| Read Time: 4 minutes | Veterans Disability

VA Disability Rating for Parkinson’s Disease Overview

If you are a veteran who develops Parkinson’s disease, you might find yourself curious as to how Parkinson’s disease can affect VA disability benefits. Generally speaking, VA benefits are a form of tax-free, monthly compensation that the VA pays to veterans who suffer from disabilities related to their military service. To determine how much compensation an individual veteran gets, the VA gives them a disability rating. Additional disabilities, like Parkinson’s disease, can affect your disability rating. Parkinson’s disease is one of the many disabilities recognized by the VA. Regardless of whether you are already receiving VA disability benefits, as a veteran developing Parkinson’s, it helps to have some general knowledge about how Parkinson’s disease can affect those benefits.  Many veterans depend on disability benefits. For those veterans, it is absolutely crucial to understand what changes they can expect from the VA regarding Parkinson’s disease.  You may have questions like, Is Parkinson’s disease a 100% compensation disability? Or, What factors can impact my Parkinson’s disease disability rating? If you have these kinds of questions about VA disability benefits and their interaction with Parkinson’s disease, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys. Our VA disability benefits team is always happy to answer your questions and set you in the right direction. Some General Notes On Parkinson’s Disease Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder. That means that it adversely affects your brain. Specifically, Parkinson’s disease impairs your brain’s ability to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine affects everything from movement and balance to concentration and mood. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease at this time. Thus, it makes sense that Parkinson’s disease qualifies as a disability in the eyes of the federal government. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) all consider Parkinson’s disease a covered disability under their respective programs. Parkinson’s Disease: Symptoms and Treatment There are quite a few different symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Experienced alone, you might brush off some of the symptoms as minor inconveniences. When the effects start to combine, however, they can significantly impede your ability to live a normal life. As the symptoms combine, the disease moves into different stages, causing increasing impairment. Some of Parkinson’s disease’s early symptoms include minor things like: Fatigue, Depression, Slurred speech, Changes in handwriting style, and Shakiness. These are all early signs of Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms worsen over time, leaving many affected individuals unable to walk at a certain point. As you can see, these early signs are hard to spot unless they combine with one another. If you feel like you might have Parkinson’s, it is critically important to seek a medical evaluation. After all, the VA will not approve your disability benefits application without an adequate medical diagnosis. As noted, Parkinson’s disease is not a curable disorder. Still, there are ways to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s and minimize its impact on your life. Doctors often take a holistic approach to treating Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Treatment may include physical therapy, surgery, and prescription medications. More often than not, doctors use several different treatments to mitigate the impact of specific effects. What Is the VA Disability Rating for Parkinson’s Disease? Because Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative order, there are several stages that an affected individual can find themselves in. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the VA does not place a specific, set rating on Parkinson’s disease as a whole. Instead, the VA considers several different factors relevant to each claim to determine your disability benefits rating. What Impacts Parkinson’s Disease VA Disability Benefits? There are several factors that can impact your disability benefits rate. Since there are too many potentially relevant factors, we will discuss some of the more common ones. First, however, we need to look at the general requirements for VA disability benefits eligibility. If you don’t fulfill these requirements, the VA will deny your claim in all likelihood. To meet eligibility requirements for VA disability benefits, you must establish the following: You must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training; and Generally, you must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. (But note that veterans receiving undesirable, bad conduct, and other types of dishonorable discharges may qualify depending on a determination made by VA). Next, you need to show that your condition was related to your military service. You must submit the following: A current diagnosis of your condition by a certified medical professional; Documentation that you suffered an injury, an illness, or other debilitating event while in service; and Documentation demonstrating an identifiable link between the diagnosed condition and your military service. Essentially, you have to prove that you served in the military, suffered from some illness or event, and subsequently developed a disability because of your military service. Factors Outside of General Requirements Outside of the general requirements to qualify for VA disability benefits in the first place, there are several factors the VA looks at. These factors, taken as a whole, dictate the compensation rating you will receive. The benefits are distributed using a rate between 0% and 100% at 10% increments. The VA uses a complex formula to make their determination. You can find the relevant factors published on their website. Still, here are some of the more notable factors that can increase your disability rating if applicable: If you are suffering from more than one disability at the same time; If your Parkinson’s disease worsens; The way and degree to which Parkinson’s is impeding your life and ability to work; Your age (the older you are, the higher the rate); Changes in Social Security benefits to counter inflation (the VA matches Social Security benefit increases); If you have children, a spouse, and other dependents; If your spouse or dependents have a disability; and If you lose a limb or the ability to use a bodily function (like walking)....

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Veterans Disability

Can the VA Take Away Your Disability Rating?

As a veteran with a disability, it is not uncommon for you and your family to depend financially on those payments. Raising a family is hard enough when you have a dependable, stable source of income. Even if your partner works a steady job, those disability benefits are often crucial. As the cost of living continues to rise, it gets harder and harder to make ends meet. Because adequate financial planning requires a dependable source of income, you might wonder at times, Can VA disability be taken away? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. The VA often continues with disability payments for the duration of a veteran’s life. However, the VA and the federal government do reserve the right to alter the duration or amount of this financial resource.  In What Circumstances Can the VA Take Away My Disability Benefits? To understand when and why the VA takes away disability benefits, we have to know what factors they look at to make such a decision. Some disability rates are locked in and considered protected benefit rates. We will discuss those below, but first, we need to look at unprotected benefit rates. Unprotected benefit rates are a specific class of disability ratings that the VA can alter. After a reexamination of your disability, the VA can lower or remove your rating entirely. To legally make that reduction, the VA’s reexamination of your disability must show the following: Your disability has shown real, marked improvement (not a temporary change); The improvement in question increases your ability to fulfill your functions in the workplace and at home; The report submitted after the reexamination must leave no questions unanswered and be as thorough as possible; and As part of the thorough review, the VA must consider the entirety of your disability’s medical history. If those four factors are met, the VA can reduce your disability compensation. Please keep in mind that in addition to a reduction based on reexamination, the VA reserves the right to temporarily suspend or reduce your benefit rates if you are subject to incarceration. Can the VA Take Away My Compensation? Whether or not the VA can or will try to take away your disability compensation depends entirely on the facts and circumstances of your specific injury. Since the VA looks at so many different factors, it is hard to generically predict whether your VA disability benefits are at risk. Unless, of course, you have received notification from the VA indicating that your disability benefits are under challenge. However, just like there are factors that increase the likelihood that the VA will take away your compensation, there are factors that indicate the opposite. Instead, these are factors that protect your benefits and the rate at which you receive them. In most instances, these factors can stop the VA from suspending your benefits entirely. 100% Disability Rating Five Years or More with the Same Disability Rating  There are two time constraints that will help protect your VA disability benefits. The first is five years, and the second is 20 years. If your disability rating is effective for five years or more—without change—it is protected. Unless your condition has continuously improved over the preceding five years, your disability rating is entirely protected. The VA must affirmatively establish that your disability continuously improved to change your rating. A temporary improvement is not enough to suspend or alter your benefits rating. 20 Years or More with the Same Disability Rating The second time constraint that will protect your VA disability rating is 20 years. If your disability rate has remained unmoved for 20 years or more, your rate is nearly untouchable. There is only one way the VA can reduce or take away your disability rating after 20 years or more. To do so, they must prove that the rating was based on fraud in some form or another. This requires a high evidentiary standard. Thus, if you are in this situation and have never committed fraud, you have little to worry about. The Best Way to Defend Your VA Disability Benefits Is with Experience on Your Side Even if it seems like the VA has a legitimate claim to reduce your disability benefits, you should always stand up for yourself and fight for your rights. If your finances depend on these benefits, there’s too much at stake to not stand up for your rights. After all, the VA’s decision can make the difference between making your mortgage payment on time this month or not.  If you are ready to fight for your rights, the VA disability benefits team at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys is on standby to help you through the process from start to finish. Our team serves clients nationwide, so wherever you are, we can help. To top things off, our VA disability benefits team focuses specifically on VA disability benefits, so we have the requisite experience to give you the legal help you deserve.  Veterans, you fought for our rights, so let us fight for yours. Give us a call today, tell us your story, and let’s see what we can do! Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accident

How to Get Your Louisville Accident Report

At Gerling Law Injury Attorneys, we never recommend that our clients go into a Louisville car accident claim without first having a copy of their Louisville accident report. Even during our initial consultation with a client, it is difficult to accurately assess a car accident claim without the proper police report In that vein, if you need to file a Louisville car accident claim, we highly recommend that you bring a copy of your accident report with you. That way, we can accurately assess your case and determine how we can help you. What’s on a Louisville Car Accident Report? Similar to most other jurisdictions in the U.S., a Louisville accident report will contain a lot of important information about the car crash. Some of the more important pieces of information on Louisville accident reports include things like: The date, time, and location of the crash; A written description of what happened before, during, and after the crash; Various factors that could have contributed to the crash (road conditions, weather, etc.); Contact information for all involved parties; Insurance information for all involved parties; The name and badge number of the reporting officer; Injuries sustained in the accident; and Damage to vehicles and other property (including public property). At the end of the day, the report is the official record of the accident. As such, it carries a lot of weight and is a critical component of recovering damages. Who Do I Obtain My Louisville, KY Accident Report From? Who you obtain your accident report from depends on who responded to your accident. If your accident happened within Louisville city limits, the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) will respond to your accident. If that’s the case, you will need to obtain your accident report through them. Alternatively, if your accident happened, for example, on an interstate highway near Louisville, the Kentucky Highway Patrol (KHP) will respond and have your accident report on file.  Generally, there are three ways to obtain Louisville police reports for car accidents: Online, Over the phone, or In person. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, LMPD asks that people refrain from making requests in person. Requesting Your Accident Report in Louisville, KY Online First, you can obtain your Louisville accident report online using LMPD’s web portal. For a successful request, you will need to provide certain information on your request form: Your report number, The date of the report, and The driver or vehicle owner’s last name. We always recommend asking the responding officer to write down or provide your report number as soon as possible. If you don’t have your report number handy, you can email LMPD. They will look up and provide your report number at your request. LMPD can send your report through email or USPS. Each report has a $10 fee. You can pay the fee electronically using most major American debit and credit cards. If you have trouble with the application at any time, you can always call LMPD for help at 502-574-6857. Requesting Your Car Accident Police Report in Louisville, KY Over the Phone Typically, you would also have the option of obtaining your Louisville accident report in person. However, as noted, LMPD prefers you make your request over the phone or online for the time being. Doing so requires you to submit the same information regarding your accident as you would online. You can make your request over the phone by calling 502-574-6857 between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Reports requested over the phone also cost $10 each. Like online requests, after a phone request, the department can send your LMPD accident report via email or USPS. Ready to Get Started? If you are ready to start the claim process for your Louisville car accident and want a car accident attorney with experience, look no further than Gerling Law Injury Attorneys. We split our attorneys into specific teams so we know that they have the experience necessary to advocate for you while avoiding any unpleasant surprises. With us, you can go into the claim process with confidence, not trepidation. We set ourselves apart from other firms with the results we get for our clients. Just look at what some of our previous clients have to say about us. If you’re ready to take control of your claim, Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ® Call us today and tell us your story!

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accident

How to Get Your Indianapolis Car Accident Report

If you found yourself in an Indianapolis car accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve compensation for the damages you suffered. To do so, you will likely need to file a claim with the other party’s insurer or file a lawsuit in court. If you are thinking about filing a claim and gathering relevant information, you should learn about Indianapolis car accident reports. Indianapolis accident reports are a crucial component of any claim arising out of a car accident reported in Indianapolis. Why? Because Indianapolis police accident reports are the official record of what happened in the accident. As such, your IMPD crash report will end up as one of the most consequential pieces of evidence in your claim. That’s why it is so important to know what it says. Without it, how can you and your attorney effectively prepare for your case? Of course, before you or your lawyer know what the accident report says, you need to obtain a copy of it. Different jurisdictions have different methods of getting car accident reports to affected individuals. Indianapolis is no different. We will explain exactly how you can obtain a copy of your own Indianapolis police accident report. How Do I Know If I Need an IMPD Accident Report? Whether you will need an IMPD car accident report depends entirely on which law enforcement agency responded to your accident. You will need to make your request through the agency of the reporting law enforcement officer. So, if your accident happened within Indianapolis city limits, you will need to contact IMPD to get a copy of your report. Conversely, if your accident happened in unincorporated Marion County or on an interstate highway, you would need to contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Department or the Indiana Highway Patrol. This piece will focus specifically on obtaining IMPD accident reports. Requesting Indianapolis Accident Reports Online One way you can get car accident reports in Indianapolis is through an online portal. The online portal is not administered by the city of Indianapolis itself. Instead, IMPD contracts with a private company to manage all police reports, including car accident reports. The service is called BuyCrash.  To obtain a copy of your accident report through BuyCrash, you will need to fill out an application on the BuyCrash web portal. There, you will need to provide the following information: Your first and last name, The state in which the accident occurred (IN), The local jurisdiction in which the accident occurred (listed as INDIANAPOLIS PD), The date of the accident, The location of the accident, The accident report number. Reports from BuyCrash typically cost $11 by default. They may cost more if the relevant police department charges more, but the fees cannot exceed any state-imposed limits. BuyCrash can email you a copy of the report or send it via USPS. If you don’t know the relevant information by heart, don’t worry. The responding law enforcement officer should have given you a card after responding to your accident. That card should contain all of the relevant information, including the responding officer’s name or badge number. If you never got the card or can’t find it, you can call IMPD’s non-emergency line at 317-327-3155 for help. If you have trouble with the web portal, consult BuyCrash’s detailed instructions or chat with a customer service representative. Obtaining Your Indianapolis Police Accident Report In-Person The second way you can request and obtain your IMPD crash report is in-person. The process is relatively straightforward. All you have to do is visit the IMPD office located at 50 North Alabama Street, E100, Indianapolis. The office is open between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm, Monday through Friday. You will need to provide the following information to make a successful request: Your first and last name; The date and approximate time of the accident; The state, city, and location of the accident; and If you have it, the name of the investigating officer. If you don’t know the name of the investigating officer, the people working at the IMPD office can help you. In some cases, just your first and last name is enough to pull up your report. IMPD reports requested in-person cost $12. Get the Compensation You Deserve At Gerling Law Injury Attorneys, we have helped victims of Indianapolis car accidents get the compensation they deserve. If you didn’t break it, you shouldn’t have to buy it. And that’s why we are here. Over the years, our experienced team of car accident attorneys has helped people recover from just about every type of car accident imaginable. It doesn’t matter if the accident is big or small, we are here to help. Whether you need help understanding the contents of your accident report or are having trouble negotiating with the insurance company, we are here for you from start to finish. You deserve the best results possible, so go with the experienced team that can deliver those results. Go with Gerling. Call Gerling Law Injury Attorneys today or contact us online to book your free consultation!

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Car Accident

What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Indiana?

Are you wondering, What is the average Indiana car accident settlement amount? Are you unsure how to begin the process of starting a claim for your injuries?  Unfortunately, there is no average car accident settlement amount in Indiana. Your settlement will depend on the circumstances of your individual case. Your Indiana car accident attorney will help you navigate the unfamiliar network of insurance companies, claims adjusters, and court processes. They will also be able to help you determine the factors that affect your settlement and get a grasp on your damages. Types of Possible Damages in Indiana Car Accident Lawsuits Car accident damages can be both economic and non-economic. Economic damages are easily measurable and can include: Medical bills from the accident and future medical expenses for the injuries, Lost wages (past, present, and future) because of your injuries, Vehicle repairs, Travel expenses to get to your medical appointments, Rental costs while your vehicle is being repaired, and Cost for household assistance to help while you recover. It is possible to figure out economic damages because they are financial losses that can be added up. You should save all bills and documentation of any costs you had resulting from the accident. Non-economic damages are not as easy to quantify. They include pain and suffering, emotional and mental anguish, loss of the enjoyment of life, etc. A jury is usually responsible for determining the amount of non-economic damages.  One of the biggest factors that will affect how much you can recover will be the other driver’s insurance coverage. If they do not have liability coverage, that could dramatically reduce the amount you can recover. If the driver is underinsured (they do not have a high policy limit), that fact could also affect the amount of damages you could likely recover. Your attorney will discuss these issues with you, as well as present other possible options to overcome these potential limitations. Your Auto Accident Legal Claim The purpose of a successful auto accident claim is to compensate you for your losses, both those that you incurred directly from the accident and related losses you can expect to deal with in the future. Generally, these cases settle outside of the courtroom. Settling out of court is a way for parties to resolve the dispute quicker and with fewer legal expenses. If negotiation is not possible, your attorney will take your case to trial in court.  What You Should Do After an Accident Your first priority is your health. Get medical attention within 24 hours of the accident. Your second priority is to make a record of your injuries and treatments received as evidence. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing conditions or old injuries. The injury you are requesting compensation for must be directly related to the accident. Next, try to gather as much evidence as possible. Keep records of all bills or costs that you incur as a result of the accident. Take photos of your vehicle and the scene of the accident. Make notes of what happened that day while it is still fresh in your mind. If there were any witnesses, try to get their contact information. It is important that you not make any statements to the insurance company. Even if they tell you it’s mandatory—know that it isn’t. If they reach out to you, get the contact information of the person handling your matter and tell them your attorney will be in touch. Finally, contact an Indiana car accident attorney as soon as possible and schedule a consultation to discuss your case. Statute of Limitations In Indiana, injured parties only have two years from the date of the incident to open a personal injury lawsuit. After two years pass, it is not likely that the court will hear the case. Furthermore, the longer you wait to file, the harder it may be to prove your case. Evidence can be lost or damaged, and witnesses may be harder to get in touch with or not remember the events. Your best chance to receive compensation for your losses is to get your case started right away. Determining Fault for the Accident  Indiana is a “modified comparative negligence” state. This means that you can only recover damages for the percentage of the accident that was not your fault, and if a party is found to be 51% or more at fault, they cannot recover for damages at all.  The jury decides the percentage of fault for each party out of 100% total. If either driver violated any Indiana motor vehicle laws, that creates a presumption that that driver was negligent. A simple way to think about it is to ask, If the driver had not violated that law, would the accident still have happened? For example, let’s say you were driving, but you were texting on the phone and distracted. Another driver doesn’t see a stop sign and hits you on the passenger side of your car. You sue the other driver for $100,000 for your injuries and vehicle damage, and the other driver countersues for the same amount for their injuries and damage. The jury believes that you could have avoided the crash if you had been paying attention to the road, and they determine that you are 45% at fault. You are entitled to 55% of your damages, or $55,000. Someone who is 51% or more at fault would not receive anything.  What Your Attorney Can Do for You Your attorney will begin the process of putting your case together to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. If your attorney cannot come to an agreement with the insurance company that satisfies you, they will represent you in court at trial. Your attorney will: Investigate the incident by examining the police report, any evidence and documentation you kept, witness statements, etc.; Determine the extent of your damages by adding up your present bills and losses and projecting future costs; Send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | news

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana?

Losing a loved one is never an easy experience to go through, especially when the death is sudden and preventable. Wrongful death happens when a person is killed because of another person or entity’s negligence or misconduct. If your loved one was killed under these circumstances, you may be eligible to bring an Indiana wrongful death lawsuit.  Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana? A monetary award cannot replace your loved one; however, the law does not have a more effective remedy to offer you for your loss. An Indiana wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that allows the family to seek justice on behalf of their deceased loved one. The monetary award can help support the deceased’s surviving dependents. In some cases, the lawsuit may be used to serve as an example to others that the behavior that caused the death will not be tolerated and there are consequences.  Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Indiana? In Indiana, if the deceased is an adult, the personal representative (often referred to as the executor of the estate) or the deceased’s estate is the person who files a wrongful death lawsuit. This person is usually the surviving spouse, an adult child, sibling, or parent. Either or both parents may file for a deceased child.  What Is the Average Settlement for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlement? No two wrongful death cases are alike, which means settlements vary depending on the circumstances of the lawsuit. Factors such as the age of the deceased, their earning potential, medical treatment at the time of death, and more may be taken into consideration. Indiana caps wrongful death awards by juries for people without dependents at $300,000.  The following are some of the damages you may be able to recover. Lost of Financial Support These damages are especially important when the deceased was the primary provider for the household. Compensation covers the income that the deceased would have provided from their future employment earnings to support dependents.  Medical Expenses Costs of medical care can vary greatly depending on whether the deceased person was receiving medical care for the injury or illness that ultimately led to their death. Doctors, hospitals, diagnostic services, and pharmacies must all receive compensation, despite the outcome of treatment.  Loss of Parental Guidance Monetary awards cannot come close to adequate compensation for losing a parent. Surviving minors may receive financial compensation in an attempt to make up for not having their parent present to raise them and guide them.  Loss of Affection and Care This segment of wrongful death damages is also called “loss of consortium.” It pertains to the loss of a significant other and all the emotional and physical components of a relationship. This compensation may be hard to quantify. The surviving spouse should be prepared to answer a lot of questions about the happiness of their marriage.  Household Service Contribution Running a household is difficult even with multiple people contributing. Maintaining a home, caring for children, doing chores, preparing meals, and all other things that we often take for granted are relevant in your Indiana wrongful death lawsuit.  Burial Expenses Funeral and burial expenses can get expensive and may be covered under your Indiana wrongful death lawsuit damages.    Legal Fees If you succeed in your wrongful death claim, the court will likely grant attorney fees to be paid by the defendant. Legal fees are not assessed until after the verdict.  Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim Not every accidental death that occurs is a wrongful death. To succeed in your Indiana wrongful death cause of action, all the following elements must be satisfied:  A person died; A negligent or intentional act caused the death to occur; Surviving family members incur losses as a result of the death; and Appointment of a personal representative of the estate.   There are many ways that wrongful death can occur. Circumstances vary with every case, and it is important to understand causation. Here are some common circumstances that may lead to a wrongful death cause of action: Vehicle or airplane accident,  Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances, Criminal activity,  Premises accident,  Death during a supervised activity, and Medical malpractice.  The most difficult component of your Indiana Wrongful Death case is proving that the action of the party, whether negligent or intentional, is what led to the death of the deceased. Without the action, death would not have occurred.  How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help? Wrongful death claims in Indiana can be complicated, and there are a lot of things to take into consideration. An experienced personal injury attorney can conduct an independent investigation into the death of your loved one to ensure that you have all the evidence necessary to prove your case. One very important benefit of hiring an attorney early is that they can help you accurately determine how much your claim is worth. This could require extensive evidence gathering, including witness testimony.  According to the Indiana statute of limitations, you must file your claim no later than two years after the death occurred. Failing to file within that time frame could bar you from ever filing the wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney can make sure all your paperwork is submitted in a timely manner, conduct settlement negotiations, and litigate if necessary.  Contact Us Today Navigating the legal system is difficult at best. Gerling Law has been serving the legal needs of Indiana for over 50 years. We pride ourselves on treating each client with compassion and respect. What you are going through is undoubtedly difficult and painful. We are here to fight on your behalf for what you deserve. Contact us today for your case evaluation. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

Average Settlement for a Herniated Disc in Indiana

Herniated disc pain can be excruciating. When your herniated disc is the result of someone else’s negligence, you might be under additional stress, wondering who will pay your medical expenses. Understandably, many prospective clients want to know the average settlement for a herniated disc. Various factors impact the value of all personal injury claims, including herniated disc lawsuit settlements. To understand what your claim is worth, you need to speak with an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer at Gerling Law. What Are Average Herniated Disc Settlement Amounts? There is no average range for herniated disc settlements or any other type of personal injury claim. It’s impossible to provide a typical settlement value because each case is unique. While herniated discs are one of the most common injuries in a car accident, they are often one of the most contested by insurance companies. Insurance adjusters are quick to point the finger at a pre-existing condition. Diagnostic tests can show you have a herniated disc, but they won’t tell the doctors when your injury occurred. Even if you do have a pre-existing herniated disc, it does not necessarily prevent you from getting compensation. For example, you might be entitled to a herniated disc car accident settlement if the collision aggravated your injury. You might be researching compensation for herniated disc car accidents online and wondering why an insurance calculator won’t work to provide an average settlement amount. There is no such thing as a herniated disc settlement calculator—at least not an accurate one. Using an online calculator for your injury claim will not give an accurate value because online calculators are simply incapable of considering all the variables that influence your claim. Factors That Influence Your Herniated Disc Settlement Amount To reach a potential value for a herniated disc injury, we look at various factors that impact your claim. Some of the most important ones include: Your age; Your medical history; Any pre-existing conditions; The prognosis of your herniated disc; Who caused the accident; Your total damages, including medical expenses and time off work; and Your pain and suffering. All cases are unique, which means these factors will vary from case to case. For example, older people may not have lost earnings because they are retired or not working a full-time job. Or if your prognosis for recovery is not good, you could have a higher figure for pain, suffering, and additional medical expenses.  When you retain Gerling Law to represent you, our skilled legal team will help you calculate the total value of your damages and advise you on what a fair settlement range would be. How to Prove Damages in a Herniated Disc Injury Case Proving liability is a crucial part of successfully pursuing a herniated disc settlement. Indiana is a modified comparative negligence state. That means if you share fault for the accident that caused your herniated disc injury, you still might be eligible to collect a portion of your damages. However, you cannot be the primary cause of the accident. For example, if a jury finds you 20% at fault, you could still collect 80% of your damages. If you’re 50% at fault, you could collect 50%. Unfortunately, if you are 51% or more at fault, you will be barred from recovery. Because of this law, insurance companies will look to place the maximum amount of fault on you whenever possible. This tactic reduces their potential payout or may even eliminate it if they can show you were at least 51% at fault. By hiring our skilled Indiana personal injury lawyers, we can protect your rights and work tirelessly to prove liability and damages against the at-fault parties. Why Hire an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Herniated Disc Claim You need a legal advocate on your side. Unfortunately, insurance companies rely on the fact that you don’t know the legal process or how to calculate your total damages and negotiate a settlement. At Gerling Law, our top priority is to protect your rights and help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible.   We will request all relevant records that show proof of your herniated disc, such as an MRI. We will also obtain all your prior medical records to establish whether you had a pre-existing condition or spinal pain complaints. If necessary, we will hire a medical expert to review your medical history and testify whether the accident caused your herniated disc or aggravated a pre-existing herniated disc. If there were any witnesses to your accident, we will get their statements as well. Contact Gerling Law If you sustained a herniated disc in a car accident—or in any type of accident—contact Gerling Law today to learn how we can assist you. We have decades of experience helping injured victims just like you. We always put our clients first and will do what’s best for you. We have a proven record of success, recovering more than $500 million to date for people in the tri-state area. Call our office or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start working on your case. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®  

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accident

GEICO Car Accident Settlement Amounts in Indiana and Kentucky

If you’ve been injured in a car accident with a driver insured by GEICO, you may have questions about the company and its claims process. Here is everything you need to know about filing a claim with GEICO and how our experienced personal injury attorneys can help. About GEICO While you may be familiar with GEICO’s famous commercials, its company history may surprise you. GEICO, which stands for Government Employees Insurance Company, was established in 1936 primarily for military service members and federal employees. In 1974, GEICO extended its insurance policy offers to the general public and is now one of the largest insurers in the country. While GEICO initially offered only property and life insurance, it now focuses on auto insurance. What Is the Average GEICO Car Accident Settlement? Since many settlements made with insurance companies like GEICO are confidential, it’s nearly impossible to determine the average settlement. Even if you calculate an average from publicly available data, it would not accurately reflect most settlements with the company.  In addition, there are a variety of factors that affect the value of each settlement. For example, the average GEICO car accident settlements for crashes involving broken bones may be drastically different from those involving paralysis or traumatic brain injuries. Generally, the only way to know the true value of your claim is to have an experienced personal injury lawyer review your case. Should I Contact the GEICO Claims Department After an Accident? You should file your claim with GEICO as soon as possible after the accident. However, there are a few things you need to be careful of when pursuing your claim. First, make sure you do not provide any statements to GEICO’s insurance adjuster. The goal of the adjuster is to find any reason to minimize or deny your claim, so they may use anything you say against you. They may tell you that they need a recorded statement to proceed with the claims process. If this happens, politely decline and contact one of our GEICO car accident attorneys. Second, don’t agree to early settlement offers. Insurers commonly make the claims process a hassle, hoping that you accept a low offer out of desperation to pay bills. While the offer may seem good at first, it may not be enough to cover future medical treatment costs or other expenses related to the accident. Finally, don’t attempt to negotiate your settlement amount without an attorney. Companies like GEICO have entire legal teams to intimidate claimants into accepting a low offer. An experienced car accident lawyer knows the tactics used by GEICO to deny a claim and will gather the evidence needed to make a persuasive case. How Long Does It Take for GEICO to Settle a Claim? The amount of time it takes for GEICO to settle a claim depends on the circumstances of the case. Generally, insurance companies make their first settlement offer within just a few weeks after receiving the claim. However, these initial offers usually undervalue the claim. For cases involving a lawsuit, it may take months or even a couple of years to get a fair settlement. In addition, if GEICO refuses to settle, the company may try to fight you in court. At that point, it’s up to the jury assigned to the case. How Long Does It Take GEICO to Send a Settlement Check? After agreeing to settle, GEICO should send the check within 2 to 7 days after signing the settlement release. However, adjusters often do not send the settlement check promptly. If you have a lawyer handling your case, GEICO typically sends the check to them. They then use the check to pay any outstanding medical bills or attorney fees. Once your lawyer addresses these payments, you’ll receive the remaining amount. Do GEICO Car Accident Settlement Calculators Give an Accurate Estimate? In a word, No. Online calculators don’t give an accurate estimate for GEICO car accident settlements. There are many factors that affect a GEICO personal injury settlement that calculators ignore, including: The severity of your injuries, Future medical treatment costs, and Pain and suffering. While most calculators focus on economic damages (such as repairing your car) associated with your claim, they often ignore the intangible aspects of your injury. What if you can’t participate in one of your usual hobbies because of your injuries? What about your pain, suffering, and emotional distress? Do your injuries require lifelong care? Lawyers use various methods to calculate the value of intangible or noneconomic damages. The most common is the per diem method (assigning a value to each day the person is incapacitated) and the multiplier method (multiplying economic damages by a number between 1 and 5, depending on the severity of the damages). Some of the damages are incalculable and subjective. And many personal injury cases include non-economic losses like this. For this reason, a GEICO settlement calculator can’t accurately assess the value of most claims. The Benefits of Working with One of Our Lawyers While it’s not necessary to hire a lawyer for your car accident claim for every case, it’s absolutely essential for cases involving serious injuries. At Gerling Law, our personal injury attorneys help clients navigate all the major steps in a claim, including: Identifying the party responsible for your injuries, Gathering the necessary evidence for your claim, Collecting medical documentation of your injuries, Finding and interviewing accident witnesses, and Negotiating with GEICO and other insurance companies. When you get into an accident, handling these aspects of your claim may be overwhelming and intimidating. Our goal is to fight for the compensation you need, so you can focus on recovery. If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a car accident, call Gerling Law today or contact us online for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients living throughout the states of Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

Average Wrongful Death Settlement in Indianapolis?

Losing a loved one in an accident leaves their family and friends devastated. As they move through the stages of grief, they begin searching for answers and recognize the financial stresses associated with the loss of a loved one. Potential plaintiffs often ask what a wrongful death lawsuit average is when deciding if they want to pursue one. Unfortunately, there is no one average number. No two cases are exactly alike, so there is no way to compare cases to each other. The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on a number of factors. Understanding what a wrongful death claim requires and how damages are calculated can help the family decide how to proceed. What is a Wrongful Death Suit? Wrongful death is a civil claim brought by the deceased’s surviving family or personal representative against the negligent party. It is completely separate from a criminal charge, with a different burden of proof. Every state defines wrongful death in their own way, but there are common elements: Duty of Care. The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a responsibility to avoid behaviors that could cause foreseeable harm to the plaintiff (the deceased);  Breach of Duty. The plaintiff must show that the defendant violated their duty of care; Causation. The defendant’s violation/breach caused the person’s death; and Damages. The deceased and their family suffered injury or damage as a result. In these situations, the family has the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation. What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Case? A wrongful death claim covers those losses experienced by the next of kin after the deceased’s death. These can include: Loss of future inheritance, Loss of parental guidance (if they had minor children), Loss of spousal companionship (also called consortium), Loss of the decedent’s benefits such as retirement, and Loss of the decedent’s future income. Depending on your state, you may also be able to pursue a claim for losses suffered by the deceased prior to their death, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you understand the laws that apply to you. How Are Wrongful Death Damages Calculated in Indianapolis? Because each case is so different, it’s hard to name a number, or even a range, for damages. However, there are several factors that may affect a settlement amount. Usually, the main consideration is the decedent’s status and circumstances at the time of death. Factors to consider include: Age of person at time of death; The deceased’s career, education, and earning capacity; Their state of health; Income at time of death; and The age and needs of the deceased’s legal dependents. The final amount of damages cannot be a guess. It must be supported by objective evidence, which can require expert witnesses. Because of this, it is so important to have a personal injury attorney on your side who knows how wrongful death cases work. If a case does reach a jury, the plaintiff can also ask for punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant whose conduct is considered grossly negligent or intentional. Some states put a cap (limit amount) on this category. In Indiana, punitive damages are capped at the greater of three times compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. Kentucky and Illinois do not limit punitive damages. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim? Each state has its own laws stating who has standing to bring a wrongful death claim and who can collect damages. Usually, only immediate family members like spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children can recover damages in a wrongful death suit. Often, these individuals also have standing to bring the wrongful death suit. However, many states require a deceased’s personal representative (executor, executrix, or court-appointed administrator) to bring suit on behalf of the family members. Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Taxable in Indianapolis? The IRS considers any portion of a settlement or award that is “compensatory” as non-taxable. Compensatory damages are intended to repay someone for a loss that they have already sustained and are not considered “income” for tax purposes. If the case goes to trial and a jury awards punitive damage, the result may be different. It is possible that any punitive damages in a jury award or settlement may be taxed.  How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You Navigating a wrongful death claim can be complicated and overwhelming. You may be grieving and wondering if a claim is in the family’s best interest. Sometimes insurance companies contact family members shortly after an accident and offer an amount that seems substantial. But in most cases, their offer will be significantly less than the family’s actual losses. A wrongful death claim will take an additional toll on everyone involved, so having an attorney is essential. First, they will be your advocate against the responsible party, insurance company, or opposing counsel. They know the law and how to navigate the legal system on your behalf. The loss of a loved one cannot be reclaimed through a personal injury action. But a claim can compensate a family for emotional and economic harms so that they can begin to move forward. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement or represent you at trial if necessary. Suffering the Loss of a Loved One? Did you lose a family member or loved one due to the negligent actions of another? The team at Gerling Law is incredibly sorry for your loss, and we want to help you if we can. Our attorneys are dedicated advocates who will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve after such a tragedy. We have successfully represented clients in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky in wrongful death suits and other personal injury matters for over 50 years. Call us at 866-651-2195 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case consultation today! Remember, Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury

Calculating Pain and Suffering in Indiana

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...

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