Answers to Medical Malpractice, Workers Comp, Long Term Disability Insurance, and Car Accident Questions
The Best Way To Reach Us Is Call 202-393-3320. You Can Also Send Us An Email Through This Form
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 Long Will A Malpractice Case Take In Washington DC?
How Many Years Should I Expect A Medical Malpractice Case To Take In Washington, DC?
The length of a medical malpractice case depends on a few different factors; such as the complexity of the injury, how many institutions are involved, and where the injury happened.Proving A Complicated Injury Is Medical Malpractice In Washington DC
When the injury is really complicated, it requires more experts to attest to the severity of the injuries and the interplay between different fields of medicine. The more complex the injury, the more people involved and the more people involved usually mean the longer it takes.
How Many Institutions Are Involved In A Washington DC Case?
Usually a medical malpractice case is filed only against one institution but it's possible that more than one institution were negligent. For example if the primary care doctor missed a diagnosis and then the hospital later was negligent, more than one institution could possibly be involved in a lawsuit. It's more common to have a lawsuit against both the attending physician, and the hospital where he or she was practicing at the time. That's why it's so important for doctors to follow patient safety rules themselves, and the hospital have checklists and systems in place to prevent negligence.
Jurisdiction: Where Did The Medical Malpractice Happen?
Each state has different laws involving lawsuits, timelines, etc. so it makes a difference where the injury happened. In the DC Area you could find yourself at a hospital in DC, Maryland, or Virginia. Any experienced medical malpractice lawyer should be able to tell you quickly how long a case is likely to take in each jurisdiction.
What If My Medical Malpractice Case Goes To Trial?
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.
Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
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.
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?
Resources For Families of Children With Special Needs in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
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.
How much does a medical malpractice attorney cost?
Frank Kearney was a guest on a local TV show speaking about our firm’s work with families of special needs children and our approach to medical malpractice cases. He explains how medical malpractice cases work, from how a case is investigated to the benefits of a successful case, and everything in between.
Above is a clip of Mr. Kearney explaining the cost of hiring an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Many people don’t realize that it doesn’t cost any more to hire an experienced, Board certified attorney with a track record of successful medical malpractice cases than it does to hire a lawyer right out of law school.
Frank Kearney, Esq:
Most of the families that we work with can’t afford the services of a lawyer billing on an hourly rate and there are very different reasons for that. As a civil justice attorney, what I do, my law firm and I, we work on a contingent fee, which means it’s a percentage of any total verdict or award after the case is finished. And these cases can go on for several years and many times do.
We also front all the costs and expenses associated with the case. For example, when there’s been a violation of a patient safety rule by a HMO or a hospital, it takes a very thorough investigation. We need experts, physicians, primarily in all different specialties to review the case, to review the chart, to work with you. Obviously all those things cost money before you even file a case or when you’re still investigating it. So we don’t require our families to front those cost in the beginning because again, if you have a special needs child or if you’re dealing with a death in the family due to a medical error, you know, that’s a 24/7 occupation. You can’t be worried about your lawyer calling you up saying, ‘Oh you need to pay me this much this month, or this much next week, I need this or I need that.’
It’s just not the best way to help families—we don’t think.
If you missed it, here’s a YouTube link to watch Mr. Kearney’s full interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFfeRnK8zWk&feature=youtu.be
When Is the Right Time to Hire a Lawyer?
You Need To Be Prepared For What is Coming.
As I say in my book, Protect Your Rights: The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers Compensation, Don't wait.
The insurance company already has a team of lawyers, adjusters, nurses, case managers and investigators working against you from the moment you got hurt at work - sometimes before you even get to the hospital.
If you have a serious injury and you will be out of work or need surgery, you need to act now to protect yourself and your family for the long term consequences of the injuries. Even though you may be getting benefits, there is no guarantee those will continue, and you may not even be getting paid at the correct rate. The insurance company will never tell you everything you are entitled to in the future, or whether you can get benefits if your injury is permanent.
I literally wrote the book on workers compensation because one young couple got totally screwed by the insurance company - and by the time they came to me, it was too late.
There was nothing I could do.
I tell people a little bit about their story when I send them a copy of the book.
You'll see why a hard working union man, Mike (that's not his real name - I'm protecting his privacy) with a serious, legit injury that would end his career, was legally getting paid $20,000 less per year by his workers comp insurance company, because he made a common mistake he had no idea he was making at the time.
So don't delay in getting the best workers compensation lawyer for your case. As I say in my book, the insurance company's duty is to its shareholders - not you! No matter how nice they are or how smoothly everything went at first, there comes a time when that all changes.
In fact, I just spoke to a nurse I couldn't help because her injury lifting a patient happened so long ago. If she had called shortly after the injury, she would be much better off today, getting the medical treatment and income benefits she should have been getting.
Get the information you need to help yourself and your family by calling 202-393-3320. Any discussion we have will be free, confidential, no obligation and above all else, no pressure. But you'll walk away knowing a lot more about the workers comp system and how to protect yourself and your family.
The insurance company or your employer won't do it for you.
Can I Switch Doctors After a Work Injury?
You Have the Right To Choose Your Own Treating Physician After an Injury at Work in DC
First of all, every worker hurt on the job in D.C. has the right to choose their own physician. The workers' comp insurance company can't just send you to some doctor or clinic, even though they might try. However, you do have to be careful. Once you have made the choice of a treating physician, it may be difficult to change doctors (or at least difficult to do so quickly). If you have already been treated several times by the insurance doctor or a different doctor and would like to make a change, you can request a hearing with the Office of Workers Compensation to get the change in physician approved, but this can take several months. If the workers comp insurance company agrees to the requested change, you can begin treatment with the new doctor. If not, you will have to win the hearing in order to change your doctor.
In summary, if you were hurt in DC you do get to choose your treating physician, even if your work "assigns" you a doctor. In Maryland you also are permitted to choose your own doctor. In Virginia, you can choose from a panel of three physicians.
Have More Questions? Our Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyers Have Answers.
Give us a call at 202-393-3320 today and you will speak to a real person who wants to hear your story.
What Role Does My Doctor Play in My Long-Term Disability Claim?
I've been on long-term disability for a full year and they are just now telling me I don't have proper documentation of my injury and medical treatment. What am I supposed to do?
Yes, we are very familiar with this type of situation. Many times, people on disability just go along getting treatment and hoping to recover and go back to work. All the while, nobody tells them that the insurance company is looking for very specific medical records, will require certain times of tests, and will nitpick over language: all to find ways to deny your claim.
It doesn't seem fair, does it? Of course, it's not but you do still have power. You can discover the truth about ERISA long-term disability insurance and set yourself on the right path.
Most people have short-term disability claims first, and they never intend on going on long-term disability. They hope to recover and go back to work; and so their sights are set, as they should be, on recovery instead of preparing themselves for a successful long-term disability claim.
Here are some quick tips we can give you to get started.
1. Ask your doctor if he or she is familiar with "Objective Medical Evidence." These are the types of evidence-based tests that are famously cited by insurance agents looking to deny your claim. Use these type of diagnostics whenever possible to document your illness or injury.
2. Index your own copies of your monthly progress notes and disability slips. Don't ever leave your doctor's office without an updated disability slip, and follow up with your doctor's front desk to get copies of your progress notes a few days after your appointment.
3. If your progress notes don't fully describe your treatment and connect it to the injury you are claiming on disability (and they should be), ask for edits from your doctor. Your doctor can do this (and should).
4. Don't do anything at all, publicly or privately, that is outside of your doctor's restrictions. If surveillance is taking place courtesy of your insurance company, you can get kicked off your claim.
5. Stay away from social media; don't post anything related to your doctor's appointments or treatment, and keep all of your social media settings on private.
Want more? Securing a consultation with attorney Frank Kearney can keep you from making the kinds of toxic mistakes that will set you up to have your claim denied. Call us today at 202-393-3320 to get started on your road to success.
What Do Long-Term Disability, Workers' Compensation, and Serious Car Accidents Have in Common?
All insurance companies have one thing in common; they want to minimize their number of claims and pay out as few claims as possible. It would be a ridiculous business model if they didn't.
All business seek to maximize their profits, but it shouldn't be at the expense of making good on the promises you make to good people paying their premiums.
There is no exception for ERISA long-Term disability, workers' compensation and serious car accident claims in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Here are a five things that these types of claims all have in common.
1. The insurance companies are always protecting their bottom line, and usually not looking out for your interest;
2. Generally, insurance adjusters are trained to find ways to limit your claim;
3. You can be scheduled for an independent medical exam in all types of claims (though it's far more common in long-term disability and workers' compensation).
4. You can settle your case at the end of the medical treatment for a lump-sum.
5. Donahoe Kearney, LLP can help you maximize your benefits and settlement value on all of them.
Should I Avoid Posting on Social Media if I Have a Disability Case?
Never Post Publicly On Social Media When You Have a Disability Claim
Consider this scenario. A new client comes on board with an experienced ERISA attorney like Donahoe Kearney. The attorney does initial research on his case file, which includes reports that the client has received from the insurance company.
What do they see? A lengthy investigative report completed by the aces at the insurance company. It starts with screen shots of him wake-boarding in Cancun. How did the insurance company find these pictures? They didn't have to work very hard for it. They just searched his name and the town where he lives, and there it was, in all its glory, on his public Facebook page.
So much for his long-term disability claim!
The Insurance Company Will Use Social Media To Deny Your Claim
Social Media scouting is just one of the tricks of the insurance company. The insurance company will also do surveillance - by phone and video. The insurance company chatted up his neighbors, called him directly and and made "discreet inquiries" to fish out whether he was running a business on the side or had any type of "side hustle." They even hung out on his block, trying to catch him on video doing something that they can use to say he can go back to work.
What most people don't know (but any insurance attorney worth their salt will tell you) files are often filled with surveillance video that insurance companies have gotten from unsuspecting claimants.
Many times you might hear the claimant (client) expresses outrage: "How dare they sit on my street and video me. It's an invasion of privacy for them to follow me to my doctor's office."
Here's our reply: "Don't lie to the insurance company. What were you thinking?"
You Don't HAVE To Kill Your Disability Claim With Social Media.
Here Are Some Tips To Help You Out.
Cheaters always get caught. Be honest and straightforward when talking to the insurance company about what you can and can't do.
The insurance company probably knows when your next doctors appointment is. Be aware of that fact- they will likely be videotaping your trip. Don't stop at Home Depot on your way.
Be smart about Facebook and Instagram. Don't post stupid stuff to Facebook (if you think it might be inappropriate, it probably is). Update your social media privacy settings.
You Need An Experienced Long Term Disability Lawyer On Your Disability Claim
An experienced long-term disability lawyer will be your best investment with an ERISA claim, but they cannot work miracles. They cannot make "discovered" social media disappear. There's a lot an experienced firm can do to improve your chances of winning but changing the reality of a video or photo or Facebook comment isn't one of them. If you have questions about your ERISA disability claim, or have received a denial letter from your employer’s insurance company, give us a call at 202-393-3320.
Top 5 Tricks of an Insurance Claims Adjuster.
Who Is Your Insurance Adjuster?
The insurance adjuster is the representative of the insurance company that communicates most frequently and directly with you or your attorney. The whole reason they are employed is to help the insurance company make money - that's what insurance companies do.
Think about it -- simply by the name "adjuster." They adjust your claim to try and save money -- simple as that.
Many times adjusters do this by trying to delay and deny your legitimate claim. They receive training on how to minimize the benefits you should get, and they are often so overworked, handling so many cases, that they can't even get to yours. They are there to save the insurance company money, and if that means you get less in benefits and medical treatment, that's just the way it is.
Insurance companies often also assign a nurse case manager to the case, who will try to attend your doctors appointments and influence your doctor to give you an return-to-work note sooner than they should. And their methods can be very successful for doctors who haven't had these methods used on them before and feel pressure to send an injured worker back to work.
We Don't Let Our Clients Get Taken Advantage Of By Adjusters Or Nurse Case Managers
There are some tricks that we see often that you might be experiencing while dealing with your adjuster. Watch out for them.
Here's a list of the top five adjuster dirty tricks.
1) Recording a statement while you are in pain or under the influence of strong pain medications.
After a serious work accident, of course you are in pain due to your injury, plus you're probably uncertain, stressed out and not sure what you need to do in the system. You are not alone. Many adjusters know this is the worst time (for you - but its the best time for the workers comp insurance company) to get a recorded statement, knowing that you are now more likely to say something that they can use to delay or even deny their claim. Don't let this happen to you.
2) Misrepresenting the benefits you can receive under the law.
This is a big one. Because they know some injured workers don't have an attorney (or worse - have the wrong attorney), they make it seem like you can't get certain benefits when they know you can, or they never tell you about the workers comp benefits you are entitled to.
Protecting you and providing for your family IS NOT not the insurance company's job. Educating you on the workers comp system (there are 58 chapters of regulations interpreting the statute) IS NOT their problem. You may not know what to ask for, and they won't tell you. We know what you're entitled to and how to get it for you.
3) Intentionally not returning your calls.
Not hearing back? It's a tactic to make you frustrated. They ignore you or play phone tag as a way to delay and deny your medical treatment and benefits. We have professional, full-time staff to make sure your adjuster is not ignoring you.
4) Wanting to settle too quickly.
Some adjusters, if they have a sense that the injury is serious but there isn't enough documentation readily available, will try to settle your case before you know the extent of the injury and what you're entitled to, just so that they can "low-ball" you. Be wary if they offer you money but don't know everything that happened. You may be taking way less than you deserve. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your claim and project the type of settlement you may be entitled to.
5) Advising you not to get an attorney.
This one we see often, and can be the most damaging. Imagine being questioned without having a lawyer present - it makes it easier for them to take advantage of you if they know you don't know the law and don't know how much you deserve. They can more easily (and legally) give you less than what you rightfully deserve under the law if you don't have a lawyer. Insurance industry studies routinely show they pay more on cases to people who have lawyers.
Contact Our Aggressive Workers Comp Lawyers in DC To Fight The Insurance Adjusters and Nurse Case Managers
If you've been seriously hurt, get all the information you can before trying to handle your claim by yourself. Make sure you contact us at 202-393-3320 so you can begin the process of getting representation if you truly need it.
Now that you know some of the common traps, tricks and strategy they use against you, you'll be ready if they ever happen to you. And remember, when we talk about your adjuster, he/she has a whole team of insurance company lawyers, doctors, nurses, case managers, and other specialists. They've handled thousands of cases just like yours for the insurance company. You may not realize it, but they are there, working against you, literally from the moment you get hurt. That's a lot to go up against.
The best way to protect yourself is to know the system, and have someone fighting on your side. The first thing you can do is order our free book on long-term disability.
And if you need to, give us a call at 202-393-3320 when you want to talk about your specific situation - you'll get a live person here - someone who can start helping you right away.