparents of children with special needs.  It is basically a qualified caregiver stepping in to take care of your child with special needs - whether he is in a wheelchair, has cerebral palsy, is developmentally delayed, etc. - so you can get a break to run errands, go to the movies, go out to dinner.

    Its great for both the parents and the child.  The parents get a break that helps them re-charge and better care for their child and the child gets to see someone new but experienced with helping disabled children.

    We always encourage the parents we work with to get and use respite care (if the medical system caused the child's condition, we make respite care part of the damages the family suffered).

    Interested?  Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 for our free guide to resources in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  No obligation - this is an absolutely free gift to parents and grandparents caring for a special child. 

    If this is you or someone you know, call today for your no obligation, free gift. 

  • With so many choices, how can I choose the best lawyer for a medical malpractice case in D.C.?


    We hear that a lot.  How do you know which lawyer is best for your medical malpractice case in D.C., Maryland and Virginia?

    For a serious case involving wrongful death, paralysis, cerebral palsy, cancer misdiagnosis, etc. the main qualification you want in a medical malpractice lawyer is experience.  Not how old he or she is, or how big their office is or how fancy the paintings on the wall are.  What kind of experience?

    Here are a few questions to ask a medical malpractice attorney (and there are many more):
    How many times has the lawyer prepared a medical malpractice case - investigated the case, hired the right experts to evaluate the case and testify at trial?  Then prepared the experts for their depositions (a critical step) and taken the depositions of the defendant's expert witnesses?

    How many times has the lawyer sued this hospital, HMO, insurance company before?  How did it go?   

    Has the lawyer tried medical malpractice cases to verdict?  Has he appealed or had cases appealed after trial?

    Has the lawyer settled medical malpractice cases with this hospital, HMO or insurance company?

    Is the lawyer board certified?  Did he or she go through a process including an all day test, recommendations from judges and other lawyers to do so?

    Do you trust that the lawyer can help you and your family, that he or she will listen and guide you through a difficult time?    

    The bottom line is that for any serious medical malpractice case, you need someone with very specific experience, qualifications and resources.  So ask as many questions as you can to get the right lawyer for you and your family.  




  • Questions about schools and services for your child with cerebral palsy or special needs in D.C., Maryland or Virginia?

    If you have a child with cerebral palsy, developmental delays or other significant special needs in the Washington, D.C. area, you are probably always looking for things to make your child's life better, and networking with other parents, counselors and social workers to see if there is anything out there you can be doing to help your special needs child.

    That's why we developed a resource guide for parents of children with special needs.  You see, for years we have seen the courage, patience and persistence of parents we represent in our medical malpractice cases.  Parents who are doing everything they can to make their child's life better.

    Working with parents of children with cerebral palsy, paralysis, shoulder dystocia and developmental delays was the basis for publishing Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves: A Parent's Guide to Resources It has information about respite care, education, summer camps, social security and other resources that may help your child.

    And it's FREE to every parent with a special needs kid. Bonus Mug comes with order if your child has cerebral palsy!


    So order your copy today by calling (202) 393 - 3320.

    All we ask is that if you have a favorite resource that can help families,

    call or email us at [email protected] and let us know so we can put it in the next edition.

  • When should I contact a D.C. medical malpractice attorney about a medical malpractice case?


    The best medical malpractice attorneys are both selective in the cases they choose and busy. For example, we want to help people with certain types of medical malpractice cases such as cerebral palsy, injuries to children and babies, and wrongful death cases for adults. These are people who are worried about the future of their loved ones and family – how to take care of them.  Those are the kind of people we serve.   

    So as soon as you are suspicious that a patient has been critically injured or has died due to medical malpractice by a hospital, HMO or doctor in D.C., Maryland or Virginia, you should call us and talk it through with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Starting the process of investigating and preparing a medical malpractice case earlier always helps the family - it is less stressful and time consuming and you don't have to worry about whether something was missed because you waited too long.

    And with medical malpractice cases, the longer you wait, the harder it is to get an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to even talk to you about your case. The best lawyers won't take cases when the statute of limitations is near because there may not be enough time to really help someone. That's our policy.

    Please give yourself and your family enough time to thoroughly investigate any medical malpractice issue. You can call us at (202) 393 - 3320 to set up a time to speak with you to see if we can help.


  • How do top D.C. medical malpractice lawyers decide whether to take a medical malpractice case?


    Top medical malpractice lawyers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia (and probably everywhere else) are selective in deciding whether they can take a medical malpractice case.  In our D.C. medical malpractice law firm, we decide whether to take a medical malpractice case after a thorough screening process.  And we only agree to represent clients where the medical malpractice caused significant injuries such as paralysis or cerebral palsy, or death.  The reason for that is simple.  As medical malpractice lawyers for patients and families, we feel we can help people the most in those types of medical malpractice cases, and those patients and families usually need our help the most.

    The process of investigating a medical malpractice case in D.C. starts with just a phone call.  If you'd like us to investigate a medical malpractice case for you or your family, call us today at (202) 393-3320.  We'll talk it through with you and hopefully get you some answers. 

    But don't delay - there are time limits to medical malpractice cases and if someone calls us too close to the statute of limitations (the deadline to file a medical malpractice case) we won't be able to help.   

  • Should I File for Social Security Benefits if I'm on Long Term Disability Insurance Claim?

    What's the difference between Social Security benefits and Long Term Disability Insurance benefits?

    There are several types of insurance that generally get lumped into the same lot: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Retirement Benefits. Most people only hear the term "social security" in the context of retirement and don't know that they may be eligible for other types of benefits if disabled.

    Here are a few key differences between the different types of disability benefits:

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Pays benefits to anyone who qualifies as disabled and is funded by money that is paid into the social security system through paycheck deductions. 

    Social Security Retirement (Retirement Benefits): You can qualify for social security retirement benefits starting at age 62 regardless of your status (disabled or not disabled). The amount of your social security retirement benefits depends on how much you paid in during your lifetime. Social Security Retirement generally requires at least ten years of working.

    Supplemental Security Income SSI: This is a benefit available to people who are disabled and it is a needs-based benefit, as opposed to the other types of benefits that are awarded based on what you've paid into the system (entitlement).

    Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits generally come from an employer-sponsored plan and can be awarded alongside these other types of benefits, but the long term disability carrier will require a credit taken, or reimbursement, if the two types of benefits are being awarded at the same time.

    Which we think is total B.S. - your employer paid your premiums on the long term disability insurance plan as part of your employee benefits so you should be entitled to the full benefit amount. But, unfortunately that's the law.

    My long term disability claim has been approved. Will I have to pay back my social security disability?

    Most of the time it will take longer to be approved for SSDI than it does for long term disability, unless your long term disability claim is denied after an appeal of the initial denial.  If you are awarded SSDI after you have gone on claim with long term disability insurance, the LTD carrier will take a monthly credit for the amount you are getting under SSDI and will likely require a reimbursement for benefits paid if you are awarded a lump sum under SSDI. It gets complicated and frustrating for the claimant so if you have questions, you should give us a call at 202-393-3320 and we will get you started on the right path.

    Most long term disability insurance carriers will require you to file for SSDI, which is another part of the B.S. that insurance companies get away with. You should be prepared for this if you are going on claim for LTD.

    A lot of long term disability insurance companies will have you use a social security disability lawyer they recommend. Be careful on this - some conditions that may qualify you for social security disability may be excluded or severely limited under your long term disability plan (especially certain types of mental illness).

    Like everything else, find a lawyer you trust for your social security case.

    If my long term disability claim has been denied, what are my next steps?

    If your claim is denied, send a copy of the denial letter to our Director of Client Services, Brooke Birkey, at [email protected] so we can review it for free and let you know what we think your next steps should be.

    If you don't already have a copy of your medical records, you should request them immediately and start to index them, or have a family member help you index them if you have cognitive issues or chronic pain. You want to make sure your conditions are covered properly by your medical notes, and your doctor is consistently indicating that you cannot work due to your covered  medical conditions. Your medical records will be the core of your appeal (but there is a lot more involved in this appeal), and if your case is ultimately filed in federal court, that appeal will be the administrative record the federal judge reviews to decide your case.

    Don't wait - you likely only have 180 days to appeal, and if your medical records are not in order you need to get started right away. Give us a call at 202-393-3320 if you need help with your next steps.