Parents have filed lawsuits against baby formula makers after their children suffered necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious and life-threatening condition. If your newborn was diagnosed with NEC, you might wonder whether this lawsuit affects you and your rights. Naturally, you want to know whether someone is at fault. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Gerling Law to learn more about the Similac lawsuit and whether you have a right to demand compensation for your child. You can reach us online through our contact form or call to schedule a consultation. We represent families nationwide and throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky and have offices nearby in Evansville, Indianapolis, Owensboro, and Louisville. What Is NEC? NEC is a gastrointestinal disease that primarily affects premature infants. Babies most at risk for the condition are those: Born before 37 weeks, Fed through a stomach tube (enteral nutrition), and Who weigh less than 5.5 lbs. at birth. While NEC affects about 1 in 1,000 premature infants, it impacts only 1 in 10,000 full-term babies. With this condition, inflammation in the intestines kills tissue. It can lead to holes, bacteria leaking into the infant’s abdomen or bloodstream, and death. What Are the Signs of NEC? Between two and six weeks after birth, an infant may show signs of: Abdominal pain and swelling, Changes in heart rate and blood pressure, Changes in body temperature, Changes in breathing, Diarrhea and bloody stool, Green or yellow vomit, Refusal to eat and lack of weight gain or weight loss, and Sleepiness and unresponsiveness. A doctor will examine the infant and may run blood and fecal tests and X-rays to diagnose NEC. How Do Doctors Treat NEC? Because the infant’s intestines need to heal, doctors will stop oral or tube feedings and give the baby nutrients through an IV. They may insert a long tube through the child’s nose or mouth into the stomach to remove gas and fluid. They may also prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. The infant might require surgery to repair a hole in their intestine or remove dead intestinal tissue in more serious cases. Sometimes, doctors surgically place a drain in the baby’s abdomen to remove fluids and gas. What Causes NEC? Doctors and scientists don’t know the exact cause of NEC. However, numerous studies and papers have discussed the link between cow-milk-based formula and NEC. For example, a study published in 1990 connected NEC to cow-milk-based infant formula. In a study involving 926 preterm infants, NEC was 6 to 10 times more common in formula-fed babies than those given breast milk only or a combination of breast milk and formula. A more recent study published in 2019 reviewed 12 complete trials involving 1,871 infants. The trials found formula almost doubled the risk of NEC. The American Academy of Pediatrics also found that giving preterm infants human milk reduced the risk of NEC. According to the AAP, “One case of NEC could be prevented if 10 infants received an exclusive human milk diet, and 1 case of NEC requiring surgery or resulting in death could be prevented if 8 infants received an exclusive human milk diet.” Recent Baby Formula Lawsuits In May 2021, parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company, LLC, the makers of Similac. The parents allege the infant formula caused NEC and their child’s death. In June 2021, another family filed a lawsuit against Abbott and Mead Johnson, claiming their son suffered serious injuries from developing NEC. Their son was given Similac and Enfamil products at the hospital after his premature birth. Similac and Enfamil are high-calorie, cow-milk-based formulas. The parents allege the formulas increase the risk of NEC, yet the makers didn’t include warnings on the product labels. Has Your Child Suffered From NEC? If your preemie was diagnosed with NEC, talk with their medical providers about your child’s nutrition before symptoms began. If your child was fed a cow-milk-based formula, such as Similac or Enfamil, contact Gerling Law. We’re experienced personal injury and mass tort lawyers. We’ve represented many individuals harmed by dangerous and defective consumer products. We want to hear your story and talk with you about whether you have a right to demand compensation. Give us a call or use our online form to schedule a free case evaluation. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®Keep Reading
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After a car accident, I was left completely blind in one eye. I wasn’t sure who to turn to until I spoke with Gerling Law. From the beginning, I was completely blown away with the service I received at the firm. My attorney, Nikki Roby, and her paralegal, Jennifer Bland, were fantastic. Both my friend and I had to go through the process and we both were more than satisfied. I cannot say enough about how awesome the team was throughout the whole case. I would recommend Gerling Law to my friends, family, or anyone in need of an attorney for any injury. - Anne S.
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If you sustain severe injuries in an accident, chances are you may experience physical or emotional distress during recovery. In Indiana, plaintiffs may pursue compensation for their pain and suffering in the form of damages. However, you may be wondering, How do you calculate pain and suffering? Let’s take a look at how a personal injury attorney may calculate your pain and suffering depending on your situation. Damages Available in Indiana In personal injury cases, there are three types of damages available for victims to pursue: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Each category has an effect on the total settlement amount and requires different types of evidence. Economic Damages These damages compensate the plaintiff for any calculable losses from their injuries. This includes any monetary losses, such as medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and more. Non-Economic Damages Also known as general damages, non-economic damages are any non-calculable losses sustained by the plaintiff. In other words, these damages are intangible and highly subjective. Pain and suffering falls into the category of non-economic damages. Punitive Damages These types of damages are awarded only in cases where the defendant acted with malice or gross negligence. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for extremely reckless misconduct. Popular Pain and Suffering Calculation Methods in Indiana While methods vary between attorneys, many use the multiplier method to calculate non-economic damages like pain and suffering for their clients. The multiplier is usually a number between one and five depending on the severity of the injury. Your attorney will multiply that number by the amount of your economic damages. Consider the following example: Susan gets into a car accident and suffers permanent paralysis in her lower body. Her economic damages amount to nearly $1,000,000. Susan was a competitive swimmer, so in addition to losing the ability to walk, she can no longer participate in this activity. Because of Susan’s significant losses, her attorney pursues a pain and suffering multiplier of five. Susan and her lawyer decide to sue the defendant for $6,000,000 total, which includes $1,000,000 in economic damages and $5,000,000 in non-economic damages. One thing to keep in mind is that some cases may use a multiplier higher than five, especially if the injury results in total disability. However, keep in mind that the State of Indiana caps the amount of damages for some types of cases. For example, under IC 34-18-14-3, a plaintiff may not recover more than $1.8 million for an act of medical malpractice that occurs after June 30, 2019. Do Online Indiana Pain and Suffering Calculators Really Give Accurate Settlement Estimates? No, Indiana pain and suffering calculators do not give accurate estimates. Since every person has unique circumstances, it is impossible for a calculator to determine an estimate that matches your case. The best way to find an accurate estimate for your settlement is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. How Much Is My Pain and Suffering Worth? The value of your pain and suffering depends on several factors. Since there is no objective way to determine pain and suffering, the jury usually decides whether to award pain and suffering based on the following: The type of injury sustained by the plaintiff, The type of medication required to treat the injury, The effect of the injury on the plaintiff’s quality of life, The length of the plaintiff’s recovery, and The strength of the evidence provided. While these aren’t the only factors that the jury may take into consideration, they are a major part of their calculation. Here’s an example from a 2001 Indiana case where the jury awarded pain and suffering damages. On May 6, 1995, trucker Jerry Stanton made a delivery to Kroger’s Indianapolis Distribution Center. Before leaving, he decided to take a break and parked his tractor trailer next to another parked trailer. A Kroger employee, Ira Ritter, began backing up a tractor into the parked trailer without looking, pinning Stanton between her vehicle and the trailer. He suffered devastating injuries, including a pelvic fracture, broken ribs, lung contusions, internal bleeding, and hemorrhagic shock. Stanton sued Ritter for more than $65 million in damages. When the case went to trial, the jury determined that Stanton was 20% at fault for the accident and awarded him $55 million in damages. There are several reasons why the jury awarded such a large amount. First, the doctors who testified for Stanton said it was the most severe injury they’d ever seen in their careers. Second, Stanton had to be resuscitated several times over the first month of recovery and developed respiratory distress syndrome. Finally, due to Stanton’s injuries, he could no longer participate in any outdoor activities that he used to enjoy. Based on these circumstances, the jury found Stanton’s award justified. How to Prove Pain and Suffering Generally, the best way to prove pain and suffering after an injury is to document it. There are a few ways you can do this depending on your circumstances: Keep a diary. Make sure to mention any of the difficulties you experience due to your injury, including changes in mood, excessive pain, or trouble performing daily activities. Visit a therapist. Seeing a mental health professional is a good way to document changes in your state of mind after the injury. Mention difficulties to your doctor. If your injury prevents you from getting sleep, performing basic tasks, or enjoying life, tell your doctor, so they make a note in your medical record. These are just a few ways of documenting your pain and suffering. If you have trouble writing it down on your own, try asking family members or friends to provide their own testimony. How Can an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Help? Instead of relying on an Indiana pain and suffering calculator, it’s best to go with a skilled personal injury attorney. They will calculate your potential settlement based on every detail of your case, including your bills, future medical costs, loss of quality of life, and...Keep Reading
Veterans can file for veteran disability compensation. Veterans may qualify for disability benefits if they suffer from physical or mental conditions before, during, or after service, so long as the conditions are related to service. Veterans who would like the opportunity to receive compensation must file a VA claim. If you wish to file a VA claim, the process may take some time—anywhere from three to six months to receive a decision. Certain circumstances, including missing information in the claim, can slow down the process. Fortunately, in some cases, you may qualify for a VA expedited claim process. There is, however, no exact way to determine how much faster the expedited VA claim process is. Claims are deemed “priority” or “non-priority,” meaning priority claims will be handled first. Still, because there are other priority requests, expedited claims may still take a little time. First and foremost, before deciding whether you are a qualified candidate for an expedited VA claim, it is important to understand the criteria. Common Circumstances That Can Get a VA Claim Expedited If you are a veteran interested in expediting your VA claim, you must first qualify. There are special circumstances that, if present, can allow a veteran to expedite the VA claim due to hardship. The Veteran Is Going Through Financial Hardship If a veteran is experiencing extreme financial hardship, they may be able to expedite their claim. The veteran applying will need to provide evidence of their financial situation, which can include: Collection letters, Past-due bills, or Eviction notices. If the evidence submitted is substantial enough to support the claim of financial hardship, your VA claim will be taken care of more quickly. The Veteran Is Terminally Ill If a veteran is suffering from a terminal illness, their claim will be expedited. Medical evidence of the terminal illness is needed to qualify. Medical proof can include medical records or a letter from a physician. The veteran can provide this documentation themselves or allow the VA to gather their private treatment records. The Veteran Is Diagnosed with ALS Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease affecting the nervous system, eventually causing the loss of muscle control. As with a terminal illness, veterans diagnosed with ALS will qualify for an expedited VA claim if proof is present. The veteran can provide this to the VA, or the VA can obtain these records for them. The Veteran Was Seriously or Very Seriously Injured or Ill During Military Operations Veterans filing VA claims are likely already suffering some injury or illness. However, veterans that have suffered an injury or illness during military operations can qualify for an expedited VA claim. The VA sets this category apart, defining it as “a disability resulting from a military operation that will likely result in discharge from military service.” To qualify, veterans must provide a copy of their military personnel records and medical evidence showing severe disability or injury. With permission from the veteran, the VA can get the required treatment records on their behalf. The Veteran Is of Advanced Age Veterans 85 years or older may qualify for an expedited VA claim. In their request, the veteran will simply need to provide their accurate date of birth. The Veteran Is a Former Prisoner of War Veterans who were prisoners of war are eligible to have their VA claims expedited. Veterans must provide a copy of their military personnel records, including their DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty), and other important information, such as their service number, branch and dates of service, or any other information relevant to their detainment. The Veteran Received a Medal of Honor or Purple Heart Award Veterans decorated with a Medal of Honor or Purple Heart Award will qualify to have their VA claim expedited. The veteran will need to furnish a copy of their military personnel records, including DD Form 214 or some information exhibiting receipt of the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart. What Can I Do to Make My VA Claim Go Faster? If you are a veteran and qualify under one of the above-mentioned criteria, you may wonder how to speed up your VA disability claim. To do so, you must fill out a Priority Processing Request form. What Can an Attorney Do for Me? An attorney cannot guarantee that your VA claim will go any faster. Nonetheless, your lawyer can help in a variety of ways, including: Thoroughly explaining the process; Answering your questions; Helping you navigate the VA claims process; and Supporting you from beginning to end. The VA claims process can be tricky and challenging to handle on your own. With the assistance of a qualified attorney, you can have a better chance at a successful outcome to your claim. Consult with a VA Disability Attorney Today Gerling Law exists to help clients get the help they need during a trying time. We believe in putting our clients first and always having their best interests at heart. Gerling Law’s attorneys are all experienced and well-versed in the law, making them your best ally. We aim to help our clients in any way we can, getting them on the right path to recovery. Our firm offers free consultations. Contact us today, and let’s see how we can help you. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®Keep Reading