Answers to Medical Malpractice, Workers Comp, Long Term Disability Insurance, and Car Accident Questions

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Contact us directly 202-393-3320

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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  • Why Does Donahoe Kearney Have a Communications Policy?

    Q. Why do some businesses have a communications policy? 


    A. That is a great question. For us, our communications policy is really like a secret weapon, one we only use for good, of course ... but we do use it against insurance companies.


    Our communications policy allows us to do really important, high-level work for you. You see, many law firms are chaotic, and their lawyers go from one crisis to another based on a random order of phone calls and emails. They can’t do the real, important work on cases to help people, and they don’t get good results. We are different.


    So, that’s why we are very strict with this policy. We want to update you and inform you on your case — that’s why we schedule calls ahead of time and only read and respond to emails during scheduled times. And when we are working on your case, there are no other interruptions.


    We want to talk to you and take care of you and your family. That’s our responsibility, and we love it.


  • I'm getting workers comp benefits. When do I need to get a workers comp lawyer?

    If you have a serious injury working in DC and needed surgery or don't think you'll be able to go back to your regular job because of your work injury, the best time to get the right workers comp lawyer for you and your family is...right now!

    You see, this is all about protecting your future - your financial, physical and emotional health (I feel so strongly about protecting people that the title of my book on DC workers comp is Protect Your Rights).  This is critical even if the insurance company is paying your benefits and authorizing your medical treatment.

    Here's why:

    The insurance company is in business to make money for their stockholders - not to help you and your family.  Workers comp insurance adjusters in DC are specifically trained to limit the amount of money the insurance company has to pay to you directly or for your medical treatment.  They have a team of insurance lawyers, investigators, doctors, nurses, case managers, vocational specialists - you name it.  And the average insurance adjuster has handled thousands of workers comp claims over her career.  That's a lot of experience, knowledge and resources going against you.

    How many have you handled?

    So yes, you may be getting paid now, but in DC, they can stop your benefits for almost any reason.  If that happens, what do you do?  Plus, do you know if you're being paid the right amount?  Can you be taking action on your case now that sets you up for additional benefits in the future?

    The best part is - it doesn't cost you anything up front to hire us (at least that's the way we work).  Our fee comes at the end of the case, so you can have the benefit of all of our counsel, resources, experience and hard work making sure your benefits continue, and it doesn't cost anything extra.  So let us take care of everything with the insurance company and the case, so you can focus on getting better.

    Just call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to schedule a time to talk (no obligation and completely confidential, of course).

  • My child has shoulder dystocia from birth. Could his condition have been caused by medical malpractice?

    Shoulder Dystocia and Medical Malpractice at a DC Hospital

    Shoulder dystocia can sometimes occur at birth when the obstetrician or other hospital providers do not follow the rules of good patient care, or the hospital doctor, interns or residents do not recognize this complication and treat it as an obstetrical emergency.  There are also certain risk factors, such as maternal diabetes or a fetus suspected of weighing more than 4,000 grams that make a baby more susceptible to shoulder dystocia during delivery.  The hospital staff should test and be looking for these well known risk factors.

    Umbilical cord compression due to the baby getting "stuck" during delivery can also lead to a lack of oxygen for the baby, increased acidosis and ultimately brain damage for the baby if the lack of oxygen to the brain is prolonged.  That's why the condition needs to be recognized and evaluated by experience hospital staff, so that actions can be taken to prevent or limit harm to the baby or mother.

    Shoulder dystocia usually refers to when one of the baby's shoulders is caught behind the mother's pelvic bone after the baby's head is delivered.  This can lead to brachial plexis palsy, a permanent nerve injury that leaves the child unable to use that arm, or with extensive damage that prevents him from doing things normal kids do.

    If your child has a permanent injury after birth or during his time in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, call us today for a confidential, free consultation.  We may be able to help your family get him the resources you need to provide for your child's future medical care, therapy, rehab, occupational therapy, vocational training and other things that can help him manage and cope with the effects of the injury.

    The sooner you get started, the better - all parents want to help their child if they can, and so do we! 

    Just call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 or click here to order a copy of our free guide to medical malpractice so we can help get you answers today.

  • How Can I Tell If My Long-Term Disability Plan is Governed By ERISA, and Why Do I Care?

    What's The Difference Between ERISA Long Term Disability Insurance  and Non-ERISA Plans (ERISA Exceptions) and Why Do I Care?

    After being seriously injured as the result of an accident or coming down with a serious illness that leaves you out of work, navigating the complexities of filing for long term disability insurance is a difficult and taxing undertaking, on top of the fact that you are dealing with the medical system - surgeries, rehab, doctor's appointments, therapy, specialists. To help clear up some of the confusion, we like to educate people on what it means to have an ERISA long term disability policy along with a few frequently asked questions about ERISA and long term disability insurance claims.

    What is ERISA Long Term Disability Insurance? ERISA is a federal law called formally called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Long term disability insurance policies that are provided by private insurance companies as a benefit to private sector employees are regulated by ERISA. If you have a long term disability policy through your place of work and you are not a government employee, it’s likely that your policy is governed by ERISA.

    Your long term disability policy will say that, and if your claim was denied or your long term disability benefits terminated, the letter denying your claim should say that as well.


    My long term disability insurance plan falls under ERISA. What does that mean for me? You have a long term disability insurance policy that is governed by ERISA. Great! Here’s what you should know: ERISA is meant to protect consumers and claimants who need the benefits of a long term disability insurance plan, however it also provides a lot of ways for insurance companies to deny your claim. This is because ERISA law gives far more discretion on claims to insurance companies than it should have.


    Claims that are made on an ERISA governed long term disability policy are special in that, if a claim is denied, you must first appeal to the disability insurance company - the one that just denied your claim. And that appeal is critical - it is your only opportunity to formulate the evidence you will need to have your benefits reinstated.


    If your appeal is denied, you must file a lawsuit in federal court (ERISA is a federal law). A federal judge, not a jury of your peers, will decide whether the insurance company's decision to deny or terminate your long term disability benefits was "reasonable."


    And there is no discovery in these cases. Discovery is a period of time that allows both sides of the claim (you and your attorney) to gather documents and put together a case. In discovery, the other side of the claim, namely the insurance company, would then gather evidence to defend their right to deny your claim. In ERISA, there is no opportunity for discovery and your entire case rests on what's called the "administrative record." That's the technical term for your appeal - everything you put into it.


    What you don't know is that the insurance company has been gathering evidence to use against you if necessary, since the day you filed your claim for long term disability benefits. And if your claim is denied, you only have 180 days to appeal. That's 180 days to put together an administrative record for yourself that a federal judge will use to decide your case. Are you ready, willing and able to do that?


    One of the best ways you can help your claim for long term disability be approved is to hire an attorney who has the knowledge to handle long term disability claims. Only an experienced attorney will know how to put together a comprehensive and persuasive administrative record that will support your claim and put you in the best position to win your appeal.


    What else should I know about ERISA policies before filing a claim? A few of the most important things to know about ERISA polices are as follows:


    Different insurance policies have different definitions of what constitutes a disability. It’s important to understand your particular policy or have someone on your side who can understand your policy and act on your behalf. There are a few deadly clauses in standard long term disability insurance plans that indicate your insurance company will have the discretion to deny your claim on its face. You should know whether or not your policy has them included. Chances are, if it's an ERISA policy, it does.


    Most policies have a waiting period between the time you became disabled and when you become eligible to receive long term disability benefits. If you are currently on short term disability, you should have your long term disability insurance plan reviewed to watch out for those deadly "discretionary" clauses.


    If your claim has been denied, send us a copy of your denial letter immediately, and will review it for free and help you get started. That denial letter is critical, so call us and email it to [email protected], or fax it to 202-393-3324 or just drop it off at 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20006.


    ​​The insurance company has every reason to find a reason to deny your claim. For this reason, it’s important that all aspects of your claim be correct, consistent, and put together in such a way that limits the ability of your insurance company to win a denied disability appeal. The insurance company has lot of legal talent on their side. Why should you not have the same?


    Having an attorney on your side is one of the best things you can do to help your long term disability claim be approved. If you would like to speak to someone about your long term disability claim, reach out to us today at 202-393-3320.

  • As D.C., Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice lawyers, what are some of the types of medical malpractice cases you handle?

    As D.C., Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice lawyers, what are some of the types of medical malpractice cases you handle?

    At Donahoe Kearney we evaluate all types of medical malpractice cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, but only for people who have serious injuries or medical conditions, like cerebral palsy, paralysis and brain damage - people who need significant help, sometimes 24/7 care, and cannot support themselves - because we can really make a difference in their lives. 

    As experienced medical malpractice lawyers, we have developed a system for investigating medical malpractice cases that we tailor to your needs.

    We only work with people we can truly help, so we investigate and handle cases where a family has lost a loved one or when a patient has suffered a catastrophic injury at a hospital, or a child has cerebral palsy because of a birth injury.  Because these cases are complex and time consuming we want to spend time and resources where they will do the most good - by making life better for these clients.

    It's impossible to list all of the possible types of medical malpractice cases we investigate, but some examples are cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia and developmental delay in children, and misdiagnosis of cancer, pulmonary embolism, anesthesia errors, paralysis and death in adults.

    The easiest way to determine whether we are the best lawyers for you and your family is to call us at (202) 393 - 3320.  If we think someone else can help you, or that you don't need a lawyer or that we should investigate your medical malpractice case in D.C., Maryland or Virginia, we'll tell you, so you can make the right decision for yourself and your family. 

  • If a patient was injured in the hospital, how do you prove a medical malpractice case against a hospital in D.C.?

    Medical Malpractice Cases Against Hospital in D.C.

    In medical malpractice cases in the District of Columbia, hospitals owe the same duty of care to their patients as doctors, HMOs and other health care providers.  They cannot violate patient safety rules.  And when a hospital employee - a doctor, nurse, resident, etc. commits medical malpractice, the hospital is responsible.   

    Other times, there may be communication errors or system failures that cause a patient to "fall through the cracks."  For example, a radiologist does not communicate MRI findings to the doctor who ordered the patients test, or there is no system for checking the amount and type of medication a patient should get. 

    If you think you have a medical malpractice case against a hospital in D.C., an experienced D.C. medical malpractice attorney will also review the actions of attending physicians and specialists who may not be employed by the hospital and would need to be separate defendants in any medical malpractice case.

    The key is to get the best DC medical malpractice lawyers for your case against the hospital.  We're not for everyone - we only take cases for severely injured patients who can't care for themselves because of medical malpractice - those are the people we've dedicated our lives to helping.

    So if someone in your family has suffered a severe injury because of medical malpractice - cerebral palsy, brain damage, paralysis - call us to see if we are right for you and your family.

    Don't delay - these cases take time to investigate and analyze and we have a specific system and process for this analysis that we share with the families we work with - so call us at (202) 393 - 3320 to get started.


  • How long will a medical malpractice case in D.C. take?

    As my D.C. medical malpractice lawyer  you recently filed my son's medical malpractice case against a Washington, D.C. hospital. How long will a medical malpractice case in D.C. take?

    A medical malpractice case in D.C., filed against a hospital in D.C. Superior Court, usually takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 years to get to trial.

    There are a lot of reasons why D.C. medical malpractice cases take that long to go to trial.  Sometimes medical malpractice cases require taking 30 or 40 depositions of doctors, specialists, nurses, and expert witnesses and these healthcare workers may be practicing medicine all over the country.  Many times, the trial will last several weeks so the hospital's lawyer or the judge may not have enough time, due to other trial commitments, to hold the trial any sooner. 

    And occasionally medical malpractice trials are continued (delayed), if a new judge takes over the case but is not available for the trial date, or a key witness is ill, etc.

    Its a long process but remember any medical malpractice case we file has already been thoroughly investigated, expert witnesses in various medical specialties have agreed to testify at trial, and much of the case is ready to go, so we can minimize delay whenever possible.

    Do you have questions about medical malpractice? Call us today for an informational interview at 202-393-3320. You won't have to sign anything or agree to anything in advance - we mostly do these interviews so we can get to know you, and you can get to know us and what we do. 

    Watch the videos on this page to discover the truth about case acceptance at Donahoe Kearney and to learn more about serious conditions like cerebral palsy.

  • How do I get information about resources available for children who have cerebral palsy or other disabilities in D.C., Maryland and Virginia?

    Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves: A Parent's Guide to Resources. 

    As D.C. medical malpractice lawyers, we represent children with cerebral palsy and disabilities in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  And we've learned a lot from our clients - parents of children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities caused by medical malpractice. 

    One of the things we learned is that caring for a special needs child is a 24/7 occupation.  Parents of children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities don't have the time to research available resources for their child and family - they need a starting point.

    That's why we wrote Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves: A Parent's Guide to Resources.  We tried to provide a starting point of resources and information on respite care, education, legal issues, camps and other issues facing parents of children with cerebral palsy or other disabilities. Some of the information came from our clients - programs they have tried and have worked.

    Our Guide to Resources is available free to any parent or guardian of a child with cerebral palsy or other disability.  As D.C. medical malpractice lawyers, we know that cerebral palsy can be caused by medical malpractice.  And we know that many children suffer from cerebral palsy or other injuries or disabilities that have nothing to do with medical malpractice.  

    And to be crystal clear - our resource guide is for all parents of special needs children - whether you believe your child's condition was caused by medical malpractice or not.  

    You can order your free copy through our website or by calling us at (202) 393-3320.


  • Can I Handle My Long Term Insurance Disability Appeal Alone?

    Why do I need an attorney to do my long term disability appeal?

    You're an intelligent person, a professional. The process seems fairly straightforward: all you have to do is get your medical records together, show all of your doctor's recommendations, and the appealed claim will go through, right? Isn't it pretty simple to prove that you are disabled?

    Wrong. Knowing more about what a disability claim attorney can do for you will help guide your decision-making process when facing an ERISA Long Term Disability claim appeal. Please consider the following items carefully if you are faced with filing an appeal of a claim the long term disability insurance company has denied.

    There are many different types of attorneys.

    You definitely don't want a general practitioner, who dabbles in all types of law, to handle your long term disability insurance claim appeal. If your long term disability claim has been denied, you will need an experienced attorney like Frank Kearney who understands the ins and outs of how insurance companies operate. Frank Kearney has been representing people against insurance companies for 25 years and even has some experience working in insurance defense when he was first out of law school. He understands insurance companies. That's exactly the type of attorney you need for a long term disabiilty appeal.

    Our team can help make your ERISA Long-Term Disability claim smoother. All we do is represent people with serious injuries or medical conditions against insurance companies (including medical malpractice, workers compensation, major car accidents, in addition to long term disability). This specialized experience is one of the greatest benefits of having an attorney work on your ERISA long term disability insurance case if your claim has been denied.

    Having an attorney with experience can make the difference between winning or losing your appeal.

    The experience an attorney can bring when appealing your case is invaluable. We've successfully navigated the complexities and industry tricks involved with the insurance industry in all of our practice areas. Specialized knowledge like this will make all the difference if your disability claim is denied. We understand challenges that you will face with producing objective medical evidence, dealing with surveillance, social media review, etc. Having someone who can navigate and administrate the entire process is something everyone appealing a disability denial needs.

    Hiring an attorney when making a disability claim is a right that is exercised by people with a legitimate injury or disease who can't work and are doing their best to heal.

    People sometimes aren’t sure if hiring an attorney is right for them. If you are legitimately injured or ill and out of work, you have every right to consider what types of actions are in your best interest to get you well and provide for yourself and your family. The premiums are paid every month, and the insurance company exists, in theory, to support you when the policy is needed - when you can no longer work.

    You owe it to yourself to get more information on the process of appealing a denial or termination of long term disability benefits, or to learn more about the process before going in to it. Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to get started.

    And if you've received a denial letter from your disability insurance company, do it today - you only have 180 days to file your appeal and there is a lot of work to do (your claim file alone could be hundreds and hundreds of pages).



  • As medical malpractice attorneys, how do you help children with disabilities and special needs?

    We give every family we work with a copy of Getting Everything Your Special Needs Child Deserves:  A Parent's Guide to Resources, a resource guide we published so parents can find out what resources are available for their child.  We developed this because we found many parents didn't have the time to investigate all of the resources that could help - special camps, respite care, therapies, etc.

    As part of our investigation of every case we accept for a disabled child, we have a physician or qualified rehabilitation nurse prepare a comprehensive report outlining the services the child will need to maximize his abilities.  Many times, we will have the child and family evaluated by specialists to help determine the child's specific physical, emotional, and educational needs as well.

    We've also published Picking Up the Pieces After Medical Malpractice: A Parent's Guide to help families struggling with medical malpractice in D.C., Maryland and Virginia make the best decisions for their family.

    So it's a lot more than most people realize - but that's how we work.  So you can focus on what's best for your child.

    Call us today at 202-393-3320 to see if we can help your family.