| Read Time: 3 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

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.®

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Social Security Disability

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®

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Nursing Home Neglect

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®

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accident

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®

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | Defective Consumer Devices

A New Roundup Settlement

January 13, 2021 — The lawyers for Jaime Alvarez Calderon, a plaintiff diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following his use of glyphosate-based herbicides, agreed to a settlement offered by Bayer.  The Alvarez family lawyer, David Diamond, announced in a hearing on January 13, 2021, that the settlement would close out the case.  The settlement came after Judge Chhabria had denied summary judgment in favor of Monsanto, allowing the case to move closer to a trial.   Alvarez had worked at the Sutter Home group of wineries for 33 years using a backpack sprayer to apply glyphosate-based herbicides to their landscaping.  Diamond reported that Alvarez would come home drenched with the weed killer due to leaks in the equipment and any herbicide that flew up at him.  His non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis occurred in 2014, and he tragically passed away from his cancer in 2019 at the age of 65.  The settlement will go to Alvarez’s four sons. Bayer has lost all three trials that have occurred and have also lost the early rounds of appeals seeking to overturn said losses.  The juries analyzing the trials have decided that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides do cause cancer and Monsanto attempted to hide that risk from the public for decades. Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | Dangerous Drugs

MDL Federal Judge Dismisses Zantac Design Defect Claims Based on Preemption But Allows Repleading

January 11, 2021 – Federal MDL Judge Rosenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that design defect claims filed against the manufacturers of Zantac (ranitidine) are preempted by federal law because they seek to challenge the drugs’ FDA approved formula. The judge granted the motion by Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Inc and Boehringer Ingelheim to dismiss all state economic damages claims and all claims alleging design defect. But, the judge granted plaintiffs leave to replead their design defect claims that are based on the drugs’ labeling to file narrower design defect claims, which could include labeling changes the defendants could have made without FDA approval. The judge also dismissed state law claims seeking to recoup monetary losses from buying over-the-counter ranitidine, finding the Congress didn’t intend for any state to classify a claim as a product liability claim when the plaintiff was not personally injured. Reference: Name Brand Drug Cos. Ax Labeling Claims In Zantac MDL.  January 12, 2021, www.law360.com/productliability/articles/1343567/name-brand-drug-cos-ax-labeling-claims-in-zantac-mdl?nl_pk=4ea5443d-d995-4317-90cc-b8209e697bbb&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=productliability

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | Dangerous Drugs

Taxotere Trial Schedule Update December 21, 2020

December 21, 2020 — The Court continued the second bellwether trial. Reference:  “United States District Court.” MDL – 2740 Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation | Eastern District of Louisiana | United States District Court, 28 Dec. 2020, www.laed.uscourts.gov/case-information/mdl-mass-class-action/taxotere

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | Car Accident

Taxotere Trial Schedule Update December 28, 2020

December 28, 2020 — “The Court selected certain Plaintiffs to proceed with discovery in preparation for the fourth bellwether trial.” Reference:  “United States District Court.” MDL – 2740 Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation | Eastern District of Louisiana | United States District Court, 28 Dec. 2020, www.laed.uscourts.gov/case-information/mdl-mass-class-action/taxotere

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | Defective Consumer Devices

Bayer Faces Additional Litigation Strife

December 1, 2020 — Not only does Bayer face consequences from Monsanto’s Roundup, but the company is also suffering from Monsanto’s liability in polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) pollution cases and cases where crop damage was a result of Monsanto’s dicamba herbicide-based crop system. Within the past week, Bayer proposed a payment of $648 million to settle litigation where plaintiffs alleged contamination from Monsanto’s PCBs.  A federal judge in Los Angeles rejected the proposal. The trial judge in the case Bader Farms, Inc. v. Monsanto also rejected Bayer’s requests for a new trial around the same time. The judge did cut the punitive damages awarded by the jury from $250 million to $60 million in favor of Bayer, leaving compensatory damages of $15 million for a total award of $75 million. Monsanto was exposed for knowing about the damaging effects of its system for years by documents obtained through discovery. Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | Defective Consumer Devices

Bayer Continues Seeking Roundup Trial Verdict Appeal

December 1, 2020 — Bayer has lost all three of its Roundup trials.  The company is continuing its attempt at overturning the results of those trials even though the appeals do not look promising for Bayer. The first trial, Johnson v. Monsanto, found that Monsanto was liable for Dewayne “Lee” Johnson’s cancer at the appellate court level.  In October 2020, the California Supreme Court refused to review the case. Since the decision, Bayer has had 150 days to request for the U.S. Supreme Court to handle the case.  The company has not officially decided how it will proceed despite previously indicating that it will pursue its Supreme Court action, according to a Bayer spokesperson. If Bayer does take such action, Johnson’s attorneys are expected to file a conditional cross-appeal in order to review the decisions behind cutting Johnson’s jury award from $289 million to $20.5 million at the appellate level. Reference:  “Monsanto Roundup & Dicamba Trial Tracker.” U.S. Right to Know, 2 June 2020, www.usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index/

Continue Reading