| Read Time: 3 minutes | blog

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky?

When you lose a loved one due to someone else’s actions, you may experience many emotions. Naturally, you feel grief and anger. You may also wonder how you can achieve justice for your loved one and prevent others from experiencing similar harm. At Gerling Law, we can’t take away your pain. However, we can help you pursue justice. We can help you hold the person who caused your pain accountable for their actions. Our compassionate attorneys have been representing victims and their families for decades. If you would like to speak with one of our knowledgeable lawyers, call anytime for a free consultation. When many clients initially speak with us, they’re not sure if they can sue for their loved one’s death. Here, we provide an overview of who can file a lawsuit for wrongful death and what such legal action involves. What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the surviving family for the harm they have suffered. Before considering a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit, you should know what the term actually means. Wrongful death is the death of a person caused by the negligent or wrongful act of another. This wrongful act could be unintentional or purposeful. In other words, someone does not have to intend to kill your loved one for it to be a wrongful death. A person or company might be responsible for your loved one’s death. For instance, if a drunk driver hits your loved one, that individual should be held responsible. However, if a sober driver hit your loved one after her brakes malfunctioned, the auto manufacturer may be liable. Who Can File a Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawsuit? In Kentucky, the personal representative (executor) of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The probate court names a personal representative based on the instructions in the deceased’s will or the preference of the judge. While the personal representative files the wrongful death lawsuit, most of the lawsuit proceeds go to the deceased’s estate and surviving family members. Funeral and burial expenses, as well as attorney fees, go to the estate. But then the remainder of the award goes to the deceased person’s surviving family members. Payment is awarded according to these rules: All to the surviving spouse if there are no surviving children; If there are a surviving spouse and surviving children, half to the spouse and half divided among the children; If there is no surviving spouse, all divided among the children; or  If there is no surviving spouse or children, all to the surviving parents. If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the wrongful death award goes to the estate. After paying debts, the award will be distributed according to the deceased’s will or intestate succession rules. What Damages Are Available? A wrongful death lawsuit compensates family members for the harm they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. You can sue for these damages in a wrongful death case: Pain and suffering, Loss of companionship, Loss of support, Loss of care, Funeral and burial expenses, and Attorney fees. You may also be able to request punitive damages for intentional harm or gross negligence. These damages go beyond compensating your family for the harm suffered. Instead, they serve the goal of punishing the person for their wrongful actions. The State may choose to criminally prosecute the defendant, but that is a separate legal action. A criminal prosecution punishes a wrongdoer by taking away their freedom. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that will not put the defendant behind bars but seeks to financially compensate your family for the death of your loved one. If you think you might have a Kentucky wrongful death claim, you should contact an experienced attorney. At Gerling Law, we have helped grieving family members with wrongful death claims in Kentucky for decades. We have the experience to get the results you deserve while showing you compassion and respect. Contact our law firm for a free consultation. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and get to know our knowledgeable legal team. If we think we can help you, you should know that we work on contingency. This means you owe us nothing until we win your case. Review our decades of winning cases here, and call us when you’re ready to talk. Don’t trust the fight for justice and your family’s financial future with just anyone. Remember: Go with Experience. Go with Gerling.®

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | blog

What Conditions Automatically Qualify You for Disability?

When you develop a medical condition that impedes your ability to hold a job, it can significantly impact your life. There are no two ways about it. In such a situation, it is important to figure out what options you have for financial help, including disability benefits. After developing a life-altering medical condition, you may find yourself wondering, Do I qualify for disability? The answer to this question is not always cut and dried. That said, there are a number of conditions that automatically meet social security disability qualifications by definition. Other conditions can qualify you for an expedited decision on your application but are not automatic. Whatever your questions are, Gerling Law is here to help you navigate the disability application process from start to finish. What Conditions Qualify You for Disability? Some medical conditions will, with a diagnosis, automatically qualify you for disability. You can find these conditions on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowances List (CAL). With a medical diagnosis of one of the conditions on this list, you will, by definition, qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both. SSA has published a complete list of all CAL medical conditions here. The list is too long for this piece, but some of the notable medical conditions on the CAL include: Adult non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Adult-onset Huntington’s disease, Anaplastic adrenal cancer, Bladder cancer,  Batten disease, Canavan disease (CD), Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Esophageal cancer, Gallbladder cancer, Heart transplant waitlist, Inflammatory breast cancer, Lou Gherig’s disease (ALS), Pancreatic cancer, Small cell lung cancer, and Stage IV breast cancer. If you have a medical diagnosis of one of the diseases noted on the CAL, the SSA simply requires proof of that medical diagnosis for approval of your application for benefits. Suppose you are applying for disability benefits on the basis of one of the conditions in the CAL. In such a case, you do not need to do anything different in your application than you would for any other medical condition. Simply submit the application with the required materials. Once your application is received, it will be flagged automatically by the SSA system for expedited review. The Importance of Documentation Maintaining proper documentation of your medical diagnosis is critically important in the application process. Your medical diagnosis is the most indisputable documentation and record of your medical condition and disability. This is what the SSA will look at, so we cannot overstate the importance of keeping track of it.  It is also important to document your symptoms before and after you go to the doctor. If you make a journal of symptoms and bring it to medical appointments, it will help your service providers make an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is critical. Documenting symptoms is also a great help in managing your disability. How to Submit Your Application There are three ways to submit your application for disability benefits to the SSA. The first way to apply is to do so in person. For this, simply go to the closest Social Security office. To apply in person, you do not need an appointment. The SSA’s online field office locator tool will help you find the office closest to you. If you don’t want to apply in person, you can call 800-772-1213 to schedule a phone appointment with an SSA agent. The third option to apply for SSA disability benefits is to use their online application tool. To apply online, visit www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/ on the SSA website. You will also find more detailed information on the application process on this web page, so be sure to give it a visit even if you plan to apply in person. If you have any questions or troubles with the SSA disability application process, contact us at Gerling Law today. Our disability attorneys have extensive experience helping people claim their disability benefits. From wrongful denials to application and administrative details, our disability attorneys have seen it all and are here to help you. Don’t just take our word for it; be sure to check out our testimonials page to see how we have helped our clients in the past. If you need help, reach out and tell us your story in a free consultation, and we’ll do our best to make things right. Remember Go with Experience. Go with Gerling®

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | blog

How Common Is Abuse in Nursing Homes?

No one wants to think about moving a loved one to a nursing home only to find out they are at high risk for abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, abuse in nursing homes is a widespread problem that affects countless elderly patients across the country. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s imperative to visit regularly and learn the warning signs of abuse. If you suspect your family member is being mistreated, you should also speak with an experienced nursing home attorney right away. Nursing Home Abuse Statistics It’s estimated that up to five million older adults experience abuse in a nursing home each year. According to the World Health Organization, around one in six people 60 years and older experienced some type of abuse in a community setting between 2017 and 2018. Elder abuse in nursing homes is rampant, with two out of every three staff members reporting they personally committed abuse within the past year. With almost one out of three nursing homes receiving citations for abuse, the problem is only getting worse. Types of Nursing Home Abuse Nursing home abuse takes different forms. The four most common types of abuse are physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Physical Abuse Physical abuse involves physical contact that results in harm. Examples of physical abuse include pushing, punching, slapping, or kicking a resident. Physical abuse is intentional, and it’s meant to cause the victim harm. Look for potential physical abuse signs such as bruises, cuts, broken bones, and other unexplained injuries. Emotional changes may be present as well, such as withdrawing from touch or startling easily. Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse is also called psychological abuse. Abusers typically manipulate elders through intimidation or threats, which can cause injury to a person’s emotional and mental state. Even keeping someone in social isolation can be a form of emotional abuse. While emotional abuse may not leave physical scars, it can lead to mental and emotional scars. In fact, it is common for emotional abuse victims to develop high levels of anxiety and depression. Watch for sudden changes in your family member’s demeanor, as such changes can signal that abuse is occurring. If they become unusually frightened by an individual staff member or other residents, complain about how the staff has treated them, or are suddenly terrified of being left alone, pay attention. Sexual Abuse No one wants to believe that sexual abuse happens in nursing homes, but it does. Unwanted sexual contact of any kind is sexual abuse. Potential abusers include both staff members and other residents. In rare cases, it may involve someone who is there visiting or is a temporary contractor. Unexplained wounds around the genitals, bruising, bleeding, torn undergarments, or a sexually transmitted disease can point to sexual abuse. The victim might also start to withdraw from activities or social gatherings, develop anxiety, or become depressed. Financial Abuse Financial abuse can also occur in a nursing home. Understandably, staff and residents may become friendly with one another over time. However, some nursing staff may not truly care about the residents. Instead, their friendliness may be a way of getting close to unsuspecting victims so they can exploit their trust. Be sure to routinely verify that all funds are still in your loved one’s bank account, that no property from the room is missing, etc. If there is something suspicious with your family member’s accounts, ask them what is going on. Look for unexplained spending habits, new donations, new subscriptions, missing credit cards, or missing checkbooks. Identifying and Reporting Nursing Home Abuse Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not taken as seriously as it should be. Some warning signs are ignored when long-term care facilities dismiss potential issues as dementia or old age. However, it’s imperative to look for potential red flags and report any suspected abuse right away. If your family member is in immediate or life-threatening danger, call 911. Report the suspected abuse to the appropriate agencies, such as Adult Protective Services and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.  Nursing home abuse and neglect affect both the victim and their families. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help victims and their families pursue justice against all responsible parties. At Gerling Law, we have decades of experience representing nursing home abuse victims in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. We’ve recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.  Depending on the circumstances, we can file a lawsuit on your family member’s behalf. During litigation, we need to prove several elements to hold the nursing home accountable. The nursing home must have had a legal duty to care for your family member, which is usually easily proven through a resident contract. The nursing home must have breached its duty and failed to meet the resident’s needs. And finally, the resident must have suffered harm as a result of the breach that led to serious injuries. To learn more about how one of our nursing home abuse lawyers can help you and your family, contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. If your loved one was abused in a nursing home, let us put our years of experience to work for you. We can help you and your family get the justice you all deserve. Remember: Go with Experience. Go with Gerling®

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | blog

Can I Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering? (From a Serious Accident)

If you sustained injuries in a serious accident due to someone else’s negligence, you could have the legal right to bring a claim for your damages. Depending on your accident circumstances, you could receive money for your injuries, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering is often a large part of your injury claim, and it’s dependent on the type and severity of your injuries. To learn more about filing a pain and suffering injury lawsuit, contact the skilled personal injury lawyers at Gerling Law. What Are Pain and Suffering Damages? If you are making a claim for pain and suffering, you’re demanding compensation for the physical and emotional pain that you endured because of the accident. If not for the person who caused your injuries, you would not be in the pain you are. Pain and suffering damages fall under what’s known as general or non-economic damages. That means there is no specific number that relates to your pain and suffering from a car accident. General damages are subjective, and you will likely think your pain and suffering is worth far more than the insurance company does. Calculating Your Pain and Suffering Compensation To reach a value for pain and suffering, you must look at a variety of factors. Please don’t rely on settlement calculators you find online as they are not going to give you accurate results. These calculators do not consider everything that a judge, jury, or insurance company will look at when they determine an amount. No two claims are exactly alike, which is why there’s no average settlement amount for car accident claims either. Someone who suffered only minor injuries will not receive the same pain and suffering compensation as someone who is permanently disabled after the collision. Here are some examples of questions that insurance adjusters, juries, and judges consider when determining a dollar amount for your accident pain and suffering: What type of impact did the accident have on the plaintiff’s life? Did the plaintiff lose a lot of time off work? What types of injuries did the plaintiff sustain in the accident? How long did the plaintiff’s injuries last? What types of medical treatments did the plaintiff have? Will the plaintiff require additional medical treatment? Can the plaintiff return to work? Did the plaintiff sustain any permanent impairment? What is the usual physical and mental pain that people typically experience with these injuries? What is the plaintiff’s prognosis? When it comes to calculating pain and suffering, some insurance companies and juries might use one of two methods.  The first is known as the multiplier method. You multiple your economic damages by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your injuries. For example, if your medical bills and loss of earnings total 30,000 and you use a multiplier of three, then your pain and suffering is worth $90,000. The second option is the per diem method. This option assigns a specific value to every day that you were injured. The cut-off date is when you reached your MMI, or maximum medical improvement. Proving Pain and Suffering in a Serious Accident Before you can successfully collect any compensation for your pain and suffering, you must provide evidence showing why you deserve the amount you’re asking for in your claim. Always document all your medical visits, and see a therapist about any emotional turmoil after the accident. When you’re submitting copies of your records, include the opinion of your medical health professionals too. You should have information from all your providers on your injuries and how severely you’re injured. The reports should talk about how your injuries will impact your life and what you are going through pain wise. In some cases, it may be necessary to hire a medical expert. This person is a neutral third party who will confirm the reports and evidence submitted by your medical doctors. Some accident victims start a journal after the accident. It can be therapeutic, but it can also help your case. You can describe your daily life: How did the accident change your life? How did it impact your ability to take care of daily tasks, etc. Describe your pain, using a pain scale. Your case may not go to litigation for one or two years; having that information written down can help jog your memory and provide valuable evidence on how drastically the accident affected your life. If you were seriously injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your damages, including pain and suffering. However, pursuing a claim can be complicated, especially when your injuries are severe. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you and offer you less than your case is worth. Instead, let one of our seasoned personal injury lawyers fight for the compensation you deserve. At Gerling Law, we have decades of experience representing injured victims just like you in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. We have a proven record of success and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help. Remember: Go with Experience. Go with Gerling®

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Drug Injuries

Do I Qualify for the Zantac Lawsuit?

If you previously took Zantac and developed subsequent health problems, you may be entitled to pursue legal action. Not everyone who has side effects will be eligible to bring a successful lawsuit, which is why it’s crucial to understand who actually qualifies for the Zantac lawsuit. The FDA issued a warning that Zantac and its generic form ranitidine could cause cancer in some users. If you can show a cancer diagnosis linked to ranitidine usage, you may qualify to bring a Zantac lawsuit. To learn more about pursuing a claim for damages, speak to a Zantac lawsuit attorney at Gerling Law today. What Is Wrong with Zantac? Zantac is both a prescription and over-the-counter medication designed to decrease the amount of acid your stomach produces. It could help with heartburn, acid reflux, and other throat, gastrointestinal, and stomach issues. However, in April 2020, the FDA announced that companies should remove Zantac and its generic version ranitidine from their shelves as they discovered unacceptable amounts of NDMA. The FDA’s permissible daily intake is listed at 96 nanograms. However, routine testing by the online pharmacy Valisure discovered levels exceeding three million nanograms per tablet. NDMA is the chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine, which is an environmental contaminant. Low levels of NDMA are found in some foods and water. At minimal levels, there is no expectation that your risk for cancer will increase. However, higher levels of exposure could increase your risk of cancer. Numerous studies have shown a link between NMDA and cancer in both animals and humans. It’s been known to cause cancer in animals and is probably carcinogenic to humans. It’s also the same carcinogen that led to a recall of the blood pressure drug Valsartan in 2018. Some studies on NDMA date back 40 years, and evidence suggests that manufacturers concealed the fact that there’s a potential link to cancer. By hiding this fact, companies like Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim profited significantly. Zantac was one of the first drugs to generate one billion dollars in sales. There are multiple theories on what causes NDMA to become carcinogenic in products like Zantac. There is a possibility that ranitidine’s inherent instability results in a chemical reaction that creates high levels of NDMA in your digestive tract. When nitrates are present, the chances increase. The FDA says NDMA is found in Zantac. Storing it at a temperature higher than room temperature could result in even higher NDMA levels. What Type of Cancer Does Zantac Cause? Research into the link between NDMA and cancer is ongoing. Some types of cancer that could result from NDMA exposure in ranitidine include: Stomach cancer, Esophageal cancer, Colorectal cancer, Bladder cancer, Intestinal cancer, Throat/nasal cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Liver cancer, Breast cancer, Lung cancer (non-smokers), and Prostate cancer. There could be other types of cancers related to Zantac use as well. These could include: Kidney cancer, Brain cancer, Thyroid cancer, Leukemia, Islet cell tumors, Multiple myeloma, and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If you have any of these types of cancer, it’s crucial to speak with a knowledgeable Zantac lawsuit attorney who can assist you. Who Is Suing Zantac? The initial lawsuit for Zantac was filed against Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim in California. The plaintiffs allege that these drug makers knew or should have known that Zantac was contaminated with a chemical with links to cancer. The plaintiffs suing Zantac are those people who developed cancer after taking ranitidine. There are already hundreds of plaintiffs, and the list is expected to grow by thousands more. There are several class-action suits, including plaintiffs who have used ranitidine but have not gotten sick. The plaintiffs in these suits are looking for reimbursement for the cost of the medication, and some are seeking equitable relief, such as medical monitoring. More manufacturers produced ranitidine tablets than just Sanofi or Boehringer. Other ranitidine products recalled in the FDA April 2020 release include: AHP (American Health Packaging)—ranitidine liquid unit dose cups and ranitidine tablets USP 150mg; Amneal (Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC)—ranitidine tablets 150mg and 300mg and Ranitidine syrup (Ranitidine Oral Solution, USP), 15 mg/mL; ANI (Appco Pharma LLC)—ranitidine tablets 150mg and 300mg; Apotex Corp. (Apotex Corp sold at Rite Aid, Walmart, and Walgreens)—ranitidine tablets 75mg and 150mg; Aurobindo & DG Health (Aurobindo Pharma, USA, Inc.)—ranitidine tablets and capsules 150mg; Glenmark (Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Inc)—ranitidine tablets 150mg and 300mg.; Golden State Medical Supply, Incorporated (GSMS, Inc and Novitium Pharma LLC.)—ranitidine HCI 150mg and 300mg capsules; Lannett Company, Inc.—ranitidine syrup (ranitidine oral solution, USP) 15mg/mL; Northwind (Denton Pharma, Inc. dba Northwind Pharmaceuticals)—ranitidine tablets 150mg and 300mg; Perrigo Company PLC—ranitidine; Precision Dose (Amneal Pharmaceuticals)—ranitidine oral solution, USP 150mg/10mL; Dr. Reddy’s (Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. sold at Kroger, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, CVS, and more)—ranitidine tablets and capsules; and Sandoz Inc.—ranitidine hydrochloride capsules 150mg and 300mg. If you still have any of these medications in your possession, keep the empty prescription bottles or other evidence that can help your lawsuit. However, you should properly destroy unused medicines following the FDA disposal guidelines. Who Actually Qualifies for the Zantac Lawsuit? To sue for Zantac-related cancer, you must meet the eligibility requirements. To start, you need to prove that you were taking Zantac. If you received a prescription for it, establishing usage is easier. If you took the over-the-counter version, it could be more challenging. You will need to gather any evidence that shows you took Zantac. Helpful evidence can include: Prescription records from your doctor; Pharmacy prescription records; Prescription bottles or packaging; and Purchase receipts. If you don’t have any of the items mentioned above, there may still be a way you can show proof. Very few people keep their bottles or receipts for medications, but you could also try to find records through the following:  Health saving accounts (HSA), Rx prescription drug cards, Health reimbursement accounts (HRA), Health flexible spending accounts (FSA), or Declarations or affidavits that you took over-the-counter Zantac. Next, you must have received a cancer diagnosis that aligns with one or more of the cancer types associated with exposure to NDMA. If your type...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Nursing Home Negligence

Step by Step: What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

When you move a loved one to a nursing home, you expect the nursing home will treat them with the respect and professionalism they deserve. However, nursing home abuse and neglect are problems plaguing facilities across the country. Do you know what to do if you suspect abuse in a nursing home? Taking the proper steps can help keep your family members safe and the nursing home from harming someone else. What to Do If You suspect Abuse in a Nursing Home At Gerling Law, our nursing home attorneys have years of experience with suspected abuse and neglect in nursing homes. Here are the steps you need to take when you suspect something is going on:  Remain calm. It’s easy to lash out and lose your temper. However, remaining calm is vital as you need to keep a level head when attempting to resolve this situation. Speak to the nursing staff about red flags and suspected signs of abuse before proceeding with other actions. If you don’t get a satisfactory response, look at more formal action. Talk with your family member privately, if possible. In some cases, family members are unable to communicate and may not be able to tell you what’s happening. Watch everything going on when you visit and take notes. If possible, get photos of injuries or things that stick out, like unsanitary conditions. Contact the police right away if your loved one is in immediate danger. Report any suspected nursing home abuse or neglect to the proper legal authorities. When you suspect nursing home abuse, it’s essential to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer right away. Please don’t wait around to see what happens, as it’s crucial to stop the abuse before it happens again. What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect? Nursing home abuse is one type of elder abuse. Patients in nursing homes who are mistreated, neglected, or receive substandard care can be elder abuse victims. Nursing home staff have a duty to protect and take care of their residents. Failure to do so is a breach of duty, and the nursing home can be held accountable. What Causes Nursing Home Abuse? Numerous factors can lead to nursing home abuse. Staff turnover is typically high in nursing homes, and many facilities are understaffed. It is a stressful job, and staff members are often overwhelmed and overworked. Unfortunately, some staff members take out those frustrations on the residents. Lack of adequate training is also a common problem that can lead to neglect and abuse. It’s important to point out that nursing home abuse is not limited to staff either. While less common, residents are at risk for abuse from visitors to the nursing home facility. If the staff is not properly supervising residents, they can still be held accountable. What Are the Six Types of Elder Abuse? It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the six main types of elder abuse so you can look out for signs of abuse and neglect in a nursing home. Physical Abuse Physical abuse involves threatening to inflict or inflicting injury or physical pain on a nursing home resident. It can also include depriving the person of a basic need, such as purposely withholding food. Potential signs include unexplained injuries, bruises, sprains, broken bones, marks on the wrists that suggest the use of restraints, etc. Emotional or Psychological Abuse Emotional or psychological abuse includes inflicting  mental pain, distress, or anguish on an elderly person through verbal or non-verbal actions. Actions can include intimidation, insults, threats, name-calling, and more. Potential warning signs to look for in your family member include being suddenly depressed or withdrawn, isolation, mood swings, appearing scared, and a change in sleeping patterns. Sexual Abuse It’s hard to fathom that sexual abuse is a problem in nursing homes. While not as common as physical or emotional abuse, it does happen. Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual act coercing or forcing someone to witness or participate in sexual activity. Elders who cannot communicate for themselves, have a disability that prevents them from consenting, or have Alzheimer’s or dementia are more at risk. Warning signs of sexual abuse in a nursing home include bruises on inner thighs or genitals, bleeding or pain in the genital area, torn or bloody underwear, panic attacks, and sudden withdrawal. Neglect or Abandonment by Caregivers When someone fails to provide necessary care, shelter, food, or protection, it can be considered neglect. Neglect is more than a mistake or accident; it is rooted in carelessness and disregard for the resident’s wellbeing. Examples can include failure to provide hygiene, clothing, essential activities, etc. Financial Exploitation Financial exploitation is also a common problem with elders, especially in nursing homes. This type of elder abuse involves the unauthorized or illegal use of a person’s financial resources. Someone in a trusting relationship with the victim could take property, get ahold of their ATM card and withdraw funds, coerce them to change their will, and more. Healthcare Fraud and Abuse When a nursing home employee mistreats a patient and then submits the payment of a claim for the services involved, it can fall under health care fraud. For example, a staff member may abuse a patient and then submit a claim to the resident’s insurance for the treatment required to treat their injuries. Other examples include medical identity theft, billing for services not provided, charging for medical equipment not received, and counterfeit prescription drugs. How Much Is a Nursing Home Neglect Case Worth? Without knowing the facts yet, it’s impossible to estimate what your nursing home neglect case is worth. We evaluate each case individually. Because no two cases are alike, no two settlements are precisely the same. Once we learn more about the type and extent of your family member’s injuries, we can provide you with an accurate evaluation. How a Nursing Home Attorney Can Help An experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help you recognize the warning signs of abuse and help you get the compensation your family is...

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Accident Lawyer

When You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience. When someone else’s negligence caused the collision, you could have the legal right to pursue a claim. Filing a claim against the other party’s insurance may seem pretty straightforward, but the claims process can become complicated rather quickly. Knowing when to hire a lawyer after a car accident is essential. In most car accident cases, you need someone on your side who can protect your rights and help you fight for the compensation you deserve. At Gerling Law, we understand how stressful and frustrating the auto accident claims process can be. Our car accident injury lawyers have decades of experience helping clients in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois resolve all their personal injury claims, including auto accidents. Contact our nearest office to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help. When Should You Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident? Numerous accident scenarios warrant having an accomplished personal injury attorney representing you. The following are some of the most common examples of accidents where our legal team can help. Someone in Your Vehicle Has Severe Injuries If you or a family member sustained severe injuries in the accident, hiring an attorney is crucial. Cases involving extensive medical bills or a permanent disability are typically harder to resolve. There’s a greater chance that insurance companies will fight your claim as they have more exposure and financial risk. Their goal is to avoid paying you as much as possible. You want an experienced attorney on your side who can keep insurance companies from unfairly reducing your claim’s value. If your accident was relatively minor and you saw a doctor only once or twice, you may not need to hire a car accident injury attorney. A Family Member Died in the Accident If someone you love died in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, certain family members might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are typically complex. You need an advocate on your side who understands precisely how wrongful death claims work and can help you get compensation for your family’s loss. Multiple Parties Involved Multiple defendants can also complicate the negotiations process. Your attorney can determine who all the potential defendants are and help you hold all responsible parties accountable. For example, suppose you are involved in an accident with a truck driver. In that situation, defendants could include the driver, the trucking company, and even a parts manufacturer if there are allegations that a defective part contributed to the accident. Other Driver’s Insurance Denies Liability In cases with disputed liability, you may need to file a lawsuit to get the other driver’s insurance to take you seriously. It’s not uncommon in disputed liability cases to see the other driver’s insurance company deny your claim outright. They hope that you will accept the denial and walk away from pursuing the claim any further. Without legal representation, insurance companies know you will have a hard time funding the fees and costs necessary to proceed with litigation. Retaining an attorney can help get the insurance company back to the negotiating table. If they still refuse to accept any responsibility at all, your attorney can start preparing your case for trial. The Statute of Limitations Is Expiring Another reason to file a lawsuit could be that the statute of limitations in your case is near expiration. The statute of limitations dictates how long you have before you are legally obligated to file a lawsuit in your case. If you are negotiating with the insurance company and the deadline passes, your claim could be barred. Even if the insurance company extended you a settlement offer, they are under no obligation to pay you anything if you haven’t reached an agreement by the time the statute of limitations expires. The Other Party Is a Government Entity Filing claims against government entities requires specialized knowledge. Particular deadlines can apply in the claims process beyond just the statute of limitations. If you miss a filing deadline or make a mistake, the government will quickly deny your claim. The Insurance Company Is Low Balling or Acting in Bad Faith Insurance companies rely on the fact that you don’t have legal experience or know how the car accident claims process works. Some insurance companies cross the line in unfair tactics and wind up acting in bad faith. They may wrongfully deny your claim or extend a low-ball offer for significantly less than your case is worth. When this happens, you need a car accident injury attorney who can evaluate your claim to determine whether the insurance company has acted in bad faith. If you are negotiating directly with the insurance company and are only a few hundred dollars apart, you may not need an attorney. You would lose more in fees by retaining a lawyer to settle. How Long Does It Take to Get Your Settlement After a Car Accident? The time it takes to settle a car accident claim varies. Some cases resolve quickly, such as within a few months, while others may take years to resolve. If a lawsuit is filed, it can take even longer. Once you reach a settlement with the insurance company, the amount of time it takes to receive your payment will vary. First, the insurance company will send your attorney a release of all claims to have you sign. Once the executed release is received, the insurance company will issue your settlement check. The settlement check will be mailed to your attorney, who is required to deposit it in a specific trust account. Then, your attorney will issue payment to you. If you did not have an attorney and negotiated directly with the insurance company, they will send the check directly to you after receiving the release. In many cases, the settlement check will be issued from an out-of-state bank, which could take longer to clear. Assume that it might take another seven to ten...

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| Read Time: 6 minutes | Brain Injuries

What Is Considered a Catastrophic Brain Injury

Any accident that causes trauma to the brain is problematic. Even a minor concussion can result in lasting damage. Traumatic brain injuries can vary in severity, with catastrophic brain injuries being the most devastating. It’s essential to get an answer to the question, what is a catastrophic brain injury? You need to understand the different types of brain injuries and what kinds of treatment and life changes will occur. If someone you love suffered a brain injury in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may have legal grounds to bring a personal injury claim. It’s crucial to speak with an experienced catastrophic brain injury attorney who can help you navigate the complicated personal injury claims process. At Gerling Law, we have over 50 years of experience helping thousands of injured clients collect the compensation they deserve. What Is Considered a Brain Injury? There are two main types of brain injuries—traumatic and non-traumatic. A traumatic brain injury is when an external force alters your brain’s function. It develops after some sort of trauma, like an auto accident. Not all blows to your head will cause a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries fall under the umbrella term of acquired brain injuries. This term refers to brain injuries that are not hereditary, genetic, degenerative, or caused by birth trauma. In addition to trauma, encephalitis, tumors, stroke, infectious diseases, and aneurysms are a few causes of acquired brain injury.    According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are a significant cause of disability and death in the United States. From 2006 to 2014, TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths increased by 53%. Don’t ignore a brain injury—see a doctor right away and consider contacting a lawyer early on. What Are Common Symptoms of Brain Injuries? Recognizing the symptoms of mild and severe brain injuries is important. Catastrophic brain injury protocol differs from what you need to do if you have minor brain damage.  Minor traumatic brain injury symptoms include: Headache; Fatigue or drowsiness; No loss of consciousness, but being confused, dazed, or disoriented; Difficulty sleeping; Nausea or vomiting; Loss of balance; Dizziness; Speech problems; Sensitivity to sound or light; Sensory issues, including blurry vision, changes to your ability to smell, ringing in the ears, or a bad taste; Depression or anxiety; Mood swings or mood changes; and Concentration or memory problems. Symptoms of moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries include: Loss of consciousness lasting several minutes to hours; Seizures or convulsions; Repeated headaches or one that continues to worsen; Dilation of one or both pupils; Loss of coordination; Inability to wake from sleep; Continued nausea or vomiting; Slurred speech; Combativeness or agitation; Severe confusion; or Coma or another disorder of consciousness. Severe brain injuries can leave victims with noticeable problems, including cognitive issues, emotional and behavioral changes, language issues, and sensory problems. Some victims are at a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other brain disorders later in life. What Causes Catastrophic Brain Damage? Numerous events and accidents can lead to catastrophic brain damage. Some of the most common causes of a major brain injury include the following. Falls Falling down from a ladder, off a bed, or down the stairs can easily result in catastrophic traumatic brain injury. The older you get, the more at risk you are for a devastating fall. Even tripping on an uneven sidewalk can result in falling and sustaining a head injury.  Vehicle Collisions Any type of vehicle-related collision—car, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian, or truck—can lead to a traumatic brain injury. You can develop a head injury from physically striking something or just the violent jolting motion. Sports Injuries Sports can be dangerous and leave participants with various injuries, including brain injuries. High-impact sports are the worst, including football, boxing, hockey, baseball, etc. Violence Violence can also lead to catastrophic brain injuries. Domestic violence, gunshot wounds, assaults, and child abuse are a few violent offenses that can leave someone with a brain injury. Shaken baby syndrome is also a concern in infants as any violent shaking can result in a brain injury. Combat Injuries Active duty military personnel are at a high risk for all types of injuries. Explosive blasts cause many traumatic brain injuries in military members. It’s not entirely understood, but experts believe the brain’s function is disrupted due to a pressure wave from the blast. Severe blows to the head from shrapnel or penetrating wounds can also result in brain injuries. What Are the Major Types of Head Injuries? It’s essential to understand the different types of head injuries that can lead to a traumatic brain injury. The following head injuries are the most common ones we see in personal injury matters. Concussion When your head makes an impact with something hard, it can result in a concussion. Concussions are common in auto accidents due to the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle or when your brain hits the inside of your skull. Concussions usually result in temporary injuries. However, some people sustain lasting injuries from concussions. In addition, someone like an athlete who has suffered multiple injuries could eventually have permanent damage. Hematoma A hematoma can occur in various parts of your body because it involves clotting or a collection of blood outside of your blood vessels. When you have a hematoma in your brain, it’s dire. You could lose consciousness or sustain permanent brain damage. Edema Edema is swelling and can happen anywhere in your body. When the swelling is in your brain, it’s even more dangerous. Your skull is not expandable and cannot accommodate the increased pressure from your brain hitting your skull. Hemorrhaging Hemorrhaging refers to bleeding that’s uncontrolled. Uncontrolled bleeding in your brain can be intracerebral, which is in your brain tissue, or subarachnoid, which is bleeding around your brain. You may have headaches and vomiting, and the increased blood can cause pressure to build up in your brain. Diffuse Axonal Injury A diffuse axonal injury is one that doesn’t involve bleeding,...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Accident Lawyer

How to Get Money From a Car Accident Without a Lawyer

Car accidents happen rather frequently and can leave you with a variety of injuries. After suffering these injuries, you will likely be left with medical bills and perhaps lost wages. Seeking compensation for your injuries is your next step.  You may be wondering whether a car accident attorney is necessary to obtain compensation. Every car accident case is different, and the answer will depend on your particular situation. Getting a Car Accident Settlement Without a Lawyer If you are working to receive compensation without an attorney’s help, you will need to follow specific steps and stay organized. The following steps will help you and your car accident claim.  Seek Medical Attention Following a car accident, seek medical attention. If you suffer severe injuries at the scene of the accident, call 911. Even if you did not suffer any injuries, you should still visit your primary doctor as soon as you can. Some injuries are not apparent right after a car accident, with some injuries taking a few days to surface. Speaking with your doctor in detail may help them diagnose hidden injuries.  Equally as important is following all recommendations your doctor may give you. If they instruct you to seek further medical treatment or rehabilitation, do as they say. All of your medical visits and treatments are well recorded, and these medical records can strengthen your case. If your injuries are severe, you should at least consider getting help from a car accident attorney. You likely deserve pain and suffering damages for more serious injuries, but the insurance company is unlikely to offer you a fair settlement if you don’t have a lawyer to represent you. Gather Evidence Your health and safety are most important following an accident. However, if possible, gather as much evidence at the scene of the accident as you can. Evidence to collect can include: Photos of the accident scene; Pictures of the vehicles and property damage; and The other driver’s information. When police are at the scene, they will write a police report. You can obtain a copy of this police report for your records. If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their information. Also, gather any other helpful documentation, including medical bills and a record of missed days of work and lost wages. The more evidence you collect, the stronger your claim will be. Notify Both Insurance Companies After a car accident, you must notify your insurance company. Most insurance companies require you to inform them of an accident within a certain period of time, generally within 30 days, But it’s best to notify your insurer as soon as you possibly can. Also, be sure to report the accident to the other person’s insurance company. While you may want to give extensive details of your accident, refrain from doing so. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to limit liability, so they may use anything you say against you. It is best to keep details at a minimum and avoid giving a recorded statement. Use PIP Coverage, MedPay, and Your Insurance If you suffered injuries in an accident, you will undoubtedly have medical bills. Depending on your state, you may have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. You can make a PIP claim against your own insurance company for payment of any initial bills. After your PIP coverage has run out, you can then use your medical insurance to take care of the rest. Or if another driver was at fault for the accident, you may be able to pursue a claim through their insurance or file a lawsuit. If you have extensive medical bills, it’s usually best to consult with a lawyer about your options.  Some states also have medical payment insurance, or MedPay. MedPay coverage helps cover medical expenses for you and your passengers in case of an accident. To utilize this coverage, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. Keep in Mind There Is a Statute of Limitations While you may want to handle your own car accident claim, there may be times you will find yourself needing to file a lawsuit. If there is a possibility of a lawsuit, keep in mind that a statute of limitations governs every type of lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is typically two years after the date of the accident, but it varies by state. After this time clock has run, you are unlikely to be able to recover any compensation. If you wish to sue a government entity, you will generally need to file a tort claim notice before filing a personal injury lawsuit. The notice period is usually much shorter than the typical statute of limitations. Additionally, the notice period may vary depending on whether you are dealing with a state or municipal agency. It is wise to consult with your lawyer about the rules in your state to make sure you comply with all notice requirements on time. Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer After a Car Accident? No two accidents are alike. Therefore, there is no exact science as to when you should or should not hire a lawyer to represent you in a car accident case. Generally, if you feel uncomfortable handling your own claim, or want to be sure you’re getting the fairest settlement, you should consult with a car accident attorney. A car accident attorney can be a great ally after your car accident. They will handle every aspect of your case, including: Gathering necessary evidence, Calculating damages, Dealing with insurance companies, and Engaging in settlement negotiations. If you’re concerned about the cost of hiring a lawyer, don’t be. Most personal injury attorneys, including those at Gerling Law, take car accident cases on contingency. That means that you won’t owe any fees unless you recover compensation. Then your fees will be paid out of a portion of your settlement or award. Navigating a car accident claim can be tricky, especially for someone unfamiliar...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Animal Attack Accidents

Filing a Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim

Dog bites can happen quickly and without notice. They can leave you with injuries and mounting medical bills. You may not even be able to engage in normal daily activities. After suffering a dog bite injury, you have legal rights. A personal injury attorney can help you seek just compensation for your injuries. Is a Dog Bite Considered Personal Injury? Yes. Dog bites are considered personal injury and fall into the category of common personal injury claims, like car accidents and slip and falls. If you’ve suffered a dog bite, you can seek compensation for your injuries from the owner of the dog. What to Do After a Dog Bite If you’ve suffered injuries resulting from a dog bite, there are specific steps you should follow. Seek Medical Attention If your injuries are severe, call 911. If your injuries are less serious, it is still essential you seek medical care as soon as possible. Complications with dog bite injuries are common, including infection. Receiving medical attention soon after the incident can lessen your chances of any complications.  Gather Information If possible, collect information and evidence at the scene of the incident. This includes: Photos of the scene, Pictures of your injuries, and Witness information. Be sure to get the dog owner’s information. Also collect any information or documentation pertaining to your case, including medical bills and a record of lost wages. Report the Incident Many states require a victim report the dog bite to local authorities. Local agencies, like animal control, can gather important information, including whether the dog has its rabies vaccination. They can also decide how to handle the situation, depending on whether the dog remains a threat to others. What Is the Average Settlement for a Dog Bite? Settlements are agreed-upon resolutions to a case. After suffering dog bite injuries, you will want to engage in settlement negotiations with the dog owner to recover compensation. The dog owner or their insurance company will pay the settlement. You may seek compensation for a variety of things, including: Medical bills, Lost wages,  Pain and suffering, and Scarring. Your settlement will highly depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident. No two dog bite cases are alike. Therefore, there is no average settlement for dog bite injuries. Filing a Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim When looking to file a dog bite personal injury claim, follow these crucial steps. Determine Fault Typically, a dog owner will be liable if their dog caused someone harm, even if they were not negligent in restraining or supervising the animal. Most states operate under strict liability for dog bites, meaning that if you have a dog, you will be held responsible for their actions.  Certain states use a “one bite” rule. This rule states that after a dog bites someone once (or harms them in another way, such as knocking them over), an owner should be aware of their dog’s propensity to harm others. In states that follow the one bite rule, if you can’t show that the dog had previously caused harm to someone, you will need to prove that the caretaker’s or owner’s negligence caused your injury. Every state has different laws regarding dog bites. When meeting with your attorney, discuss your state’s dog bite laws and how they can affect your case. Documentation Documenting all aspects of your claim can have a significant impact on your case. Some of the most important information to gather includes: Medical records, Medical bills, Record of lost wages, Witness reports,  Scar evaluations, and Photo and videos. The more information and evidence you gather, the stronger your case. Every bit of information you have can help prove your case. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney If insurance is involved, the dog owner’s insurance company will likely want to speak with you. Do not talk to them without first consulting with an attorney. Insurance companies often try to get recorded statements and will utilize these statements to limit their liability. Aside from helping with the insurance company, a personal injury attorney will be your ally. Your attorney will handle all aspects of your claim, including: Dealing with the insurance company; Gathering relevant documentation; Investigating your case; and Engaging in settlement negotiations. Having a personal injury attorney will allow you to focus on your recovery while putting you at ease, knowing your claim is in good hands. Factors That Play a Major Role in Your Case Because every dog bite incident is different, many factors will affect your settlement. The following are the most prominent factors that will affect your dog bite case. Age Age can be an important factor in dog bite cases. The age of the victim matters. Often, minor children will have the ability to receive larger settlements than adults for a variety of reasons, including: Adults are more aware than children; Children are less likely to be able to defend themselves; and A dog bite will often cause permanent emotional damage. While adults can still recover fair compensation for their injuries, there is an added layer of complication when the victim is a child. Injuries The severity of the injuries incurred will undoubtedly affect your recovery. A surface injury that heals quickly will never be worth as much as a severe injury that requires surgery.  Dog bite injuries can vary greatly. Some of the most common include: Puncture wounds, Lacerations, Infections, Dismemberments, Nerve damage, and Scarring. The more serious the dog bite, the more you will be able to recover for your injuries.  Ongoing Issues Many dog bite injuries will eventually heal with medical treatment, and you will be able to go back to living your everyday life. However, in certain circumstances, serious injuries can leave you disabled and unable to resume your daily activities. In these cases, you can seek additional damages, including lost wages and pain and suffering. Status of Injured Person If you were lawfully on the dog owner’s property or on public property when the dog bite occurred, you should not have any...

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