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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After an accident, can I use my uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
Car Insurance After an Accident
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is something every driver in DC, Virginia or Maryland should have - here's why:
It is the insurance coverage you can use after a serious accident when the other driver doesn't have any liability or car insurance or doesn't have enough to pay for all of the harms he caused as a resultof the accident - your medical bills, hospitalization, physical therapy, rehab, medications - everything you now need to recover from the accident (for as long as you need it) plus the lost income if you can't work, and all of the other damages for personal injury cases allowed under the law, like pain, suffering, permanent injury, future medical care, future lost income and others.
Your UM/UIM coverage will step in and pay up to the limits of your policy. Here's how it works:
Let's say a driver is on his phone and crashes into you on 495 because he wasn't paying attention and crossed the line into your lane of traffic. Your car was totaled and you suffered serious injuries - a torn rotator cuff, a broken leg, a concussion. You spent 3 days in the hospital after surgery on the fractured femur and you need another surgery on the rotator cuff. You're facing a long recovery of medical specialists, physical therapy, and rehab.
And you're paid by the hour in a physical job your doctors have said you can't do for at least 6 months - and if you don't work, you don't get paid.
The driver's insurance company calls and says they are responsible for the accident he caused (great). But they only have $25,000 in coverage, so that is the most the insurance company will ever pay. Your hospital and surgery bills are already more than $25,000!
Is it fair? No. Is it legal? Yes.
If you have UM/UIM, that coverage will make up the difference, up to your policy limit. Let's say you had a $300,000 UM/UIM policy - then after the other driver's insurance offered their policy limit of $25,000, your insurance would pay up to another $275,000 for a total of $300,000.
If you didn't have UM/UIM coverage on your policy, you'd be stuck with the $25,000 or trying to collect from the driver personally (and people with minimum insurance policies usually don't have much money...)
Will your insurance company just pay you the UM/UIM coverage? No - they are not in the business of just giving away money. Can you settle a UM/UIM case? Absolutely - and here's one we worked on recently.
Check you Declaration Page on your own insurance policy (and if you can't find it, you can get this online from most insurance companies. We're happy to review it with you, just fax it to (202) 393 - 3324 or email it to [email protected] with the subject UM/UIM and we'll set up a time to talk about it at no charge.
Do I Need To Share My Medical Records with a Prospective Car Accident Attorney in DC?
So, you've called a D.C. lawyers office and hopefully you have spoken to a warm, inquisitive person who wants to hear your story (that's what we do at Donahoe Kearney -- you'll never hear us pick up the phone and say "law office"). That person takes you through a series of questions, which you may or may not feel like answering, considering all you wanted to do was find out how much an attorney costs, and whether or not you have a case.
It may be frustrating to know that even at the outset with all of the questions, we may not know whether or not you have a case until we've reviewed other things like medical records, insurance correspondence, pay stubs, police report, photos, etc.
We know that the process can be frustrating but here's the thing; we are not a "run of the mill" type of law firm. We promise to never take your case just so we can run it through the mill and collect a check after settling quickly (like some of those firms you see on TV). All of our cases we have taken because we have reviewed all of the materials, thoughtfully analyzed the case, and decided that your case is a case we think we can win and get something for you that makes your life better.
That's just the kind of firm we are.
Now, back to the process. We may ask you for additional information, like medical records or a copy of your insurance policy (depending on the type of case it is) and we always keep these records completely confidential and don't share them with anyone unless you've given us express permission.
Even if it turns out in the end that we are not the best fit for your case (sometimes the geographic location makes a difference, or the merits of the case lie outside of our practice area) we will do our best to either A) refer your case out to a trusted associate we know will do a good job or B) put enough information in your hands that you can handle the matter on your end.
That's just the kind of firm we are.So, do you need to share your medical records with a prospective attorney? The answer is, maybe. But don't forget to ask the good questions.Will my records be treated confidentially? What will happen to my records once you are doing reviewing them?If you have questions about what it takes to hire an attorney in DC, Maryland or Virginia, don't be shy! Give us a call at 202-393-3320 and we would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Should I Hire A Lawyer From a TV Commercial For My Serious Injury Case?
Great question - how do you find the best lawyer for your injury case?
There is no doubt that there are many, many lawyers to choose from in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, and many say they specialize in injury or accident cases.
Some of those lawyers have big, fancy billboards, their name on the side of a bus, or star in their own TV commercials. But you have to ask yourself this simple question:
Why? Why do they have to advertise like that?
(Because they have to? Because they would rather spend money on ads than on your case? Because they've already taken care of everything for you and have extra time on their hands)?
We don't know the answers to these questions (and you don't either), but here's the real question:
Is this the best law firm in the D.C. area
to help me with all of the problems caused by my serious injury?
Lots of big law firms advertise they handle 27 types of cases. But that doesn't mean they are good at 27 different things - who is? Just because they advertise for medical malpractice, personal injury or workers' compensation doesn't mean that they are right for you. In fact, lots of times these law firms will give you first-year and second-year associates (fresh out of law school), who have a mountain of other work to do ( a ton of other cases, research memos for partners, business networking, attending lower level meetings, and so on) and they don't have the time or the experience to handle your case well.
When it comes to medical malpractice, you really have to do your homework to find the right lawyer, otherwise you can waste valuable time with an inexperienced lawyer who will not be able to move forward with your case. This area is complicated, time consuming and costly - that's why we take only medical malpractice cases with catastrophic injuries - we don't want to put you through years of litigation that won't help you and your family (and we tell you that up front).
Personal injury is yet another field of law that can fall prey to this advertising mill mentality. Some law firms will take personal injury cases and "run them through the mill," which means that they will handle the casework as though it is paint-by-numbers and do whatever they need to in order to settle quickly and make quick money. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense for them to take the small cases that they do because they can't possibly give all of the cases the personal attention that they deserve and make money at the same time.
We get calls from folks who have been "accepted" by a "mill firm" and they haven't heard from their attorney in six months or EVER. And sometimes, even though they have a good case, we can't represent them because the case has already been screwed up by their other attorney.
So, you may be asking, "what's different about Donahoe Kearney?" Well, I'll tell you.
Attorneys Frank Kearney and Keith Donahoe are specialists. At Donaohe Kearney, all we do is represent people with serious injuries who need to be compensated in order to fairly adjust their lifestyle and pay for things like not being able to feed your family because you can no longer work, modifying your home to accomodate your injuries, and getting the future medical care you need.
And we don't take every case that comes our way. If we did, we would never be able to give the time and attention to each case, warranted by the needs of the client and the case. We will work tirelessly to make sure that you are made as whole as possible after a serious injury -- just ask any of our past clients.
And if you think we may be the right lawyers for you, call us at (202) 393 - 3320 to get started working with us.
I Just Assume the Insurance Company Will Pay After an Accident -- Right?
Here's what your dad probably taught you when you first started driving. If you get in an accident, call the police and get the insurance information. They pay for the damage, and you deal with your end.
That's good advice, but it's not the whole story.
The truth is that any insurance adjuster, in any industry, is tasked with limiting both liability and financial exposure on behalf of their company. Which means that you have to be prepared to prove, and fight for, the benefits that you are owed after a car accident.
Now first of all -- follow your dad's advice because without a police report it can be very difficult to enforce an insurance claim: especially if you are seriously injured. Make sure all of the insurance information is getting on the police report (simply speak to the officer about it) and make sure you have the same information for your personal records. Get the name of your officer and his badge information. This is all just very simple information gathering that you do after an auto accident.
You will also want to photograph all of the damage (both to your car and theirs) before the other driver drives away because you will likely never see them again.
Next, we would recommend always going to the emergency room, even if you don't have a serious injury. Some injuries are latent and you won't feel their effects until weeks down the road. If you have something like a sore neck and spine, you may not even relate it to the injury if it starts hurting later. It's always better to get checked out immediately, and then once you start to experience symptoms, visit your primary care doctor.
Now, when do you need a lawyer for your accident case?
Most of the time if your injuries are minor and the insurance company is cooperating, you can probably handle the case on your own with one of our free books or reports to assist you.
But, if you have more serious injuries with protracted medical care, surgery, and can't work, you will probably need an attorney to prove your case and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. (plus determine how much insurance coverage the at fault driver has and file a lawsuit to hold that driver and his insurance company accountable).
We'll help you do what's right for you and your familly after a car accident in DC, Maryland or Virginia. Call us at (202) 393 - 3320 to get started.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage (or UIM) and Do I Need It?
What if I get hit by a driver without insurance?
All too often we see serious crashes on the Beltway. The question you should ask yourself is: “Am I really protected if I get hit by a driver without insurance?”
We recently settled a case for a gentleman who was hit by somebody who only had the D.C. legal minimum insurance coverage of $25,000.00 (Maryland and Virginia are similar - bad drivers are not required to have much insurance coverage). When he got hit by this driver cutting across 3 lanes of traffic, and needed surgery two weeks later, his medical treatment costs came out to be way more than that.
What would the good driver have done if he didn't have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)?
It's bad enough when you get hit in an accident that is not your fault; causing injury to you and your family and damaging your car. But what happens if you have significant medical needs and costs and can't work because of your injuries as a result?
Even though liability car insurance is mandatory in most states, not everybody who drives has it. And then consider the number of people who are driving around with the minimum amount of coverage. You and your family can't afford to take the risk.
Underinsured motorist coverage is optional insurance you can purchase that will cover you in the event you find yourself hit by a driver with little to no insurance coverage. UIM coverage is usually inexpensive, and once activated it will step in to cover your medical and other related expenses if you have been hit by somebody who is not insurance or underinsured.
If your UIM insurance policy limit is higher than that of the liabilty insurance of the person who hit you, the other driver is underinsured.
Do you have adequate UIM coverage? If not, call your insurance company today and increase your limits. Protect yourself and your family from the irresponsible drivers we see every day - just look around you at all of the people weaving in and out of traffic on the Beltway and 95, driving aggressively and on their phones.
And if you are in an accident, act quickly to protect your rights. Get proof of the other driver’s insurance, get the police report and contact your own insurance company. And give us a call at 202-393-3320. We'll send you The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in the DMV.
Or order your free copy right now and get started right away!
Should I Accept a Check from the Other Driver Who Was at Fault?
No, you should not. If you have a minor injury, you may be able to handle the case yourself; but take the time to do it right by getting information about accident cases and claims. If you were seriously injured, talk to an experienced attorney you trust.
Why not accept the check?
If you accept a check from the other driver or from the other driver's insurance company, that may be construed as you accepting settlement for your claim. And at that time, you may not have done a full assessment of your injuries.
And, what's more, if the check is seen as settlement of your claim, that will prevent you from any future recovery. The insurance company is skilled at getting you the lowest amount possible for your injuries - even if you are not at fault and have made every effort to cooperate with them. If you're dealing with the insurance company yourself, they are trained to get you the lowest amount possible settle your case and will do just that.
So, if you accept a settlement before you have an experienced attorney that can properly gauge how much you should be receiving, chances are that you will settle for a far less amount than you're entitled to under the law. Our main objective is to get you an amount that will make up for the harms the other driver caused - this is different for everyone and will depend on the severity of your injuries and the impact they have had on your life.
Click here to see what the insurance adjuster does, and how they often work against the interests of those who have been injured - it's their job!
In fact, this kind of communication with the other driver and their insurance company before speaking to an attorney can cause for a lot of trouble down the road, just like the 7 Deadly Sins that Will Wreck Your Accident Case.
You should educate yourself or consult with an experienced attorney before accepting any payment, signing any release, or otherwise settling your claim with the other driver or their insurance company after an automobile accident. We review your case with you and will help make a determination of your damages and how much you would are entitled to recover. See what our clients have to say about us! If you've been in auto accident, give us a call at 202-393-3320 today for help getting the recovery you deserve.
After an accident that wasn't my fault, the other driver's insurance company wants me to sign a medical authorization for my medical information. Should I release my medical records to the other insurance company?
Knowing what to do after you've been hurt in an accident can be tough, especially if you have never been in an accident before - like most of the people we help here in the DC Metro Area.
After you've been in an accident, it can also be hard to figure out which information you have to share with the other driver. That exchange can be tricky, but it doesn't have to be if you know EXACTLY what to give after an auto accident. Avoiding this confusion can make a big difference in the long run. Click here to avoid the Top 4 Mistakes Made After An Accident.
If you're seriously injured, of course it's important to obtain your medical records - confused on how to get started? Click here to see tips on getting your medical records.
But, the other driver's insurance wants you to sign a medical authorization or release immediately. Should you do that?
First of all, read it - it probably gives this insurance company to obtain every medical record created in your life time. That's right - signing that form probably gives the insurance company the right to get your birth records, and every thing else you've every seen a doctor for...
Do you think they really need that to fairly evaluate the injuries caused by their driver?
Absolutely not. So don't share your medical records with the insurance company adjuster or with the other driver. There's a time for giving them the medical information about the injuries they caused - but it's not right after the accident!
Don't fall into the trap - get our free and informative ebook that breaks down accident cases in our area, top mistakes, how to avoid them, and useful information to make sure you're on track to getting help with the injuries you have. You can order it on this page right here --> - or give us call at 202-393-3320 and we'll send you a copy right away - and it's FREE.
So don't delay - get the info you need to make sure things go smoothly with the insurance company from the beginning.
I Was Injured in a Bike Accident in DC. Is that a Possible Auto Accident Case?
According to the US Census Bureau, DC has one of the highest percentages of commuters who travel by bicycle. People are also using bikes more these days as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Cutting on gas and getting healthy is a win-win!
DC's popular Bikeshare program and the maintenance happening on the Metro lines in DC (SafeTrack is still a factor in DC) has also contributed to the uptick in bicyclists on our road. With all these changes in transportation happening in our city, bicyclists are on our road even more. Unfortunately, that means that the chances of getting into an accident go up with it.
But, it's important to remember that bicyclists can also be liable for traffic accidents because they must obey the same traffic rules and laws as automobiles on the road. And when the driver behind the wheel of a car, bus, or truck isn't paying attention to the rules of the road and injures someone using a bicycle to get around, everyone on our roads suffer.
So what happens after someone is seriously hurt in the accident? Like, who pays for the damage? And, will the other driver's insurance company pay for the medical bills? You can get the answer to these questions in our Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in the DC Metro Area. Order it online here or give us a call at 202-393-3320 to order your copy today.
What information do I need after a car accident in the DC area?
After a car accident, it can be hard to know exactly the right steps to take.
You're flustered, or hurt and probably shaken up because someone cut you off or hit you after running a red light.
First, make sure you're not doing any one of the 7 "sins" that will wreck your accident case. What are those seven sins? You can find out by ordering our FREE and informative guide here from our website or giving us a call at 202-393-3320 and we'll send your copy out right away.
But, even if you avoid these traps, what are you supposed to right after an accident - whether it was in DC, Maryland or Virginia?
Here are 3 THINGS you should not forget after an accident:
1) Location, date, and time of the accident - make sure you have all this information written down and handy somewhere. We don't want to second guess this later on.
2) Get information on all parties involved - did you get the make and model of the other vehicle? Did you get their name, and their insurance information? Were there witnesses? Make sure to get their name and telephone numbers as they could serve as witnesses later on in your case when the insurance company is trying to change it's story. Plus, witnesses aren't always listed on the police report. Did the police come to the scene of the accident? Get the oficer's name and information
3) Take pictures - we show you here the best ways to take pictures and what to remember when you're documenting the scene with photographic evidence. Click here to find out the best methods. If you can't take pictures because of your injuries, have someone take photos of the scene and the damage to the vehicles as soon as you can.
Don't let any of this hold you up from getting to the ER or getting the medical attention your injuries require