Donahoe Kearney - February 2020


February 2020


Does Technology Help or Harm Us?

If you’ve seen me in court or we’ve met in the office, you get that I’m old school when it comes to technology — I actually write stuff down and take notes by hand. And I don’t have a lot of patience for the newest tech thing (ask anyone who works here, my family or our tech company).

But even if you’re tech-challenged like me, here’s a cool question to consider (and it’s not “what is my &^%$# password?”):

Would you rather be the richest man in the world 100 years ago (probably John Rockefeller) or have an average amount of wealth today? I’ve got a feeling many of you would choose a regular existence in the 21st century rather than a lavish one a century in the past. That’s what I would want for one important reason: I don’t want to give up my access to modern technology. In the past century, and even in the past decade with the rise of smartphones and the internet of things, we have drastically changed the livelihoods of people everywhere with advances in technology. Modern medicine has mitigated and outright eradicated numerous diseases, better agricultural technology has led to healthier people all over the world, and Wi-Fi and 4G have helped us stay better connected to one another. Even as someone who can never remember my password, I love all the advancements in technology over the past century Not too long ago, a client of mine lost parts of both arms and feet as a result of medical malpractice. She can still connect with friends and relatives using her cellphone, and adaptive technology keeps her safe when she is home alone. With a little help and adaptation, she can drive a car and take her two kids to church, the store, school events, and more. It takes a lot of guts and courage for this mom to live a full life most of us take for granted. And it wouldn’t have been possible even 20 years ago. That’s one thing I think gets lost in the constant complaining about people being addicted to their smartphones, screen-time, and all of the time people waste due to technology. These kinds of advancements go a long way toward improving the lives of disabled people everywhere. And that’s just one real-world example of how improvements in smart tech have improved someone’s day-to-day life.

And because of that, this mom has enriched the lives of many others (including mine).

With the development of faster and smarter computers over the last decade, we’re also living in the “age of accelerations” — where we can’t keep up with advancements — and yes, there is a downside: Cyber criminals, like criminals everywhere, seem to be the first to adapt to new things and exploit them. But the “good guys” always catch up. We hear a lot about people being addicted to their phones, complaining about 24/7 access to everything, and how unhealthy it all is. Well, that’s probably true. Here’s something else that is true — all these devices have an off button. So yes, we can pity “poor” Rockefeller — the richest man in the world without indoor plumbing, HVAC, medical devices, modern medicine, or access to so much information and so many people. But to really answer the question, you’d have to put down your cell phone and actually read a book on Rockefeller.

-Frank Kearney

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Like a lot of our clients, Richard Mooney is physically strong and tough. He battled back from a serious injury to keep working when he could have retired — probably because he has worked construction for 45 years. Over time, he worked his way up through the ranks from a carpenter and bricklayer to a construction superintendent (which means you’re responsible for the whole project — if the laborers don’t show up for work, you have to lift and carry the material and equipment to get the job done). But his thoughts on Valentine’s Day show that life is about a lot more than physical strength and toughness. This is his story. Even if it takes months or years to finally work, love always finds a way. I found my way to love over 30 years ago when I thought I would just be grabbing dinner with a friend from work and his family. The only peculiar thing I remember them saying when they invited me over was they wanted me to meet someone. That someone turned out to be Dee, to whom I have now been married for over 35 years. My friend knew I was single. They also knew Dee and that she was single. I don’t know if they thought very much about how we might hit it off. I doubt they heavily analyzed both our personalities or scrutinized the factors that might make us compatible. They just knew neither of us was married or dating anyone and thought we might be a good fit. They couldn’t have been more right. I honestly don’t remember much from that first dinner. I remember that she made an impression on me, though. I wanted to see her again, but back then we didn’t have cell phones or a way to easily stay in touch. Back then, people met one another through a shared community space or, as in our case, through a friend, which made it a little more difficult to connect. Time passed, and after what I remember as only a week or two (Dee remembers it being much longer — around two or three months), I had finally gotten a hold of her number again. It was a good thing, too. I think she had almost given up on me ever calling her. But I picked up the phone, asked her out on a proper date, and the rest is history. Even though it’s been 35 years, it feels like Dee and I only got married last week. After we tied the knot, we immediately had a full house. I had a child from a previous marriage, and she had three children from a previous marriage. We ended up having three more children together as well. I don’t think either of us had a clue what we were in for, but now our children are all grown up and have had kids of their own in the blink of an eye. Our seven kids gave us 22 grandkids, and we found out last year we’ll be great-grandparents in May.

Whatever plans I have on the horizon, I look forward to spending them with Dee. We love traveling, decorating our house for the holidays, and just spending quiet weekends at home together, watching old black and white movies by a crackling fireplace. We also enjoy doing Civil War reenactments together. It’s amazing how the joys of the past 35 years would not have happened if our friends hadn’t thought we might be a good match, or if I hadn’t called Dee and asked her on a date. I guess that’s a big part of love, though: taking a chance and hoping everything works out. When you meet them, you can tell Richard is “old school” and he means every word — he and Dee bring so much joy for life when they stop by the office together that we took their picture and put it on the office wall! -Richard &De e Mooney


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If You Think Your Disability Insurance Policy Will Keep You Financially Secure

employers may offer long-term disability benefits with the best of intentions, sometimes that insurance policy and its terms create real hurdles for you and provide a huge advantage for the insurance company to deny coverage and stop or limit your disability benefits. Let’s think about that for a minute: If you’re hurt and you can’t do your job, you may feel stranded and alone at sea with no escape except for this life raft your employer gave you. Well, as you inflate the raft you discover — guess what — there’s a giant hole in it!


FORMER CLIENT ROZANNE TRAVELS TO AFRICA TO KISS A GIRAFFE! The American dream is a beautiful thing: It includes working hard, earning enough money to feed yourself and your family, and having a roof over your head. We work hard and enjoy the fruits of our labor, and you’ve done that your whole life. But what if that dream turned into a nightmare? What if something happened that took away your ability to work? All of a sudden you can’t pay your bills or your rent — and instead of coming home to a happy household, you come home to a place of anxiety and fear, a place where you wonder if you’re going to lose everything you’ve worked for. It’s a scary thought, but it happens every day in America to people just like you who have planned, saved, and done the right thing all their lives. Here are the facts: One in five Americans live with some sort of disability. One quarter of all 20-year-olds will become disabled before they reach the age of retirement. Many people work in a job they enjoy, but chances are they’re working that job because they get paid for it. If you become sick or seriously injured and can’t physically perform the duties of your job, you want to be sure your disability insurance policy has you covered. While

What’s worse?

When they deny your claim for disability benefits, the insurance company is basically saying you’re faking, lying, or malingering. They’re saying they don’t believe your doctors and your test results. They don’t believe you .

They try to take your dignity. Don’t let them.

You may be stressed, worried, and upset (and dealing with the effects of a serious illness or injury), but you can fight back. It may be difficult, so you may need help from someone who believes in you, someone with a plan and ability to show the insurance company they were wrong about you. You can do it. But don’t just take our word for it — order our free report and find out for yourself that you can beat the insurance company. You just need the right attorney on your side. Call us at 202-393-3320 to learn more and order your free copy of this consumer guide today. disability-insurance.cfm

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

Rozanne Weissman suffered a serious work injury that left her with strict restrictions from her doctor when it comes to computer time. She has a visual impairment, and as a public relations professional who has built her career on her storytelling, copywriting, and editing skills, Rozanne had to make some adjustments when she could no longer spend a lot of time in front of a computer.

But that didn’t keep Rozanne down.

"Rozanne Travels to Africa to Kiss a Giraffe" was dictated entirely on Siri. Yes, you heard me right. She “wrote” the whole thing on Siri. Learn more about the book on Amazon at Giraffe/dp/1732150192 Our clients are the type of people who turn lemons into lemonade. You wouldn’t believe the resilience of people who have had serious work injuries and either change careers or figure out how to do their job with accommodations. We are so impressed with and proud of Rozanne.

Check out her website — she’s kind of a big deal.

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Our Secret Weapon That Benefits YOU

Q. Why do some businesses have a communications policy?

A . That is a great question. For us, our communications policy is really like a secret weapon, one we only use for good, of course ... but we do use it against insurance companies. Our communications policy allows us to do really important, high-level work for you. You see, many law firms are chaotic, and their lawyers go from one crisis to another based on a random order of phone calls and emails. They can’t do the real, important work on cases to help people, and they don’t get good results. We are different. So, that’s why we are very strict with this policy. We want to update you and inform you on your case — that’s why we schedule calls ahead of time and only read and respond to emails during scheduled times. And when we are working on your case, there are no other interruptions. We want to talk to you and take care of you and your family. That’s our responsibility, and we love it.



Meet Mark, a 53-year-old male who recently had his long-term disability case denied after a pretty serious accident that left him unable to return to work. Mark worked as a private contractor in the construction business for more than 30 years. He went to work every day enjoying what he did and was proud to provide for his family. Mark was never one to look for the “easy way out” either; he knew the right way was generally the hard way, and Mark did the right thing all his life. Unfortunately, life is always throwing us curveballs, and Mark had one of the worst curveballs thrown at him early in the spring one year when his brother suddenly passed away. Mark was close to his brother, and the two enjoyed their friendship more and more as they got older. As tragic as the death of his brother was, Mark had no way of knowing he would soon be facing even more trials. After his brother’s funeral, Mark was returning to his truck with his wife, their two adult children, and their three grandchildren walking beside him. The parking lot where his truck was parked is up a significantly steep incline. There was a cement staircase built into the hill, but the more elderly attendees were taking their time ascending the steps, so Mark decided to walk up the hill in the grass. Although the lawn was well maintained, a patch of overgrown grass disguised a very shallow hole along the path he was climbing. Without warning, Mark’s foot fell into the hole causing him to lose his balance and fall sideways onto his right shoulder. The jolt of the fall was so sudden and strong that Mark was unable to stabilize himself on the ground and he

began sliding and rolling down the hill. Faster and faster he fell, hitting what felt like every bone and joint in his body full force against the ground below him. He eventually came to a stop when he collided with a tree at the base of the hill bordering the cemetery where he’d just buried his dear brother. With Mark unable to move, his wife yelled out to anyone who could to come to his aid. Thankfully, there were more than enough people to help, but Mark had no control over his left leg or right arm and was in excruciating pain. He would need to be carried if he was to get anywhere. The paramedics were soon on the scene, and they loaded Mark onto a stretcher and into an ambulance where he was taken to the emergency room. The doctors took X-rays and it was discovered that Mark had a broken leg, a dislocated shoulder, a broken forearm, and a shattered wrist. The prognosis was grim, and the doctors told him it would be a long time and a tough road ahead with many physical therapy sessions required before Mark was able to return to any sense of normalcy. We created Mark as a composite fictional character — we wanted him to tell his story to help people understand the realities about long-term disability and the ways it can go wrong. Mark thought he was fortunate to have a long-term disability policy through his job. Mark, like many people, thought it would be easy.

STAY TUNED FOR PART II: What Happens to Mark Next.


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The other day, I caught up with one of our clients who had a particularly thorny case. He had a serious injury, is young, and had an insurance company that was more difficult than most to work with. He tried everything from chiropractic care to injections to deal with his injury, but his recovery was slow going. He was also constantly at risk of having his benefits cut off or lost by

Katy Perry during the 2013 inauguration. He was also a part of one of our favorite local unions, IATSE 22 (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees). Incidentally, IATSE does lots of really cool stuff — stay tuned for an article on them. I was over there a few months ago and they have real paraphernalia from “Les Misérables” and “Phantom of the Opera.” I got to hear really cool stories about different shows and actors. The dispatcher had an album full of tickets stubs she was kind enough to show me — she had everything from hip hop to theater to old-school R&B. I asked Kevin if he has any advice to give to other people who are going through workers’ comp. He laughed and said, “I’m not sure if I can offer any advice. Most of the time I just felt like I was barely making it through.” I had to laugh myself — sometimes that is really all you can do. The workers’ compensation system, by design, really puts you in a bind. If you have a workers’ compensation claim, you can’t collect it and work at the same time, which puts injured workers between a constant “rock and a hard place.” If that worker’s insurance company or adjuster is constantly looking for ways to stop paying them, they could go weeks or months without a paycheck because any work would kick them off of their insurance claim. It can be a mess. And that’s exactly where we come in — to help people (and fix the mess). Kevin has some pretty big plans for the future. He is talented with home renovations and construction and is hoping to launch his own LLC very soon. Way to go, Kevin! We are so happy you made it through the process and have come out swinging on the other end.

an inefficient workers’ compensation adjuster, and it was frustrating for him to have so little control over the workers’ compensation process (as is the case for most injured workers). It was a constant fight for him to keep his chiropractic care, which was the only treatment really giving him relief from his back pain. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by Kevin’s case because he was working as a stagehand when he got injured. He was building a set at Capitol One Arena and lifted something that caused a pretty serious lower back injury. Kevin went through a lot over the course of the settlement, but I could tell the difference in his voice when it was all through. He sounded relaxed, happy, and hopeful. I did ask Kevin a few nerdy questions about his work, such as, “What was the coolest thing you have ever done as a stagehand?” (I LOVE musical theater and shows, in general). He told me he has worked for “Cats,” done various theatrical work, and got to put the spotlight on the Obamas during both inaugurations and

Director of Client Services -Brooke Birkey

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Donahoe Kearney A T T O R N E Y S A T L A W 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 900 Washington, DC 20006 202.393.3320


1 An Old School Take on Modern Tech 2 35 Years and Counting: One Construction Worker's Love Story 3 Free Offer: ‘Claim Denied’ by Frank Kearney Rozanne Travels to Africa to Kiss a Giraffe! 4 Our Secret Weapon That Benefits YOU How to Lose Your Long-Term Disability Appeal 5 Congratulations Corner:

Kevin Diesenberg 6 Frank’s Column: What’s Your Super Bowl?

FRANK’S COLUMN What’s Your Super Bowl?

It’s time for the NFL extravaganza again. In this one winner-takes-all game, you can literally bet on anything that happens in or around the game (which they should move to Saturday night by the way, but don’t get me started). Every year, 32 teams start with the same goal, but only two get there (spoiler alert: It’s not the Redskins). That’s kind of the key isn’t it? Plan to do it. Work hard for it. Hang in there. Just get there and anything can happen. You’ve got a shot — that’s all you can ask for. That’s so much of what we do in life. Whether we’re going to school, working, starting a business, recovering from a serious injury, or going through a painful time in our lives, just remember: When we set a goal, work hard, and hang in there, we’ve got a chance. So, above all else, just give yourself a chance (and yes, this advice applies to Valentine’s Day as well).


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