D.C. Maryland and Virginia medical malpractice, accidents and work injuries questions answered by D.C. injury attorneys.
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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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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?
What else did she tell you? 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.
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...
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.
But there is help available.
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.
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.
How does PPE affect the safety conditions in my work environment?
Does PPE Protect You From a Work Injury?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to protect workers from getting seriously injured while working. PPEs can be face shields, hard hats or safety glasses. They can also be garments such as gloves, vests, coveralls, earplugs, or devices such as respirators. Even though PPE requirements will vary depending on the industry and materials each industry handles, both employers and employees are responsible for using PPEs properly. Employers are required to identify workplace hazards and use PPEs, as well as other methods to reduce hazards. Employers must also train and require workers to use PPEs. Meanwhile, it is the employees’ responsibility to report problems with the equipment to employers.
It is important to know that using a PPE doesn’t eliminate work hazards. It only helps prevent injury due to work hazards. For example, hard hats on a work site are required to help prevent head injuries from falling equipment. Requiring workers to wear hard hats doesn’t eliminate the risk of equipment falling but it can help prevent injuries. So, employers need to implement methods like using PPEs to help reduce risks of serious injuries in a given work environment.
One way you can protect yourself and your crew is to make sure your work environment is up to standards. This could help prevent life-changing injuries.
Here are some of the organizations that published guidelines for standards of care for workers, PPE requirements, and more:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an organization that created standards of care for workers. Besides OSHA’s PPE requirements, the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI), ASTM International (ASTM), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also publish standards for the manufacture, testing and use of PPE.
Do You Know Someone Who Has Had a Serious Work Accident?
If you know someone with a serious work injury or have questions about workers compensation in D.C., Maryland or Virginia, contact our experienced workers compensation lawyers today and order one of our free guides on workers compensation or the book, Protect Your Rights: The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers’ Compensation or by calling (202) 393-3320.
What are some of the workers’ compensation benefits available in the District of Columbia?
If You've Been Injured at Work, Here are Some of the Common Benefits Available in the District of Columbia:
Temporary Total Disability:
An injured worker is entitled to temporary total disability benefits if he or she is unable to return to work because of the on-the-job injury. With this benefit, the worker is paid 2/3 of his or her average weekly wage.
Temporary Partial Disability:
A worker was injured at work but his doctor says he can return to work only on restricted duty or light duty. This worker is entitled to temporary partial disability benefits, based on the difference between the pre-injury average weekly wage and the post-injury earnings. For instance, in the District of Columbia, temporary partial disability benefits are 2/3 of the difference between the worker’s average weekly wage and the new income.
Permanent Partial Disability:
The difference between this level of disability and the first two is that with the first two, the employee is expected to return to work after recovery and to be able to perform to his or her full capacity. A worker who is permanently impaired from an on-the-job injury is entitled to permanent partial disability.
It is important to note that these are just the basic definitions. However, it’s much more complex than this because there are many different variables that play into the situation. For example, injuries to the back or neck are compensated by temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, or permanent partial disability, based upon wage loss. Another factor that is taken into account is the nature of the injured worker’s job.
Workers’ compensation cases are extremely complex and time consuming. Once you’re injured on the job, make sure you have all the information and have all the help you can get. One simple mistake can cost you thousands of dollars each week. Call us today at (202)393-3320 to speak to us about your work-related injury so we can work together to make sure you’re receiving all the benefits that are available for you. This will help you stop worrying about the finances and start focusing on getting better.
Have Your Workers Comp Benefits Been Denied? Contact our Workers Compensation Lawyers Today
If you're worried about getting benefits after a work injury, you're not alone. Our experienced workers comp lawyers can get you started on the right path to protect yourself and your family. Contact us today at 202-393-3320.