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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  • 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.

  • My long term disability claim from my job working in D.C. was denied. Where do I file my long term disability appeal?

    If your long term disability benefits were denied, you have the right to appeal.

    If you were working for a private employer in Washington, D.C. and applied for long term disability benefits under a long term disability insurance policy, you have the right to appeal that decision.

    If long term disability benefits were provided as an employee benefit from your company, the disability plan will be covered by a federal law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and there are certain rights and responsibilities ERISA gives claimants (claimant is the term for the person who is disabled and is making a claim for long term disability).

    Your first appeal is to the insurance company that just denied your long term disability claim.

    There are several basic rights under ERISA.  First, you should request a complete copy of the claims file - everything that the insurance company considered in it's decision to deny your claim for benefits.

    Second - you only have 180 days from the date you received the letter denying your benefits to appeal your case.  

    So request that claim file (or have an experienced DC long term disability attorney request it for you) immediately so you can begin to analyze the insurance company decision and the legal and medical basis for that decision denying your benefits.

    An appeal after a denial of long term disability benefits is a lot more than filling out a form.

    Many people make a critical mistake that can't be fixed later.

    Instead of approaching the appeal and denial of benefits like an experienced long term disability lawyer, they just fill out a simple form or write a letter indicating they don't agree with the decision - just like the denial letter says they have a right to do!

    Sometimes they will send in a few more recent medical records about their disabling condition.

    But they won't schedule additional medical testing, or a Functional Capacity Examination, or a vocational rehabilitation specialist evaluation.  They won't interview co-workers, conduct medical literature searches, perform opposition research on the physician who reviewed their medical records, review specific policy provisions with their doctor to generate highly specific, individual reports from the doctor.

    There are 2 basic reasons why someone who is disabled should not file their own appeal.

    1. There is no way to understand ERISA law and procedure unless you have been in this field - you didn't ask for this and have never been through this before - how could you know whether you are making a mistake that ends your disability benefits forever?
    2. You have a disabling medical condition or injury that you need to focus on.  You don't have the stamina, endurance or time to take on this kind of legal work.

     Take it from an experienced long term disability attorney - you only get one shot at your appeal.

    That's because if your appeal is denied by the insurance company, your next step is to file a lawsuit against them in federal court (since ERISA is a federal law).  

    So your case will be decided by a federal judge - there is no right to a jury trial under ERISA.  And the judge will consider the administrative record of your appeal - all of the information, evidence and medical records you used to support the appeal will be part of that administrative record.

    What do you think your chances of winning are if all you did was fill out a form or send in some medical records?

    Call our experienced long term disability lawyers today at (202) 393 - 3320 to discuss your long term disability claim in DC.  We offer a number of cost effective ways to help you get the disability benefits you and your family deserve.

                

     

  • Do you offer video appointments for car accident cases?

    Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in DC Can Help You with Video Meetings

    An accident that wasn't your fault in DC or on the Beltway in Maryland or Virginia can have serious consequences.  A lot of the accidents we see cause serious injuries requiring surgery, hospitalization and extensive rehab. And our philosophy is simple - we want you to focus on getting better, getting the medical treatment and therapy you need.  We eliminate the stress of dealing with the insurance company on your case - so you don't have to worry about getting taken advantage of or making a mistake that hurts your case.

    Our DC Accident Attorneys Deal with Insurance Companies So You Don't Have To

    Our accident lawyers have a process we've developed over 25 years to make sure you are taken care of - just check out some of our reviews. Whether you were just visiting when the accident happened or you live nearby, our lawyers can help you without you ever needing to come to our office.  We are fully equipped to meet with you by video conference, sign all the paperwork digitally and get started helping you with your car accident case today.

    We've already helped several clients who were injured and hospitalized during the coronavirus, so couldn't have visitors at the hospital, and it was too risky to meet with them personally in their homes - since they were in a potentially compromised condition after being in the hospital.

    One of the Keys to a Successful Accident Case is Getting Started Right Away.

    With any serious injury case in DC, there is a lot to do right away.  You need to determine and coordinate all of the insurance coverage - health insurance, the other driver's insurance, your car accident coverage, any other insurance policies or benefits that may apply, like long term disability or workers comp (if the accident happened when you were working or in a work vehicle), investigate the scene of the accident, assess all of the damage to the cars, interview witnesses and first responders, and coordinate all of the medical care you need.

    So don't wait - if you've been hurt in an accident, call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 for a video appointment so we can help take away the stress of dealing with the insurance company while you focus on getting better.

  • Can I work if I'm getting long term disability benefits?

    Work and Long Term Disability Benefits

    We fight insurance companies on behalf of people every day.  If you were denied long term disability benefits for your injury or medical condition, you know how difficult that process is.  Many long term disability insurance companies deny tons of people because they know that some people won't appeal at all.

    It's an unfair strategy, but it works.

    So once you are back getting benefits, is it OK to work?

    Probably not.  Here's why:

    Insurance companies will use any activity related to work, including volunteer work (for people who work with us, we have an entire interview and assessment process that analyzes and explains this for your specific situation) as a basis to deny or terminate your long term disability benefits - many times before you are fully recovered or ready to return to work full time.

    What if you're receiving long term disability benefits and want to return to work?

    First, you'll need to thoroughly review your long term disability insurance policy.

    Most long term disability policies have 2 terms and conditions you should be familiar with: "own occupation" and "any occupation."  During the "own occupation" time period, you qualify for benefits if you cannot perform the primary duties of your own job.  But after a period of time (your specific policy will indicate this) you qualify for benefits only if you can't work in "any occupation."

    There are a few other terms and conditions in your long term disability policy to identify and analyze:

    • How Total Disability and Partial Disability are defined
    • Offsets for "other income" which allow the insurance company to reduce your benefits
    • Vocational rehabilitation programs and incentives to work

    Working with your doctor is critical to your long term disability claim.

    You need to constantly educate your doctors on this process - they are busy and don't have the time or expertise to analyze the specific terms, definitions, conditions and law that apply to your long term disability benefits.

    If you think you can return to some type of work, discuss it with your doctor and have him examine you first.

    • Have your doctor thoroughly document any physical restrictions or limitations
    • If your doctor agrees you can try to return to work, have the doctor write a detailed report that documents the exam findings, restrictions and limitations you have and indicate that you are approved to attempt to try to return to work for a trial period.  If the trial period works, that is great, otherwise you can use it as evidence that you cannot work. 

    Be honest with the long term disability insurance company.

    It's important to provide the insurance company with the medical records that document you can return to work for a trial period and disclose any income you receive.

    And be upfront with your employer about your physical limitations and restrictions as well.

    We hope these tips help with a healthy, long term transition back to work - one that puts you in control.

    Questions about your long term disability plan?

    Before taking action, call to schedule a flat fee strategy session with us.  We'll review and analyze your policy and medical records and explain how the different terms, conditions and clauses impact your eligibility for benefits, and help you with a game plan so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.

    Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to get started.

  • I was denied long term disability benefits from my job in DC. How do I write an appeal?

    Appealing Your Long Term Disability Denial is a Complicated Process

    There are several steps you need to take after you receive a denial letter from your long term disability benefits insurance company, and you need to act quickly.  Under ERISA (the federal law that governs most long term disability insurance policies) you only have 180 days to file your appeal.

    Here are some of the initial steps to get ready to write your appeal. Remember - appealing your long term disability denial (to the same insurance company that denied or terminated your benefits) is a lot more involved than filling out a form or writing a letter.  A lot of work and analysis will need to be accomplished before you draft the actual appeal.

    After analyzing the claim file you've requested from the insurance company (we typically request 18 - 20 categories of documents and information, and claims files can be many hundreds or thousands of pages depending on the nature of your medical condition, the length of time on benefits and other factors), under most long term disability insurance policies, you need to gather and generate evidence that proves the insurance company denial was unreasonable. That can mean working with medical and vocational specialists, getting additional diagnostic testing for support, undergoing a Functional Capacity Evaluation, getting statements from co-workers addressing your job duties, educating your physicians on the specific terms and definitions of your policy and integrating all of that new information into your appeal.

    And you need to draft the appeal as if a federal judge were reading it, because under ERISA, if your appeal is denied, you must file your case in federal court, and the only information the judge will use to decide your claim is the administrative record - most of which is your appeal.

    That's a lot of pressure on anyone, much less someone with a serious medical condition - and you only get one shot at the appeal. 

    A Long Term Disability Attorney in DC Can Help

    In our DC disability practice, we have an entire process for helping people appeal their long term disability denials.  We want you to focus on getting better - your medical treatment and rehab.  

    We request your complete claims file to get started, analyze your claim, make recommendations, and communicate with you to keep you updated every step of the way. You didn't ask to get sick.  Let us help protect you from losing everything you've worked hard for.

    Call our DC Long Term Disability Attorney Today at (202) 393 - 3320 to Get Started

    Don't wait - if you received a letter denying or terminating your benefits, you want to get started right away - we'll evaluate the insurance company's denial without charge and give you our recommendations on what to do next.

  • 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.

    202-393-3320

  • 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.   

  • How Can I Get My Difficult Insurance Adjuster To Cooperate?

    Workers Compensation Companies Employ Adjusters, Nurse Case Managers, Attorneys, Vocational Specialists and More to Fight Your Claim

    If you're on workers compensation, you have probably already figured out it's not a fair fight. Your workers comp adjuster has handled hundreds, if not thousands, of workers compensation claims in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  Their job is to limit the amount the insurance company pays for medical treatment, testing, medications, therapy, benefits, etc. You name it, she will try to reduce it. 

    Remember, the adjuster works for the insurance company - not you and your family. In fact, your employer may have very little say in the matter of how you're treated, and often can't help you (other times they're upset because you got hurt on their job and may not even care).

    Plus, these insurance adjusters handle hundreds of cases at a time and they really don't have time for you.  They don't want to be bothered and you may notice that days and weeks have gone by while you are waiting to hear back from them on important issues like your paycheck and medical treatment authorizations. You might even be waiting to hear back on authorization for surgery - and your condition is getting worse while you wait for them.

    You Need an Advocate on Your Side to Balance the Scales

    Unless you have the experience and knowledge to deal with them, plus the time to devote to calling, writing, and faxing everything to get things done, it's never going to be fair.

    With a minor injury that may not matter, but if you need significant medical treatment and will be out of work for an extended period of time because of your injury, you don't want to rely on the adjuster to do right by you. You will definitely need an attorney to advocate for your and your family.

    Contact our Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyers Today

    Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to discuss your options and we'll send you one of our free books, guides and reports that will give you the information you need now to take care of yourself and your family.