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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  • Do I Have to Use the Lawyer My Union Uses?

    My Union Already Has a Lawyer. Do I Have to Use Them?

    We love unions. We represent a lot of people who belong to unions. We are big fans of the industry and we consider our mission similar to that of the union itself. Namely, we are all protecting workers and their families.

    So why would we tell you not to use your Union Lawyer?

    First of all, if your Union Lawyer is good, use them! We always want workers to be represented by the best people.

     

    click here to discover the truth about your income on workers' comp.

     

    But what happens if your union hires a "mill firm?" 

    These attorneys might be kept on retainer to handle all types of things; from employment matter to contract negotiations to workers' compensation. And many of those big "mill" firms might do one or two of those things well, but it doesn't mean that they are going to be good at workers' compensation.

    In fact, we hear over and over about how attorneys treat people "like a number." We hear complaints that attorneys don't return phone calls and don't update their clients.

    Read about one of those stories here. 

    So the question remains, do you have to use your union lawyer?

    The answer is no, not necessarily. Are your union dues going toward those retainers for those attorneys? Probably. Are they the best attorney for your case? We hope so, but if they are not you shouldn't feel bad about giving us a call.

    Afraid of making your union rep angry? Trust us, we don't want to make your union rep angry either. In fact we get a fair amount of referrals from unions themselves! We have great relationships with unions in the DMV. Sometimes I even go out and speak and union member meetings to get great information into the hands of great people.

    Most firms simply don't provide the same experience that we do. We have free books, guides and reports that will help you to connect with who we are and get some great information about the process. You'll discover that most attorneys don't measure up to the experience you are going to get with us. Why? Just give us a call - you'll discover the truth from the first time you call in to our offices.

    202-393-3320

     

    Check your lawyer against our fail-safe workers' comp attorney checklist.

     

     

  • The Doctor Says I'll Never Fully Recover - What Do I Do Now?

    I've got a permanent injury and I'll Never Be the Same

    We've seen it a lot.

    You've been hurt at work - an injury you never asked for and wasn't your fault, but it happened.  And you've been dealing with the workers comp insurance company adjuster, not sure if she is being honest with you or telling you the truth (Spoiler Alert - she works for the insurance company, not you and your family). 

    The workers comp benefits you can get for a permanent injury depend on a lot of factors under DC Workers' comp.

    So let's go through them.

    First, if you have a permanent injury, especially to your neck, back, shoulder or ankle, and it prevents you from working again, you may be eligible to get permanent total disability. 

    This means you can't do any work at all.  And it depends on what your job was at the time you got hurt - the heavier,  physically demanding job you had could make a difference.  So does your training, education and experience.

    For example, if you've worked construction since you were a teenager and you're now 57, you've developed a lot of valuable skills but they all involve hard work (we all know there is no light duty in the trade).  Because of that, you've never had time to develop other skills - sales, computer skills, writing and public speaking.  So you're probably competing for jobs that are entry level - competing with kids who are half your age.  And who do you think a company will hire for an entry level job making $25,000 a year?  Someone who was making $100,000 before he got hurt, or someone just out of school?

    How about someone who has been out of work for the last few years because of an injury?

    Most employers just won't touch you.  And that's one of the real world factors we have to look it.  Everyone is different and has a different set of skills they bring to a job.  We review all of the factors to see if someone qualifies for permanent total disability - and if so, they can get a lifetime award of workers comp benefits and annual COLA increases (plus medical treatment for the injury).

    Now let's say you had a bad injury to your knee and needed a knee replacement. 

    But your job was mostly sedentary, office type work where you weren't lifting much, walking around a lot, up and down stairs, and all that.

    Once you returned to work, you could get benefits for the permanent partial disability your injury caused, or a percentage disability or permanent impairment as it is also called.  To be eligible for those type of benefits, you'll need a doctor to indicate you've reached maximum medical improvement (this just means the condition won't get much better or much worse) and then evaluate the injury and give you a permanency rating. The American Medical Association has guidelines for doctors to use in giving you a rating.

    There are a number of strategies that go into this, like the timing, the doctor to use for the rating, and a number of other factors that will be specific to your injury and your case.  

    And remember, the workers comp insurance company is going to fight this - they will send you to one of their doctors who will say there is nothing wrong with you, your injury wasn't caused by your work, it's not a permanent injury, it's a very slight permanent injury, that kind of thing.  And insurance company adjusters and lawyers are trained to fight any claim for permanent injury - in fact, they start setting that up from day 1 (all the more reason you need the best lawyer for you and your family at the beginning of your case).

    There are a number of ways handle the permanent injury aspect of your DC workers comp case - they can include hearings, stipulations and settlements.  All of these have their place, it's just a matter of making the best decision on your workers comp case for you and your family as to what is right for you - and that's really our mission, to work your case, giving you the advice, guidance and counsel you need to make the best decision for you and your family.

    If you've got a permanent injury, or think your injury will be permanent at some point, give us a call at (202) 393 - 3320 to talk about it.  Sometimes just one free, no obligation call can prevent you from making a huge mistake that will affect your case - don't take that chance with your future.

     

     

  • What is this Surgery Going to Do To My Career?

    We hear this all the time from people who have been seriously injured at work. They have a torn rotator cuff, or a slipped disc and they have been referred to surgery from their treating physician for a shoulder replacement or a spinal fusion. To anyone, especially someone who has been working heavy-duty for most of their life, the prospects are terrifying. Best case scenario, he can still play with his grandchildren. Worst case scenario, the surgery doesn't take and he is both in pain and debilitated for the long term. 

    Neither prospect sounds like something he wants.

    And he's not entirely sure of what he needs.

    And to be completely transparent, we've seen the worst happen. Every surgery is a risk, and not every surgery takes. We recently had a seriously injured worker have shoulder surgery and with rehab he was back to work inside of six months. On other cases, we have seen spinal fusions or shoulder replacements end up needing a second surgery or dealing out chronic pain.

    So how's a lawyer going to help you with that?

    The reality is that there is very little we can do about your actual medical treatment prognosis. But we are very passionate about going to bat for you and make sure your recommended treatment is authorized and your benefits checks keep coming. We just won a financial award for a seriously injured worker with a back injury who's benefits had been denied by the insurance company.

    Your life can change considerably after a serious injury, which is why you need an attorney to make sure you and your family are taken care of no matter what. Even if you are a Union Guy or Gal you may need to consider hiring your own attorney - your attorney should hit all of the indicators on the checklist.

    We hear all the time from people who feel like they are just "being run through the mill."

    You'll never be just another number with us.

    Have you been seriously injured at work and you are worried you might have a permanent injury? Are you afraid to have surgery? Do you need surgery and it's not being authorized?

    Give us a call today. We have helped many clients turn their lemons into lemonade - a permanent injury may be daunting but it doesn't have to ruin your life.

    Have you met Bob? He had two rotator cuff surgeries and ended up with a permanent injury. More on his story click here......

     

  • Hartford Denied My Workers Comp Case - What should I do?

    First, don't panic.  Hartford and other workers comp insurance companies in DC routinely deny legitimate claims for workers comp benefits after someone has been hurt at work.  We see this all the time.

    You should receive a Notice of Controversion within 14 days of when your company knows about the injury (and a critical part of any DC workers comp case is making sure you notify your employer about your injury - you need to do that in writing, sometimes employers will have an incident or injury form, or tell your boss or supervisor that the injury happened at work.  It's not enough to tell a co-worker or just to say "my back is hurting").  The Notice of Controversion Hartford files should give a reason why they are denying the claim.

    Sometimes that reason is they just don't have enough information - maybe they haven't gotten your medical records that relate the injury to your work and your doctor's opinion that you cannot work. That's another critical piece to get your case going.

    If your injury is serious - you need surgery, or you'll miss a lot of time from work - this is the time to get a DC workers comp lawyer who can help.  Because once that Notice of Controversion is filed, they don't have to pay your benefits if you can't work or your medical treatment.  It's up to you to request a Formal Hearing so a judge can decide the case.

    Because of the way we work the case up for you, any times we can get the insurance company to start the benefits and provide the medical treatment well before the hearing - but you need that hearing in place.

    Need more info on what to do if Hartford is your workers comp insurance company?

    Call us today at 202-393-3320 for a FREE copy of the only book on workers comp written for workers injured in the DMV (it's the book the insurance company doesn't want you to read) to learn what you have to do to make sure the insurance company doesn't take advantage of you and your family after a serious injury at work. 

  • What Medical Records Do I Need for My Workers Comp Case?

    Here at Donahoe Kearney we get a lot of calls from people who want us to review their case - which is fantastic because that is what we like to do. However sometimes its just not clear what you need - and this can be a really stressful time for you if you're seriously hurt and worried about your future, your medical treatment and your finances, we totally get that.   Because let's face it - you've never been injured like this before, never been through the DC workers comp system and you might now know the difference between a treating physician and a specialist and a pain management doctor. And this is simply because you've never been here before!

    In any injury case it's always the most important thing to get your medical treatment. Some people might be tempted to wait until their treatment is authorized (in a workers' comp case or sometimes in a car accident). However, if you have personal insurance or can pay on your own you need to use it in order to get the treatment you need. The strongest case that we can build is one with strong medical treatment and strong support, through the medical records, for your case.

    This is because a lot of times, especially in a workers' comp case, the insurance company will deny the case simply because they don't have medical records and so they will deny the case as a matter of course, to test and see whether or not the injured worker will challenge the decision.

    Here's an example of the medical records request form that we use here at Donahoe Kearney to keep track of your medical treatment - and this is for all types of injury cases in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia, but it's especially helpful for you if you get hurt at work in DC and are in the workers comp system.  You better believe your workers comp insurance adjuster is tracking everything!  Especially with her team of nurses, doctors, investigators and lawyers working for the insurance company and against you (whether you know it or not).

    MEDICAL RECORDS REQUEST

    Name:

    Date Completed:

    To ensure your medical records are completely up to date, please answer the below questions. Please email the completed document to me at [email protected].  Should you have any questions, please call us at 202-393-3320. Thank you!

    Would you please confirm your current treating physician?

     

     

    When did you last see this doctor?

     

    When is your next appointment scheduled?

     

    When did you last send us your records?

     

    Are you seeing a separate doctor for pain management?

     

    When did you last see this doctor?

     

    When is your next appointment scheduled?

     

    When did you last send us your records?

     

    Are you seeing any other specialists?

     

    When did you last see this doctor?

     

    When is your next appointment scheduled?

     

    When did you last send us your records?

     

    Are you seeing any other specialists?

     

    When did you last see this doctor?

     

    When is your next appointment scheduled?

     

    When did you last send us your records?

     

    Generally speaking the "Treating Physician" is the doctor that you are seeing every month and is more or less the hub of your medical treatment. A general physician, a specialist, and a pain management physician can all be treating physicians so long as that particular person is your "main" doctor. And you can have all three and they can be different doctors - it just depends upon your injury and the complexity of your injury.

    If we are investigating your case, we want to know who are your doctors, when you last saw them, do you have a work note, and do you have your supporting progress notes. That will help us determine the medical aspects of your case, and see if we can give you specific advice and/or potentially take your case.

    Are you knee-deep in medical records from a serious injury and not sure which doctors and important, where your case is legally, and what to do next? You should probably focus on your recovery and let us take care of everything else for you.

    Give us a call today at 202-393-3320 and you'll speak to a real person who wants to hear your story - and hopefully can help!

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Nope. Probably not.

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

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

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

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

    Do you want more information on how this works?

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

    CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR FREE COPY TODAY

  • What is the max workers comp benefit rate in DC?

     

    DC Workers Comp Benefits 

     

    Pursuant to the District of Columbia Workers' Compensation Act of 1979, D.C. Official Code,§ 32-1505, effective January 1, 2019, the maximum weekly compensation payment for the District of Columbia private sector workers' compensation claims is $1,521.74 The minimum weekly compensation payment is $380.44.

     

    That is a 2% increase from last year.

     

     

    Looking for more info on Maximum Compensation Rates for DC Workers' Compensation over they years?

    CLICK HERE

     

    Are you wondering what type of compensation rates you might be entitled to for your work injury? Have you heard terms floating around like permanent partial disability PPD or permanent total disability PTD? 

     

    Don't wonder any more. Call us! We always make sure that our clients are getting paid the highest possible rate (if you have more than one job, check out this article on wage stacking).

     

    Don't wait until you've already screwed up your case. It is possible to get too far down the line and the insurance adjuster will pull out their bag of tricks if you are unsuspecting.

     

     

    Call us at 202-393-3320 today.

  • Is your insurance adjuster running away with hundreds of your dollars?

    Is your DC workers' compensation insurance adjuster running away with hundreds of your dollars?

    Know someone with a serious work injury who doesn’t know what to do next?

    Have them check out a replay of our Webinar to learn the 5 Killer Mistakes of Workers Comp and how to avoid them. It’s got great information on what to do after you get hurt at work – and they can watch from the comfort of their own home – hopefully before they talk to the insurance company.

    Here’s the site for the replay …..https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmXSLUBAaLIRlcXzSKPUytg

    Or just have them call us and we’ll send them a link!  Thanks for watching.

  • If I don't get a lawyer for my case, where will I be in five years?

    Do You Really Need a Lawyer for Your Workers Comp Case?

    People who have been through a major medical trauma, like a work injury, a case of medical malpractice or a serious auto accident tend to not be thinking very clearly. When you're in that space you're more thinking "what do I need to do, to get through just today," and not so much like "where is this going to take me five years down the road?"

    And that is totally okay, and acceptable, and normal. However, we have watched many people go through the process of recovering from a serious accident, and many of them don't know that five years down the road their life could look radically different.

    And they're unprepared when life hands them major changes.

    You may be asking, like what?

    Here is a "for-instance."

    A union worker who didn't know his rights, and didn't realize he might need an attorney, literally threw away hundreds of dollars every single week because his "helpful" claims adjuster told him to file his workers' comp claim forms in the wrong state (the worker didn't know the workers comp benefit rate in Maryland was $400 less that in D.C. - but the insurance adjuster sure did).

    5 years down the road he may be unable to return to work, unable to properly care for his family, and unable to fully recover his lost wages because of the limits in the state where his claim is filed.

    There are a few other situations, which confidentiality prevents me from discussing, where people have quite possibly foregone large settlements because at the time they didn't think they needed an attorney.

    The reality is that you may not need an attorney, especially if you have a relatively minor injury and can return to the same type of work. And you can't trust every attorney to be up front with you about that. But, we will be honest with you because we only take serious cases where we can make a big impact in someone's life. We make it a practice not to waste your time, or ours.

    So give us a call today at 202-393-3320 for a free review of the facts of your case. If necessary, we will take a look at your medical records (confidentially with no cost associated) to help you determine whether or not you need a lawyer. And if you do need a lawyer for your serious injury case, you've come to the right place.

    Here's to being happy, healthy, and free five years down the road!

    (And for the right people - we help make that happen)

  • What if the doctors are recommending surgery, but I don't want it?

    Can the insurance company force you to have surgery?

    One of our clients recently asked me "can the insurance company force me to have surgery?" He has a serious injury, and both his treating physician and the insurance company doctors are recommending surgery. But he is a smart guy, and he knows that surgery doesn't always "take." There are well documented risks with any significant surgery and he and his doctor have discussed those.  In fact, we currently have another client who is considering a second spinal fusion because his first one didn't "take," and his pain has progressively gotten back to pre-surgery levels.

    These are great guys- fantastic workers who got seriously hurt at work - and who didn't deserve any of this. 

    Nobody wants to trade chronic pain for painful surgery recovery, only to be followed by more chronic pain. And although most qualified surgeons put the odds of a successful spinal fusion to improve pain in your favor, it's still a big decision for any patient.  

    And there is concern, according to US News and World Reports, that spinal fusions are over-utilized.

    Have you been seriously injured at work and your doctor, or the insurance doctor is recommending surgery?

    Call us today as 202-393-3320

    So, back to the question.

    Can the insurance company force you to have surgery?

    The answer is no, so don't listen to the insurance company and the adjuster on this. They cannot force you to undergo an invasive surgical procedure in a D.C. workers comp case.  But if surgery is being recommended by your treating physician and the independent (defense medical) exam, doctor, or any second opinion doctor you went to on your own (and we advise our clients to get a second opinion) it is something you should consider and determine what will be best for you and your family, both now and long term.  Surgery can give relief and increase mobility, which is critical as you get older. 

    If the insurance adjuster is smart, he or she may recognize that ultimately surgery is a gamble for the insurance company as well (they are responsible for anything that goes wrong in the surgery, or if it makes your condition worse) plus it's more expensive for the workers comp insurance company than conservative treatment.   So, it really depends on what you decide - what you think is best for your serious injury and how it will affect you.

    The good news is, we have a strategy, for you.

    For our clients, we know the details and risks of their medical treatment and we can give them all of the information they need, and options for their DC workers comp case so they can decide the best course of action. Let's face it - for some serious medical conditions and injuries, surgery is the treatment of choice.  But we would never allow a workers comp insurance company to force a client into having surgery  if he or she wasn't comfortable having surgery, so we would work hard to negotiate a different outcome for them, such as a settlement or long-term pain management and other types of conservative medical treatment. On the other hand if our client wants surgery and is aware of the risks, we will fight for that as well.

     

    It's critical for you and your family to get all of the information you need about the workers comp system before making an important decision on surgery - call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to get the information you need.