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.
- Page 31
What is the purpose of workman's compensation?
Workman's compensation laws, now usually called workers compensation laws, were originally designed as a social program to help injured workers and the families of employees killed on the job at a time when many workers were hurt or killed due to unsafe worksites and unsafe working conditions. The initial struggle for workers rights and workers compensation benefits started in the US at the beginning of the 20th century as the United States became a progressively industrialized society. As any construction worker, health care aide, mechanic or driver knows, it continues today.
Workers compensation laws and benefits vary from state to state - some states workman's compensation laws are more favorable to injured workers, other states' laws favor employers and insurance companies. When covered by workman's compensation, an injured employee cannot sue his employer in court for damages including pain and suffering. The injured worker is limited, by law, to recovering workers compensation benefits form his employer and its insurance company. In DC, Maryland and Virginia, benefits for workers who cannot work are 2/3 of their average earnings - up to a maximum benefit rate that is different in all three jurisdictions.
Although he cannot sue his employer, the worker hurt on the job does not have to prove his employer was negligent in causing an accident; as long as the injury arises out of and in the course of the worker's employment, it will be covered under workers compensation. An employee injured by someone else - a third party or another company, can sue the third party or company for damages and also obtain workers compensation benefits. Typically a portion of any recovery against the third party will be used to pay back the employer or insurance company that provided the workers compensation benefits.
I was involved in an automobile accident. Who is to blame?
Since every state has a fairly extensive code of driving regulations, the simple answer to this question is that the person who is at blame is the one who disregarded one or more of these laws. The responsibility of the accident is usually determined at the scene by the responding law enforcement officer. If you were not found to be at blame, and you sustained injuries in the accident, you may have the right to file for a personal injury claim.
Are automobile accident claims quick or easy to deal with?
Unfortunately, they usually aren’t. Insurance companies will fight claims all the way through court to make sure they don’t have to pay out money. They will use political clout, money, and very adept lawyers to force the claimant to settle for a low reward. While accident claims can be lengthy, you can greatly ease your burdens by consulting with an attorney that is both knowledgeable and committed to your situation.
What is med pay coverage?
Med pay - short for medical payments - is insurance you purchase that will pay for medical expenses and lost income (depending on your policy and state) if you are hurt in a car accident. Med pay is designed to pay as you go - as the medical bills come due and as medical treatment occurs - rather than at the end of a case. You can check the "Declarations" page of your automobile insurance policy (the page that summarizes the insurance coverage you have, the vehicles insured, and the policy limits and the premiums) to see if you have this coverage and check with your automobile insurance company or insurance agent if you want to add coverage. The attorneys at Donahoe Kearney, LLP will review your insurance policy with you and explain coverages and insurance law free of charge.
My automobile insurance includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. What is this and how does it help if I'm hurt in a car accident?
In D.C. and Maryland, many automobile insurance policies contain PIP coverage. If you are hurt in a car or truck accident, your automobile insurance company will cover reasonable and necessary medical treatment and lost wages up to the PIP policy limit. In Maryland this is usually $2,500 but additional insurance coverage can be purchased. In the District of Columbia, this may also be called No-Fault insurance. In some situations, accepting D.C. no-fault may preclude an injured person from pursuing a negligence case against the responsible driver. Before accepting benefits, discuss your injury and accident with an experienced attorney who can also analyze your automobile insurance policy.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed because a hospital, doctor or healthcare coproration, HMO or nurse chose not to file patient safety rules and not to comply with the standard of care - or the way reasonable doctors practice medicine.
It can happen to anyone - even the most informed and educated patients. And medical malpractice can occur at the best hospitals. Sometimes it happens because healthcare providers do not communicate, with each other or their patients, or when they are in a rush or don't recognize signs and symtoms of a deteriorating condition or emergency.
How do I know if I have been the victim of medical malpractice?
You may be suspicious based on how the doctors, nurses or hospital administrators are acting, or another doctor may have told you something went wrong, but the truth is, many people don't know - the hospital, HMO or doctor's group is not up front with them about what happened.
And it is difficult to say whether you have a medical malpractice case without having your situation investigated - whether it involves a birth injury to a baby, hospital malpractice, HMO negligence or wrongful death. And if you believe you have suffered due to the negligence of your physician, surgeon, or any other healthcare professional, you should take steps to have the matter investigated as soon as possible. The only way to get answers for you and your family is to get as much information as you can - and to get more information about your case or talk specifically about your situation, just call us at (202) 393-3320.
What is the standard of care in a medical malpractice case?
The standard of care is simply the medical care a reasonable, prudent physician, in the same or similar circumstances, would give. It is sometimes called the standard of practice and is the practice of most physicians in a given specialty at a certain time. Proving the standard of care is an essential element of a medical malpractice case. An expert witness, usually a physician in the same medical specialty as the doctor being sued, is usually required to establish the standard of care in a medical malpractice case. In D.C. medical malpractice cases and in Maryland medical malpractice cases, the standard of care is a national standard. This means an accepted medical practice throughout the country - the medical care is no different in the District of Columbia, or Chicago or Kentucky, for example. In Virginia medical malpractice cases, a statewide standard of care applies (although it can be the same as the national standard of care as well). A standard of care based on local practice is also permissable in Virginia medical malpractice cases.