D.C. Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, accidents and work injuries questions answered by D.C. injury attorneys.

Here are some of the questions people have when they first contact us about D.C., Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, serious car accidents 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 and based on representing many hundreds of people who have been injured in accidents or at work in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. 

Here are the basics:

Patients permanently injured by medical malpractice, or the families of patients killed because of medical negligence, when a hospital, HMO or healthcare corporation doesn't follow basic patient safety rules deserve justice - resources to help with the harms and losses due to the  injuries or death of their loved one. 
Drivers who don't follow the rules of the road, driving recklessly, driving drunk, speeding, and texting should be accountable for the harm they cause when their actions cause a car accident or wreck.

Workers hurt on the job deserve workers compensation benefits for lost wages, medical treatment and permanent injuries.  If a worker is killed on the job, his family deserves workers compensation death benefits - to at least help with the financial loss of a loved one.
But 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.

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  • Are Your Lawyers Aggressive?


    The other day I got a question from a potential client: "Are you guys aggressive?"

    I had to chuckle to myself because being aggressive is one of the hallmarks of our representation. How can I explain it?

    It shows itself differently in different practice areas, but yes, we are very aggressive. And we only take cases that we really believe in - which means that if you're our client, you've got our full support and resources.

    In workers' compensation, if you're not getting paid or getting the appropriate medical treatment, we will file for a formal hearing and go to court over it. No problem. Any day of the week.

    In medical malpractice we will build the strongest case possible and go for the fullest recovery we can get under the law. 

    In personal injury and negligence, same.

    Just ask our clients.

    If you've been seriously injured at work in Washington, DC, experienced medical malpractice at a hospital in Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virginia, or been serious injured in an auto accident or due to someone else's negligence in another way in DC, MD, and/or VA give us a call today. It's your life, and you should be represented by experts and veterans in their fields.

  • How Do Medical Malpractice Lawyers Get Paid?

     Medical Malpractice Lawyers in DC, Maryland and Virginia

    We hear this question a lot - most people want to know right up front if you're going to be charging them by the hour. In fact they expect it, so sometimes we find that people are wary to accept consultations because they think somehow we are going to charge them for it.

    A lot of lawyers do - but the reality is that we are not like most lawyers. We would never, ever charge you without telling you about it first. 

    And here's the thing: we don't normally charge an hourly rate for medical malpractice cases. In fact, we don't charge a fee in any serious injury case unless we win or settle your case. Which means that we don't get paid unless you get paid. There is no risk to you, no upfront payment, no retainer. That's simply how it works. It's called a contingency fee.

    How are we able to do this?  Not be paid until the end of your case, and only if we win?

    There are a lot of factors and reasons why - but it comes down to our experience, our confidence, our expertise with the medicine and most of all, our commitment and desire to help people who have been severely injured. 

    The first stage is: reviewing medical records. We will review your records first to see if you have a case - and remember, that is different than the evaluation of a person. Most of the time we will ask you to send them to us for review via email, US mail, or fax. Or we might ask you to come in and bring them.  Or if you don't have them, we arrange to get them for you.

    The second stage is: full-on investigation. We will have you sign a medical release and we will unleash our own resources in order to investigate your case. That will probably include medical research, consultations with appropriate experts in the field, reviewing medical literature and studies, and working with you to determine what happened and why. 

    We have a system of evaluating everything for you so that you can get answers, information and make the best decisions for you and your family.  Part of that analysis is the strengths and weaknesses of a case - and we are very selective with the medical malpractice cases that we take because we want to do everything we can to put you in the best position to get a meaningful recovery.  We don't want to put anyone through litigation unless it will make a difference in their lives.

    The third stage is: filing the case with the appropriate courts. Once we are sure that the medical records support the case and we have experts lined up to testify, we will file the case.

    From there it is a long haul of discovery, depositions, and other types of litigation documents and processes. We will be leading you every step of the way and prepare you for every meeting. The case will take years to progress but don't worry - we have an excellent track record.

    And we will keep pushing forward, supporting you every step of the way. And when the case eventually settles or we win the case in court, you will be happy that you put in the long hours and kept with it, even in the face of the uncertainty and the risk.

    So, no matter what kind of case you have don't worry about it. We will help you figure out if you have a case and if we end up taking your case, we will fight aggressively to win your case. That's just the kind of lawyers we are.

    If you have been seriously injured in Washington, DC, Maryland at a hospital due to malpractice, due to medical treatment or a misdiagnosis, please call us today at 202-393-3320. You'll speak to a real person today who wants to hear your story.

  • What is the max workers comp benefit rate in DC?


    DC Workers Comp Benefits 


    Pursuant to the District of Columbia Workers' Compensation Act of 1979, D.C. Official Code,§ 32-1505, effective January 1, 2019, the maximum weekly compensation payment for the District of Columbia private sector workers' compensation claims is $1,521.74 The minimum weekly compensation payment is $380.44.


    That is a 2% increase from last year.



    Looking for more info on Maximum Compensation Rates for DC Workers' Compensation over they years?



    Are you wondering what type of compensation rates you might be entitled to for your work injury? Have you heard terms floating around like permanent partial disability PPD or permanent total disability PTD? 


    Don't wonder any more. Call us! We always make sure that our clients are getting paid the highest possible rate (if you have more than one job, check out this article on wage stacking).


    Don't wait until you've already screwed up your case. It is possible to get too far down the line and the insurance adjuster will pull out their bag of tricks if you are unsuspecting.



    Call us at 202-393-3320 today.

  • What is Cerebral Palsy?

    Cerebral Palsy 

    It seems like sometimes the only people who really know about a thing, are the people who have experienced it. Cerebral palsy is kind of like that. It's common enough to have a fantastic, large support network in DC, Maryland and Virginia but there's not a whole lot known about it typically to those who are on the outside. 

    Because cerebral palsy is sometimes not diagnosed until the child is old enough to notice a delay in motor skills and other types of development, medical malpractice can go unnoticed. The parents are overwhelmed with the news, the adjustments they have to make, the special-needs resources they have to research and other practicalities that come with the diagnosis.

    Who has time to go back to the hospital, analyze medical records, test results and studies, and determine the cause of their child's cerebral palsy (because the hospital will never tell you they caused it)?

    I recently saw a question posted on a cerebral palsy support page on Facebook, asking a poll as to how many parents have long-term plans for their kids. I was amazed (but not surprised) at the number of parents who did not have a long-term plan for their kiddos. A day in the life of a child with CP is lived in daily increments. But a long-term plan is crucial because, let's face it, the parents aren't going to be able to care for the child forever. And most CP kiddos outlive their parents.

    At Donahoe Kearney we try to make it easier on the parents. We bring all of the information to them in what we call a Special Needs Packet - which includes articles on the cause of cerebral palsy (which is lack of oxygen to the brain, or the medical term is asphyxia), often the result of residents and interns at a DC hospital who do not recognize the signs of fetal distress and need to deliver the baby before it's too late, a checklist on how to spot developmental delays, a how-to guide on how to investigate your child's medical history and your (the mother's) medical history (because asphyxia is almost always caused by an undiagnosed problem or delay in delivery). And finally we top it all off with the Special Needs Resource Guide - our signature book detailing resources available to children with special needs and their families.

    If we have helped out a family, that's good enough for us. But if that family has been affected by medical malpractice and we can help them get a settlement to cover the lifetime costs associated with cerebral palsy, to give them some freedom and take away some of the stress and worry they are feeling over what will happen to their child when they can no longer take care of him or her - even better.

    Click on the video below to learn more about our philosophy from our Client Services Director, Brooke Birkey.

    CALL US TODAY AT 202-393-3320 for a free informational interview and free resources for you and your child. 

  • Why does my health insurance say they have a lien against my "recovery" in my accident case settlement?

    Dear Donahoe Kearney:

    Okay, I'll be honest. I'm not one of those people who reads all the fine print. When I was in a serious accident last year I went to the hospital, and from there I had to follow up with a surgeon to repair my torn rotator cuff - it actually ended up being two surgeries. The guy literally plowed into me on the highway in Washington, DC going 55 miles per hour and my shoulder just went nuts.

    I spoke to the insurance company of the guy that crushed my car, and they said they would cover my hospital bills when I was done healing. I said "great," and went along my way. A friend told me I should probably speak to an attorney especially since I was going to be out of work for a long time, but I don't really like lawyers and I'm not the suing kind. I figured I could take care of it on my own.

    That was almost a year ago and I'm almost done with physical therapy. I had to be out of work for six months (I am a police officer) which means I had to borrow against my pension to keep current on my bills. But I got a letter in the mail this week from my insurance company (my health insurance -- not my auto insurance) stating that they have a 'lien' in the amount of $100,000.00 against my "recovery."

    What are they talking about? And the letter says something about subrogation. What is that?

    And what recovery? The insurance company has not given me one red cent as of yet.

    So, I went back to that friend to see if he had any advice to give me and he said "call a lawyer -- like today." 

    Can you help me?

    From, Concerned Police Officer 


    Dear Concerned Police Officer:

    We can help! Don't worry, your situation is not abnormal. A lot of people don't know that they are entitled to lost wages after a serious auto accident, and they don't know that their health insurance can assert a lien (which is basically a legal right to recover what they spent on you in medical treatment from a lawsuit -- it sucks, but it's true). The lien is the dollar amount they spent on your medical treatment, and the practice of asserting that dollar amount is called subrogation.

    The only way to deal with  subrogation (basically they would take $100,000.00 out of what the insurance company pays you) is to 1) keep very careful track of your bills and medical records, making sure everything they assert was related to the accident, 2) negotiate a settlement that will cover your bills, your medical treatment going forward, and your lost wages.

    If it's a small case we often encourage people to handle these things on their own (and we have a DIY worksheet we can send you to help you along). But it sounds like you have a big case, and you will probably need assistance negotiating with the insurance company. See, it's the job of the insurance adjusters to pay you as little as possible, and if you don't know your rights and you don't have practice negotiating or understanding the insurance company you will want a practiced attorney to advocate on your behalf (and get you back those dollars you lost borrowing against your pension). And the insurance company will only pay out once (at the end of your claim) so you want to be sure you didn't miss anything that should be covered in your settlement.

    Also - if you live or work in Virginia, your health insurance may not be able to assert a lien (depends on a couple of factors, so call us for a specific analysis of that).

    Don't take my word for it - check out what other people have said about working with Donahoe Kearney and if you are comfortable after that, give us a call at 202-393-3320. We would be happy to review your case for no cost or obligation - we don't get paid unless you get paid.

    Thanks so much for contacting us.

    Best Regards,

    Donahoe Kearney

  • What is brachial plexus? What is Erb's Palsy?


    Brachial Plexus is a nerve injury that can occur during birth, if there is distress and the head is stretched too far away from the neck. This can result in nerve damage, and can be bad enough to cause a permanent disability in the arm. The problem is, perhaps you didn't know for awhile that the baby even had brachial plexus, and the doctor's never connected it to a birth injury.

    Why would they? It's their neck on the line, so to speak.

    The brachial plexus nerves are located underneath the clavicle and are a network of nerves that control sensing and motion communications between the brain and the arm. The network of nerves is connected to your spinal chord. Your child may have brachial plexus if he or she is unable to move one of their arms, or seems to have a lack of sensitivity to that area. Brachial plexus is also called "Erb's Palsy" when the upper area is affected.

    The disability brought about during a brachial plexus injury varies from case to case, but in case of an avulsion (when the nerve is torn away from the spinal chord) or a rupture (a tear in the nerves) the injury is far more serious and may require years of physical and occupational therapy to help the injury itself and help the child to learn to compensate for the injury.

    Not all difficult deliveries can be prevented, but in the case of an unnecessarily prolonged birth, or a poorly-handled breech presentation, or other types of traumatic births, your physician or hospital/provider may be held responsible for your child's birth injuries and special needs. Your child may require ongoing medical treatment and physical/occupational therapy, psychological services, and eventually may need to account for lost wages if the injuries prevent them from working and the cost of care after they are grown. 

    Children with serious Erb's Palsy can learn to be independent, but they need special resources to get to that point.

    Does your child have signs of Erb's Palsy, or did you have a difficult delivery and now your child is showing developmental delays? Don't hesitate to call us today at 202-393-3320. You only have so much time to file a lawsuit, and cases get harder to prove the more years that go by-- medical records get destroyed, details get forgotten and before you know it you've cost your child their financial recovery that can help them to live a normal life.

    Don't delay. Call us today - there is absolutely no cost to have your case evaluated, and we will be very upfront with you on whether or not you have a case. We promise not to string you along, or bill you by the hour. If you don't make a recovery, we don't make a recovery. That's why we only take the cases we think we can win and make a substantial recovery for you and your family.

    Want more information on children and medical malpractice claims? We have a book for that! Two, in fact. "Picking up the Pieces" will give you the A-Z on children's medical malpractice claims, and the "Special Needs Resource Guide" gives lots of practical tips and resources for children with special needs. Order your free copies today by clicking on the links, or the titles below.

    Want to hear a great story about one of "our kids" we helped after a significant childhood injury? Click here to read about Calvin.


  • Should I consider suing the hospital for my child's cerebral palsy?

    Suing a hospital for your child's cerebral palsy - how to get started.

    Deciding whether or not to have your child's case investigated is an important decision. Truly, I can’t imagine what your situation is like at this point. But I do know I’m glad you have connected with us.

    It's our personal promise to anyone that has a child with a serious birth injury or a mother who has been through birth trauma and their child has developmental delays or cerebral palsy as a result -- we won't share your information. We won't try to convince you that you have a case if you don't really have one. And we will never insinuate that you child  is anything but perfect. We know they are perfect - just the way they are.

    We also know that the lifetime costs of caring for a child with cerebral palsy can cost   tens of  millions of dollars.

    If you fill out the contact form on this page and/or order one of our free books, guides, or reports we will stay in touch with you to see how you are doing - whether or not you have your case investigated.

    I’ll tell you why we do that: when we see someone in this situation we can genuinely help, we want to make sure that person feels cared for before they ever become a client, whether or not they eventually become a client. That’s why we check in regularly and send you additional information. Of course, whenever you’re ready to chat, I would love to schedule an appointment for the two of us. Until then, we’ll remain in touch just to make sure you’re at least getting answers to the complex questions facing you right now.

    You can also reach me at 202-393-3320 -- You can ask for me, Brooke Birkey directly and I will take your call, no matter when you call.

    We have make a really big impact on the lives of children who have bee affected by medical malpractice.

    Check out Calvin's story here. 

  • Is your insurance adjuster running away with hundreds of your dollars?

    Is your DC workers' compensation insurance adjuster running away with hundreds of your dollars?

    Know someone with a serious work injury who doesn’t know what to do next?

    Have them check out a replay of our Webinar to learn the 5 Killer Mistakes of Workers Comp and how to avoid them. It’s got great information on what to do after you get hurt at work – and they can watch from the comfort of their own home – hopefully before they talk to the insurance company.

    Here’s the site for the replay …..https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmXSLUBAaLIRlcXzSKPUytg

    Or just have them call us and we’ll send them a link!  Thanks for watching.

  • What the hell do I do now that some bad driver hit me on the Beltway?

    Accident Cases in DC, Maryland and VA

    It happens all the time in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Most weeks there is at least one day where there is a significant accident on the Beltway, backing up traffic for miles. Drivers learn to drive extremely defensively, and the chances are pretty high that you might get into an accident through no fault of your own.

    You're already highly frustrated that some guy plowed into the rear of your vehicle going 60 mph in a 35. You don't want to deal with the police officers, emergency vehicles, and the worst -- insurance adjusters.

    But don't cut corners just because you are frustrated.

    You may "hurry" yourself out of thousands of dollars.

    Let's get down to basics. The very first thing you need to do is make sure that you get proper medical treatment. If you're hurt, you should go to the emergency room. Injuries, especially post-traumatic ones, can show up days, weeks, or even months after the impact. And if it's on the later side, you will have a really hard time connecting the injury to the accident, and the insurance company will likely deny your claim for injuries.

    Most people believe that the insurance adjuster's denial letter is the end of their chances for a claim.

    It's not true! Call us at 202-393-3320 to learn more.

    The Second Thing you need to do is get a copy of the police report (oh yeah - always call the police) and also a copy of the other driver's insurance policy. If you have been seriously injured, the legal limit for driver's insurance ($25,000.00) may not cover your injuries, lost wages, and other incidentals. You may need to make a claim against your own insurance (using your UIM coverage) and that adjuster might give you trouble as well.

    Here's what we do for victims of major accidents.

    Read on to discover the truth about whether or not you need a lawyer.

    We serve as the point of contact with your insurance company

    so you don't have to mess with it at all.

    We will persistently follow up on any claims on the other driver's insurance, and your insurance

    We will negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf to make sure they give you every dime you've paid for through your premiums, and every dime you're entitled to under the other driver's insurance.

    We will stay on top of your medical billing and medical records and keep them in nice, neat binders so that when your adjuster is contentious, we can squash the potential denials before they even happen.

    We will explain complicated terms of insurance mumbo jumbo to you.

    If you have a serious, permanent injury from the accident and there is enough insurance coverage to help you and make a meaningful difference in your life, we'll file a lawsuit and go to court for you - no matter how long it takes.

    Sound good to you? Give us a call at 202-393-3320 today to request more free information, and speak with a real person who will listen and help you process your information.  

  • My son has cerebral palsy. What Do I Do Now?

    Cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice 

    Most people don't know where to start when it comes to investigating a medical malpractice claim. Liability may seem clear or obvious, but you don't know the statutes or the process, or what your case may be worth.

    If you have a child with Cerebral Palsy, you have a lot to think about.

    THE FIRST THING that we always do with a potential medical malpractice claim is RESEARCH.

    We have a specific system we've developed that we customize for every family.

    This is in addition to ordering a full copy of the medical records associated with your child's (or niece/nephew/cousin) birth because the primary cause of Cerebral Palsy is asphyxia (which means, the child's brain went too long without getting proper oxygen). This may be due to a delayed Cesarean birth, to acceleration or deceleration of the baby's heartbeat (fetal distress), preeclampsia (maternal distress) and other types of medical mistakes that happen as a result of violating Patient Safety Rules.

    Once violations of the patient safety rules, or the standards of care a patient should get, are established by the medical experts we work with to analyze your case, we wait for the appropriate time to file the lawsuit, with the statute of limitations in mind.  This depends on your child's specific injury and whether that requires waiting so we can accurately assess whether the child is hitting developmental milestones and benchmarks. Most of the time, we will have your child examined by an independent physician to help determine the extent of his harms.  A lot of what needs to be done will depend on how developmentally delayed the child might be and how much care he or she will require over the course of their lifetime. 

    We are different than a lot of other firms because we wait to see the whole picture before we file the lawsuit.

    And we will be with you, the parents, aunts, uncles, and other family members throughout the whole process. 

    Is there a child in your life who has Cerebral Palsy or other types of developmental delays, and you are wondering what the next steps might be? The good news is, if we take your case, you don't have to worry about the next steps because we are taking care of it. And you don't have to worry about whether or not you can afford us, because we don't take a fee unless we make a recovery for you.

    Call us today at 202-393-3320 to get started with a no-risk, no obligation free consultation.