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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  • When Does Cerebral Palsy Start to Show?

    Signs of Cerebral Palsy to Watch For

    Cerebral Palsy is a condition resulting from lack of oxygen to the brain during birth, called asphyxia. Although you may have awareness of having a traumatic birth, you may not even know that your child has Cerebral Palsy until he or she is one or two or three years, and even five years old. Sometimes even later.

    If there was a traumatic birth the doctors should (but most of the time don't) make you aware of the risk of Cerebral Palsy. The reason for this is because many times, traumatic birth is a result of malpractice - many times you and the baby showed signs of distress, both maternal (mom) and fetal (baby) and the doctors at the hospital didn't take action to deliver the baby until it was too late and the damage was done.  And a lot of times, we see interns and residents taking care of labor and delivery patients in DC hospitals - sometimes they don't know when to call the attending physician or a specialist to evaluate you and the baby.

    Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy usually comes after you and  your child's doctor (pediatrician) begin to notice that your child is not reaching his or her developmental benchmarks or milestones.  In some cases, it is diagnosed in the NICU when the baby is very young. 

    Some of the noticeable benchmarks include:

    Rolling over;


    Crawling; and


    Other impairments include loss of muscle tone, gross and fine motor functions, balance, control, coordination, reflexes, and posture.

    Today I read on a Facebook post that a family didn't know their child had Cerebral Palsy until he was 10 years old. We've had a case where the mom knew her son had cerebral palsy but the hospital never told her the cause, even though he got all of his medical care there.  

    The time limits vary in DC, Maryland and Virginia for bringing a case for a child who was injured or has cerebral palsy, but the time limits are longer for children than adults, so don't think that you have run out of time - call us and we can tell you how much time you have left on the statute of limitations. 

    At Donahoe Kearney we specialize in Cerebral Palsy cases, so we know exactly what to look for in medical records, exactly which developmental delays to watch for, and how to manage opposing doctors, lawyers, and others who are protecting the interests of the hospital and its insurance company. Give us a call today for a free investigation and to learn more about our process.


  • I'm on short-term disability: should I switch to workers' comp?


    Sometimes the world of employment law and the world of workers' compensation law get confused, and it doesn't help that employers (meaning, your human resources department) like to tell you that rather than filing a workers' compensation claim you should use your 1) sick leave; 2) FMLA leave; 3) PTO; 4): short-term disability and/or a combination of all of the above.

    Why? Well, I'm so glad you asked.

    Why do you think your employer might be hesitant to open a workers' comp claim? Because workers' comp is the only insurance and/or system out of those four options that is paid for 100% by the employer (through their workers compensation insurance). No co-insurances, monthly check deductions, or "time banks." Workers' compensation insurance is required by law for anyone with three or more employees and employees don't pay into it.

    This is what makes it different than say, short-term disability (which the employee usually pays into themselves through paycheck deductions). Or sick leave, or FMLA leave, or PTO (which all end at some point when you've used up your bank or expired your federal time limit). 

    And many of those have exclusions for injuries that happen at work.  

    We hear all the time from clients "My employer said that I had to use my sick leave" or "I've been out on FMLA." If you were injured while working, this should absolutely not be the case. But because most workers don't know their rights they follow the instructions their company gives them. After all, they will take care of you, right?

    Nope. Probably not.

    We have also heard stories about how the worker was convinced the employer would take care of him, they have been working for them for 25 years, etc, etc. And your boss, your supervisor, even the owner of your company may want to do just that.

    We hate to be the bearers of bad news but once you are injured at work, your employer is essentially turning you over to the insurance company and their  entire team of nurses, doctors, attorneys, and claim administrators all trained to limit your benefits.

    So, if you are on one of those other types of insurances, can you switch to workers' comp? 

    It all depends. If you have been on FMLA or Disability for a long time, you may have issues with bringing a workers' compensation case. One of the critical parts of a workers' comp claim in Washington, DC is that you have to have your treating physician connect the injury to your work, and another critical part is that you have to give timely notice to your employer of a work injury.

    Do you want more information on how this works?

    Call us today at 202-393-3320 and you will speak with a real person who wants to hear your story. Do that, and order a copy of our free book on workers' compensation that will give you the A-Z on workers' compensation in Washington, DC so you can learn about the process before you make case-ending mistakes.


  • 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.