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.


  • 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 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. 

  • 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. 

  • My son has cerebral palsy. What Do I Do Now?

    Cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice 

    Most people don't know where to start when it comes to investigating a medical malpractice claim. Liability may seem clear or obvious, but you don't know the statutes or the process, or what your case may be worth.

    If you have a child with Cerebral Palsy, you have a lot to think about.

    THE FIRST THING that we always do with a potential medical malpractice claim is RESEARCH.

    We have a specific system we've developed that we customize for every family.

    This is in addition to ordering a full copy of the medical records associated with your child's (or niece/nephew/cousin) birth because the primary cause of Cerebral Palsy is asphyxia (which means, the child's brain went too long without getting proper oxygen). This may be due to a delayed Cesarean birth, to acceleration or deceleration of the baby's heartbeat (fetal distress), preeclampsia (maternal distress) and other types of medical mistakes that happen as a result of violating Patient Safety Rules.

    Once violations of the patient safety rules, or the standards of care a patient should get, are established by the medical experts we work with to analyze your case, we wait for the appropriate time to file the lawsuit, with the statute of limitations in mind.  This depends on your child's specific injury and whether that requires waiting so we can accurately assess whether the child is hitting developmental milestones and benchmarks. Most of the time, we will have your child examined by an independent physician to help determine the extent of his harms.  A lot of what needs to be done will depend on how developmentally delayed the child might be and how much care he or she will require over the course of their lifetime. 

    We are different than a lot of other firms because we wait to see the whole picture before we file the lawsuit.

    And we will be with you, the parents, aunts, uncles, and other family members throughout the whole process. 

    Is there a child in your life who has Cerebral Palsy or other types of developmental delays, and you are wondering what the next steps might be? The good news is, if we take your case, you don't have to worry about the next steps because we are taking care of it. And you don't have to worry about whether or not you can afford us, because we don't take a fee unless we make a recovery for you.

    Call us today at 202-393-3320 to get started with a no-risk, no obligation free consultation. 

  • Is my Medical Malpractice case in the DMV worth it ?

    Your Medical Malpractice Case in DC, Maryland or Virginia: how do you know if its worth it?

    You've probably heard before the phrase "I'm not the suing type" or "I don't think I really need to get into all of that. And that's fine for a small case from a car accident or other injury that isn't serious.  But what if you can no longer feed your family or need 24/7 medical care because a hospital violated patient safety rules - or worse, your child will never walk, talk or feed herself because of medical malpractice.  What then?

    What a lot of people fail to recognize is: having the right lawyer in your medical malpractice case takes away the anxiety, (at least the right lawyer will do that -- you may be entirely right about the wrong kind of lawyer being a headache....)

    At Donahoe Kearney, you've heard us say that we're different -- and we are.  We don't file lawsuits unless the injuries are life changing and we can hold the hospital or doctor accountable and really help you or your child get the money (yes these cases come down to money) that's needed to take care of you.  We don't file frivolous lawsuits and we have a system we've developed over 20 years that is specifically tailored to you.

    Remember, the time limits or statutes of limitations in medical malpractice cases are different in DC, Maryland and Virginia, and there are times when you received medical care in both DC and Maryland or Virginia.  

    Generally, Virginia has the shortest time limits - 2 years for medical malpractice, personal injury (including car accidents where someone was injured) and wrongful death.

    Maryland and D.C. typically have a 3 year statute of limitations for medical malpractice, personal injury and wrongful death.

    But these can vary - and the statute of limitations for children is longer (call us to discuss the specifics of where you got the medical care, your specific situation, and we will walk you through this). 

    So if you've had a child with cerebral palsy, brachial plexus, developmental delay from prematurity, call us so we can get you the information you need (everything the hospital won't tell you) to evaluate your medical malpractice case. Because if you have a child with special needs or cerebral palsy,  there are even more reasons why having an attorney take a look at your case right away could make your child's life and yours better in the long run, even if it seems scary or like a hassle in the short run (plus we are upfront with you and talk to you about everything - we take the uncertainty out of it for you).

    Why you shouldn't wait

    The primary reason why you shouldn't wait to have a lawsuit investigated is that you can start helping yourself or your child today.  You can do this by doing everything you can to get the resources you or your child need to thrive - and those resources may be from a medical malpractice case if the hospital or doctor was responsible for your condition or injury. 

    To do this right (and another reason not to delay) in order to properly and accurately build our case, we need to be monitoring the child's treatment and developmental milestones, and analyzing the medical records over a long period of time. We have a lot of expertise in conditions like cerebral palsy, sepsis, pre-eclampsia, prematurity and other conditions affecting infants and children. 

    Here's how to get started with a medical malpractice case if you've had a life changing injury 

    Call us today to find out how, and why (202-393-3320) we only accept certain cases with life changing injuries and why we won't take your case unless you have a permanent injury or condition like paralysis, cerebral policy, brain damage, developmental delay or a life changing condition.

    We know that this is a difficult process for you to go through, and so we will be very up front with you from the very beginning. We will make an honest analysis of your case after we've had a chance to review the medical records and evaluate the case with medical experts. We will inform you of what happens with all the proceedings and how the jurisdictions work. We will give you an accurate (although estimated) timeline for how long all of this will take, and what you can expect to get at the end of it all.

    Our case results speak for themselves. If you have a child who has cerebral palsy, your child may need millions of dollars of future medical care and assistance, just for their basic needs. And your child will probably outlive you as well.  How will you be able to provide for him or her?

    You may be wondering how you are going to pay a first-rate attorney like us over the course of many years, but don't worry. We require nothing up front, and we take our fee out of the settlement so if we don't win your case, we don't take a fee. It's called "contingency fee." 

    So give us a call today. You may have more questions than we've answered here, and we'd love to see how we can help.

    Call us at 202-393-3320 

  • Do you struggle with a serious injury caused by a hospital in D.C.?

    You're not alone.

    Some estimates put deaths (not just injuries) due to medical malpractice at 58,000 per year - that's a national outrage.  And many conditions require around the clock medical care and treatment.  But how do you know if your injury or medical condition was due to malpractice in a DC hospital, instead of just a terrible outcome?

    You see, all medical malpractice is preventable - by definition.  What we mean is that there are established patient safety rules designed to keep patients safe that doctors and hospitals have to follow.  Thank about it, every job has rules.  It could be as simple as a checklist, or an order of doing things, or a system for following up on a test that was done.

    It's usually simple steps to keep patients safe.  But a lot of hospitals don't have them or don't follow them, and that's where the problem comes in.

    One clue is that you went into the hospital for a routine procedure - a minor surgery, for example, and had a catastrophic injury or condition that wasn't related to the surgery at all - like a problem with anesthesia.  Or that you were given the wrong medication after surgery, or the wrong dosage, or something you were allergic to.

    And unfortunately, we see medication errors a lot - many times, it is not just one person in the hospital who makes a mistake.  It is the doctor ordering the wrong medication, one that may have severe side effects or consequences for someone in your condition, maybe the medication is contraindicated.  The nurse then gives you the medication but doesn't follow up and monitor you after she gives it, to see if you are having complications.  And the hospital pharmacist doesn't tell the providers that the medication is contraindicated.

    We call that a system failure - and it should never happen.  It should not happen to adults and it happens  at prestigious children's hospitals, where babies and children are severely injured due to medical malpractice - and that should never happen to kids no matter how inspiring their struggle to overcome their disability is.

    If you're struggling with a life changing injury after being in the hospital, you need to take action - to get the best advice and guidance on how to make things right.  If you're this kind of person, call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 or order a completely free, no obligation book guide or report we have written to help you get started.

    But don't put it off - the sooner you take action, the sooner you can take back control of your life (and hold the hospital accountable so they don't do this to someone else).


  • What Should I Do if My Doctor Says I'm Fine But I'm Not?


    Here's the thing about doctors; sometimes they are in a hurry. Sometimes they don't pay attention.  Sometimes they are arrogant. And sometimes the combination of those things results in a misdiagnosis.

    The Washington Post ran a story this week about a woman, Lina Kharnak, who turned out to have endometriosis, but didn't find this out until years after she had begun investigating the source of her pain. She had painful, heavy periods, radiating pain in her back and leg, and UTI's, constipation, and trouble urinating for two weeks before her period. She was told it could be sciatica or spinal stenosis, or side effects from being 25 pounds overweight. 

    She eventually saw a specialist who told her that she didn't have endometriosis and that she should stop "self-diagnosing." She went to yet another specialist, who told her that it was not endometriosis. She was told once again that her problem was not gynecological.

    They didn't believe her.  The doctors never stopped to consider other causes and never referred her to another specialist or consultant for a second opinion.

    But she was not to be deterred. She sought out a longtime friend and gynecologist, who did a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis. Turned out "the kidney was badly swollen because it was blocked and unable to drain urine properly." The kidney had stopped functioning altogether. 

    She looked up an "endo specialist" (practice mostly focusing on endometriosis) while she was scheduled to have the dead kidney removed. This specialist could see that even though she didn't have traditional endometriosis pain, an MRI revealed a widespread disease. They scheduled an intense and difficult nine-hour surgery to perform a hysterectomy and remove her ovaries. She had to consult with a colorectal surgeon, a nephrologist and a neurologist in order to prepare for the surgery. The surgery was successful and Ms. Kharnak has "returned to work free of the pain that had largely defined the past seven years of her life."

    As with anything else, there are some really good doctors and there are some not so great doctors.  It's easy for doctors to be arrogant and dismissive. They have education and power that most people don't have, and that kind of power needs to have a system for checks and balances to make sure mistakes get fixed and patients don't get hurt because of them. That's why Patient Safety Rules exist. There have to be safeguards against doctors being dismissive and failing to order or follow up on tests because they are in a hurry, or for any other reason. 

    Do you believe that Patient Safety Rules have been violated in the case of your medical treatment or the medical treatment of a loved one and that led to a misdiagnosis or serious injury?  Give us a call today at 202-393-3320.

    Ms. Kharnak was convinced that there was something wrong with her, probably largely because she was the one who had to deal with the pain. Endometriosis is scar-like tissue that usually lines the uterus building up outside the uterine wall. It's a very painful condition and it would have been simple for the doctor to conduct the scans (the CT, MRI) that would rule out endometriosis for sure. Instead they told her that she wasn't presenting with normal symptoms (some of them, not all of them) and gave her other diagnosis, like sciatica or pain due to being overweight.

    We want to be able to trust our doctors, but there is a gut check "test" that should go along with your medical treatment. Does it pass the "gut check" test? One of our clients recently told me that a doctor is pushing surgery, even though this isn't what the client wants. Another has come to me with questions about the efficacy and safety of epidural steroid injections. And their questions are fantastic; yes, you should be questioning the doctor's treatment. Not to the point of getting in the way of your own recovery, but if it doesn't feel right there is a chance your gut it worth paying attention to. Decisions about surgery or other invasive treatments shouldn't be taken lightly.

    Give us a call today at 202-393-3320 if you believe that you have been misdiagnosed or Patient Safety Rules have been violated.