D.C. Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, accidents and work injuries questions answered by D.C. injury attorneys.
Get The Help You Need Now
Contact us directly 202-393-3320
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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Can I Keep My Workers Comp Case If I Switch Jobs?
You Can Keep Your Workers Compensation Case If You Switch Jobs After A Work Injury In DC
A serious work injury in Washington DC sometimes means that you don't go back to work for a long time while you are recovering. That means that if you are an at-will employee, your employer can replace you if you're not there to do the job. It also means that if you take a different job that fits your work restrictions, your workers compensation claim goes with you especially if you are earning less money. And an experienced workers compensation lawyer in DC can help you through all of it
What we don't recommend is for someone who is on workers compensation to go back to work before being cleared by their doctor. We see this all the time - injured workers are always itching to get back to work so they can keep providing for their families and secure their job for the future. The problem with this is that, while their intentions are noble, injured workers who don't wait to be cleared by their doctor often re-injure themselves and wind up being out of work longer than they would have if they had been patient and followed doctor's orders.
At the point of reinjury, you have already messed up your workers compensation case. Once you are back to work against doctor's orders, the insurance company has a reason to deny your benefits for non-compliance. And then you can't work and also are not covered by benefits (income replacement).
At Donahoe Kearney, Our Number One Priority Is To Keep Your Income Benefits Steady And Get Your Medical Treatment Authorized While You Are Off Of Work
Whether you are on full work restrictions or light duty, you are entitled to TTD (income replacement benefits depending on work status) and medical treatment while you are on workers comp. If you have been seriously injured, need surgery and are going to be out of work for awhile you need an experienced and aggressive lawyer like Frank Kearney to keep your income replacement benefits coming and medical treatment authorized. Most people who don't have an aggressive DC workers compensation lawyer have a lot of trouble with missing checks and long waiting periods in between authorizations for medical appointments or treatments. We have an aggressive staff who doesn't take any crap from the insurance company and knows how to spot the BS like deceipt, delay, and denial of workers comp benefits so you don't have to worry about where your check is from week to week.
If You Have Work Restriction After A Work Injury In DC, Contact Our Aggressive DC Workers Compensation Attorney Frank Kearney
If you are on work restrictions that mean you need someone to fight for your benefits while you can't work. The insurance company has plenty of doctors, lawyers, nurses, adjusters, etc. whose job it is to limit your benefits. Why should you not have an aggressive team of professionals on your side? Contact us today at 202-393-3320 to get started with our experienced team who will be able to help you the very same day.
I was hurt on the job in DC and my company says I have to go to Concentra for medical treatment. Is that true?
You Do Not Have To Go To Concentra For Medical Treatment After Your Injury.
A lot of employers will tell you that you have to go see their doctor or list of doctors after you get hurt at work in D.C. - the problem is, under D.C. Workers Comp law, that just isn't true.
Just yesterday, a private security guard with serious orthopedic injuries to her back and shoulder after a fall at work came to us with this very question. Her job's HR person told her she had to go to Concentra for medical treatment for her injuries. The HR person said workers comp insurance would not pay for her treatment otherwise.
That's just a lie.
In D.C. workers compensation cases, the injured worker gets to choose his or her own physicians - there is no panel of physicians like in some states, or approved list of physicians, or network - or anything like that.
Why Does Your Job Want You To Go To Concentra For Your Work Injury?
Because Concentra is a company of medical clinics that work for employers. All of the people who go there have a work injury - that is where they get all of their patients from.
According to your website, they specialize in "Occupational Medicine" or treating people who get hurt at work.
Think about that for a second. Is that a real specialty like orthopedics or neurosurgery? How would the location of where you got hurt matter to your diagnosis, whether you need surgery, your treatment plan? And ask yourself, why would your job want you to go to this place?
The Concentra website even says they will even make it easier for you by "helping you navigate the worker's compensation system."
Will they be helping you or the workers comp insurance company that pays the bills?
You Can Choose Your Own Doctor Under DC Workers Compensation.
If you've had a serious injury on the job in DC, you owe it to yourself and your family to get the best medical care available. With so many hospitals and doctors practicing in the DC area, with so many specialists, especially in orthopedics and neurosurgery, you can choose any one you want - a doctor who you are comfortable with and who has your best interest at heart.
Most physicians specializing in trauma and injuries take workers comp insurance, so you don't even pay a co-pay.
If you do go to Concentra, you should ask about the specialty and qualifications of the doctor (if you see one) who is treating you and, like any doctor, make sure they are qualified and experienced in treating your injury - whether it's a herniated disk in your back, fractured ankle, rotator cuff tear - no matter what the injury, there is a specialist for it.
But you should also know that if you do continue to treat with a doctor the insurance company or your employer sends you to, it will be hard to switch doctors later. At some point, the Office of Workers Compensation will say you have elected, or chosen, that doctor and he or she will be considered your treating physician for your work injury.
So know you have a choice.
Get The Attorney Who Wrote The Book On DC Workers Comp As Soon As You Can.
DC workers comp is a complicated system that you don't want to go through alone if you have a serious injury at work that threatens your career, or is permanent, or you need surgery.
In addition to the DC Workers Compensation Act, there are case law decisions and 58 chapters of regulations interpreting the statute, and an agency of the D.C. government administers it.
You don't want to make a mistake that could cost you everything you've worked hard for. And you don't want to be nervous, anxious and worried about whether the workers comp insurance company is taking advantage of you (that is their job).
So get your case, your benefits, your medical treatment squared away from the beginning so you can focus on getting better.
Call us today at (202) 393 - 3320. There is no charge unless we win or settle your case. And even if we can't help you, we'll send you a copy of our book on the workers comp system and some other great information.
But don't wait - the workers comp insurance company already has experienced adjusters, lawyers, nurses, doctors, case managers and investigators on their side - probably working to deny, delay or limit your benefits and medical treatment right now.
Call or contact us today to get started.
The workers comp insurance adjuster says I have to give a recorded statement before I can get D.C. workers comp benefits. Is this true?
You Do Not Have to Give a Recorded Statement to Get Workers Comp Benefits in D.C
Unfortunately, we hear this a lot from people who have been legitimately hurt on the job in DC and should be receiving DC workers comp benefits.
There is absolutely no requirement that you give a recorded statement to your adjuster in order to start your workers comp benefits in D.C. In fact, we don't let our clients give recorded statements.
Why Does The Workers Comp Adjuster Want You to Give a Statement?
Here's the deal - the insurance company adjuster has handled hundreds (if not thousands) of workers compensation claims in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. She knows how to steer people hurt at work to file in the wrong state, or go to an insurance company doctor, or twist their words when giving a statment, or get information they can use to deny or delay your legitimate claim for workers comp benefits...
You've had one work injury and its serious enough that you may need workers compensation benefits.
Who knows more about the laws, practice and procedures of workers compensation?
The Insurance Adjuster's Job Is To Make Money For the Insurance Company.
It's not to take care of you and your family.
You've worked hard for everything you've gotten your whole life. Don't let them take it away just because you don't know the workers comp law and systems (in addition to the D.C. Workers Compensation Act, there are 58 chapters of regulations that govern that statute, plus case law decisions interpreting it by both the Compensation Review Board (part of a D.C. agency) and the D.C. Court of Appeals (the highest court in D.C.))
You can bet the insurance company has training, seminars, and updates on the law, procedures and policies in effect for DC workers compensation. Plus they have an army of adjusters, lawyers, doctors, investigators, nurse case managers and others working to reduce the amount they have to pay you for benefits and medical treatment.
Who have you got?
Get The Attorney Who Literally Wrote the Book on D.C. Workers Compensation
If you depend on your income to feed your family and you can't work because of an on the job injury, don't take any chances against a workers comp insurance company that has absolutely no duty to you (their duty is to make money for their shareholders).
Mr. Kearney, a nationally recognized attorney, author and advocate for working people, who is Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, actually wrote the only book for workers injured on the job in the DMV.
Here are some other things workers comp insurance companies tell people who were injured at work that are wrong and can hurt your case, so watch out!:
- That you had to sign some forms before she could send benefits check
- That you had to see a doctor on an approved list in D.C.
- That you should file your workers compensation claim in Maryland because you live there
You don't have to (and shouldn't do) any of those things. If your workers comp adjuster has told you this, you need to call us right away at (202) 393 - 3320 to get the right information so you don't get taken advantage of by the workers comp insurance company.
There Is Help Available. Contact Our Experienced Workers Comp Lawyers Today
Order one of our free guides to workers compensation, or better yet, read our book to find the answers to these and many more questions about what to do when you get hurt at work and need workers compensation benefits and stop you from making mistakes that will hurt you financially, medically and emotionally. And then give us a call at 202-393-3320. We are looking forward to helping you navigate workers comp - you don't have to do it alone!
What if My Company Doesn't Have Light Duty Work for Me?
What is Light Duty When You're on Workers' Comp in DC, Maryland or Virginia?
Before going back to work, the doctor can put you on light duty. Basically, he gives you restrictions that say you can do some activities, but not everything your job requires. Usually your doctor will say you can't lift over 20 pounds after a back injury, or no overhead work after a torn rotator cuff surgery, or no climbing ladders after a knee surgery. If you have any type of restriction from your work injury that prevents you from doing your regular job, and your company offers you work within those restrictions, that's light duty.
Did you know that sometimes light duty can actually help you recover more quickly, and get you back to work in shorter time? See how light duty can help you here.
What Is Light Duty?
Remember,light duty means that you're at work performing some duties (not the full duties of your job) and you are being paid accordingly. Also, remember, if you are earning less money than you were at the time you got hurt (and that's per week, not just your hourly rate) you should be getting workers comp checks to make up the difference while you're on light duty.
The simple way to calculate it is this:
If you are getting paid the same per week (with overtime and bonuses calculated for your weekly wage) you will get a paycheck from your company again and you won't get any further workers' comp benefit.
Here's how it works:
If you're making less money on light duty because you are working less hours or can't do overtime like you used to, your workers comp benefits would be 2/3 of the difference between your wages at the time you got hurt and the new light duty job. These benefits are called Temporary Partial Disability benefits.
Light duty doesn't stop you from getting your disability benefits, but if you're offered light work duty work within your restrictions and you turn it down, the workers comp insurance company can stop or reduce your benefits. (And you should bet they will).
But, What Should You Do if Your Employer Doesn’t Offer Light Duty?
If your company doesn't offer light duty work, they have to continue to pay your full workers compensation rate.
Many construction companies do not have light duty in the trade. So, even though a doctor may say you can return to some work with restrictions, until you are cleared to return to full duty, your workers' comp benefits should continue at the full rate. So it is really important to get a note or disability slip from your doctor indicating any restrictions or limitations you have because of the work injury.
Workers' Comp Check Coming Late?
Click here to see what to do. We know that just because the workers' compensation check is late, it doesn't mean that you can pay your bills late, so make sure you contact an experienced workers comp lawyer right away if your checks are coming late
Contact Our Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyers Today
You're probably under a lot of stress due to the uncertainty - most people are - because how can you know what or how much you should be getting, or how to get the best medical care for your injuries, or what type of benefits you can get in the future? Don't worry -we help you with all that.So just call us at 202-393-3320 and you will speak with a real person who wants to hear your story. We make time to answer questions about work injuries in D.C., Maryland and Virginia every week and we'd love to hear from you.
What If My Doctor Recommends Surgery But the Insurance Company Says It's Not Necessary?
What Happens When Travelers or The Hartford Denies Surgery Recommended by Your Doctor?
The insurance company doesn't always go according to the recommendation of your treating physician. In fact, one of our clients had to have two surgeries because the first one resulted in a serious condition called frozen shoulder and he struggled to get the second surgery authorized.
If the insurance company is refusing to authorize the recommendation of your treating physician, you should call an attorney. Often the insurance company will hire their own doctor to examine you, who is paid by them and will most of the time find in favor of them. They call this exam an Independent Medical Examination, or IME. We call it what it really is - an Insurance Medical Exam paid for by the insurance company and for the benefit of the insurance company. You're not there for medical treatment and the doctor has no duty to you (most won't even talk to you - they'll say you just have to get the report from the workers' comp insurance company).
What Can I Do After My Surgery Is Denied By My Workers Comp Insurance Company?
Sometimes the only way to get your treatment authorized is through filing for an informal conference (mediation) or a formal hearing. The informal conference is non-binding but might help to reconcile the differences between the two sides. If that doesn't work or for more serious adjudication issues, a formal hearing will result is a binding decision from an adjudication judge.
At Donahoe Kearney we use all of the process to your advantage: to pressure the insurance company to do the right thing, or have a judge order them to do the right thing. There are no insurance company tactics, strategies, or tricks that we haven't seen (and we can see them coming and prepare you for them). We will do everything we can to make sure your treatment is authorized and that you are on the road to healing.
If you have been caught up in an IME battle or the workers' comp adjuster is denying or delaying your medical treatment after a serious work injury, give us a call at 202-393-3320 or email us at [email protected] to get a free copy of our report "Scheduled: A Guide to Appointments with the Workers Comp Insurance Doctor and How to Protect Yourself."
Ready to Hire an Experienced Workers Comp Lawyer Now?
Contact our experienced workers compensation lawyers at 202-393-3320 to get help now. You'll speak to a real person who can help you get started on your road to success.
Do We Have to Sue My Husband's Employer for Workers' Compensation in Washington, DC?
My husband was hurt at work in D.C. We don't want to sue his company, we just want fair compensation. What should we do?
We get this question all the time. Most people have never had to have a lawyer, have never gotten seriously hurt at work, have never gone through this before. Before you do anything - sign any forms, talk to the adjuster, go see the insurance company doctor - you need to get information. Get started by ordering a free copy of my D.C. workers compensation book.
If your husband has a minor injury and is back to work quickly, he may not need a lawyer. But if the injury is serious, if he is out of work for a long time, needs medical treatment, needs surgery, has an injury that will flare up in the future or is permanent, you should call us now at (202) 393 - 3320 so we can answer your specific questions based on your specific situation.
There is a big difference between filing for a workers compensation insurance claim and suing your employer. Filing for workers compensation is opening a claim with an insurance company- much like you would after a car accident or if someone was injured at your home. Your husband's employer may do everything they can for him but they have a workers compensation insurance company that is calling the shots. And the insurance company doesn't know or care about your husband or any injured worker - the insurance company is in business to make money for its shareholders and they make money by paying injured workers less.
How do they do that? They will never tell you all of the benefits you are entitled to under the law (because they don't want to pay for them). They will send you to one of their doctors for medical treatment for your injury (is an insurance doctor likely to recommend tests or specialists that the insurance company has to pay for). They may even send you to some type of "worker's clinic" they fund where you won't see a specialist (or even a doctor usually) for treatment. Don't get me started on these "worker's clinics" but I wouldn't send my dog there. If your husband was injured in DC, he has the right to choose his own doctor for independent treatment.
Choose the Right Lawyers for Your Husband's Work Injury Claim
An experienced workers compensation lawyer knows how to get benefits fors an injured worker and follow through on an eventual settlement of the claim. We don't get between an injured worker and his company - we only deal with the workers comp insurance company. And our goal is always to get fair compensation for an injured worker - and that includes everything - like compensation for time off work, proper medical care, and permanent injury benefits.
Give us a call today at 202-393-3320 to learn the realities about DC Workers' Compenation, and discover how to protect yourself and your family.
Can I Work at Another Job When I'm on Workers Comp?
What Are Workers' Compensation Benefits?
Getting workers' compensation benefits in D.C., Maryland or Virginia means you've had an injury at work and are getting medical treatment or disability payments while you can't work due to the injury.
If I'm on Workers' Comp for One Job, Can I Be Working at Another Job?
The short answer is no, and the long answer is also no. If you're getting workers' comp benefits, you can't be working somewhere else. That's fraud and you will be required to pay back the workers' comp benefits and could also go to jail. Here's what happened to one of these cheaters.
What Should I Do When I'm on Workers Compensation?
There's a lot, but here are a few tips:
- Go to all of your doctor's appointments and get all the treatment you need;
- Provide your out of work (disability) slips to your insurance company;
- Let your employer know if your doctor says you can return to work with restrictions and see if they have any light or modified duty for you.
The workers compensation system can be overwhelming - unfair, burdensome, slow and difficult. But don't make it harder on yourself by doing something you shouldn't.
If You Have a Serious Injury, You Probably Need an Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyer to Help You
One of the ways you can make things really hard on yourself is by not hiring an attorney to advocate for your rights. Don't hesitate or wait to call us at 202-393-3320; you will speak to an experienced staff member today who will take down your information for review at no cost or obligation to you. And order our free report 5 Mistakes That Will Absolutely Kill Your Workers Comp Case today to get started. What have you got to lose? The answer is benefits, medical treatments, and appropriate settlement if you have a complicated case and no attorney. Give us a call today: 202-393-3320.
Can My Adjuster Force me to Have Surgery?
Don't Settle for Allowing Your Adjuster to Control Your Medical Treatment
You may be wondering if your adjuster can force you to have surgery. The answer is no. They cannot force you to have an invasive surgical procedure. You obviously have a big decision when surgery is recommended but that recommendation should come from your treating doctor - a doctor who has examined and treated you over weeks, months or even years and has tried different therapies, injections, etc. before recommending surgery or has explained that the treatment for your injury is surgery - that therapy, injections, etc. won't help.
In D.C. you have the right to control your own medical care and treatment when you get hurt on the job. Everyone with an on-the-job injury and a workers compensation case in the District of Columbia has the right to choose his or her own treating doctor. Don't get bullied or lied to or tricked by the workers comp adjuster. She may send you an official letter with a list of doctors to choose from, or tell you they only pay for treatment by doctors in their network or on their panel, or that they have pre certified doctors willing to take workers comp insurance so you have to go to one of those.
None of it is true. Don't make the mistake of going to some insurance doctor who is looking out for the insurance company sending him business (you) instead of the patient's best interest.
And just this past Friday I heard another horror story about a "workers clinic" - that's a clinic that construction companies, insurance companies and employers send their people to when they get hurt on the job. The physician assistant did not refer the injured worker to a specialist in time and the delay may make the injury much worse. You should never settle for a "clinic" run by these people. Their job is to minimize the amount of medical treatment and time out of work the workers comp insurance company has to pay for.
If Your Nurse Case Manager or Adjuster is a Bully, Contact Our Experienced Workers Compensation Lawyers Today.
Don't settle for only what the insurance company has to offer. Call us today to discover the truth about DC Workers' Compensation. 202-393-3320. We will send your our free report Bullied | Is Your Nurse Case Manager a Bully and help you get started on the right track toward success on your case.
The Office of Workers Compensation Claims Examiner Recommended I Have an Informal Conference. What is That?
An Informal Conference is a Non-Binding Mediation For Contested Workers Compensation Claims
In D.C. workers' compensation cases, one of the ways to get an issue decided is through an informal conference. Just like the name suggests, it's informal, with very few rules. You don't testify under oath and there is no record or transcript of the testimony. Witnesses are not generally allowed but you can submit medical reports and other documents to the claims examiner. It's more of a mediation than anything else and the decision is not binding.
Here's what that means - the recommendation that comes out of this conference is not binding on the parties. Either side can reject it and request a formal hearing (which requires testimony under oath, creates a record and can result in a Compensation Order).
Here at Donabhoe Kearney we usually advise not going to an informal conference if you are out of work due to your injury but the insurance company is contesting it. They are just going to reject the recommendation and proceed to a formal hearing. All you've done is delay your benefits by a couple of months to engage in this process and given the insurance company free discovery and more time to build their defenses. With our clients, we always proceed directly to a formal hearing.
Sometimes an informal conference is necessary: for example if you want to change physicians and the insurance company won't approve the change. But if you're not getting paid by the insurance company, it's just a waste of time and you'll need to go to a formal hearing so you can get a binding decision from a judge. But don't go it alone. You'll need an experienced workers compensation lawyer like Frank Kearney to win your benefits and keep your medical treatment authorized.
Get More Free Information Today About Your DC Workers Compensation Claim
You can learn more about formal heatings and many other critical topics in the signature book on workers' compensation, Protect Your Rights: The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers Compensation. You can order it online or call us at 202-393-3320 and we are happy to send you a free copy.
If you have questions about whether you should go to informal conference, give us a call at 202-393-3320 to speak with a real person today. We will take down your information for no cost and no obligation.
I was hurt at work in DC. Does my company have to provide light duty?
Light Duty in DC Workers Comp Cases
In workers compensation cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, it’s up to your company to provide light duty if you can't do your regular job because of your injury but your doctor says you can do some work, or work with restrictions - in other words, it’s the employer's choice to offer light duty work - and some do but others don't.
Some employers have true light duty jobs available that they can move an injured worker to - and if so, that injured worker would receive his regular salary instead of workers comp benefits for the time he is on light duty.
Other companies may create a light duty job or have a light duty program. A construction company could have a construction worker with a shoulder injury sit in the trailer, or make sure everyone wears a hard hat. A transit employer could have injured workers watch a parking lot. Again the injured employee would be paid his regular salary instead of workers compensation benefits.
One thing to keep in mind is that even if you are receiving your standard hourly rate in a light duty job, you may be owed additional workers compensation benefits (called temporary partial disability). This is because your average weekly wage (which includes overtime, bonuses and may include income from a second job) could be more than your standard hourly rate.
What if your company doesn't have light duty work and can't make up a light duty job for you?
They have to pay your full workers compensation benefits, also called temporary total disability, or TTD, just as if your doctor said you could not do any work because of the injury.
One thing to watch out for if you have a Virginia workers compensation case - if you are not under an Award, you must look for light duty work within your restrictions (called marketing your residual capacity) even if you will be released to your regular duty job with your company in a short time.
Light Duty Restrictions and Vocational Rehabilitation
And in DC cases, the workers comp insurance company may start vocational rehabilitation - hiring a vocational specialist to look for jobs for you within your restrictions. If you are in vocational rehabilitation, please call us - we have a lot to tell you about the process (it is sometimes a sham and the insurance company will use it to cut off your benefits, so be careful).
The bottom line with light duty is it depends on the employer. But the key to any light duty job is to make sure it is within your doctor's restrictions - you don't want to do anything to risk further injury or delay the recovery from your injury.
Every employer does something different and every case depends on specific factors. So if you have questions, call us at (202) 393-3320.