| Read Time: 5 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

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 for compensation. 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. Send us a message or call (888) 437-5464 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. 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 In Zantac 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...

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| Read Time: 9 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

What Kinds of Cancers Does Zantac Cause?

The popular stomach acid and heartburn medication, Zantac, has been linked to a notable increase in cancer risk. In 2020, the FDA recalled ranitidine, the generic name for Zantac and other over-the-counter stomach acid-blocking drugs. However, by that time, millions of Americans had potentially been exposed to a deadly carcinogen. Today, Zantac class action lawsuit attorneys across the country are helping victims and their families pursue justice and fair financial compensation. At Gerling Law, our Zantac lawsuit attorneys assist victims in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Nationwide. For more than 50 years, our firm has provided aggressive, highly personalized representation to injury accident victims. We believe that anyone who sustained harm due to the negligence or wrongful actions of a drug company deserves justice. You could be entitled to recover compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, emotional trauma, and more. Contact us online or call (888) 437-5464 today for a free consultation. The Link Between Zantac and Cancer Ranitidine, used by millions of people around the world, has been sold under a variety of brand names as both a prescription and over-the-counter drug. Ranitidine in its original state is not believed to cause cancer. However, when the active ingredient of ranitidine breaks down, it releases a chemical compound known as N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA is a carcinogen. Ranitidine breaks down normally over time. When exposed to heat, however, the process occurs much more quickly. Consequently, if Zantac or another ranitidine drug was stored at a temperature much beyond room temperature, or if the product was exposed to high heat, the breakdown would occur much more rapidly. N-nitrosodimethylamine is an extremely toxic substance. In addition to forming in the degradation of ranitidine, NDMA also results from the breakdown of rocket fuel components and other industrial processes. It can be found as an ingredient in some types of pesticides. The World Health Organization (WHO) published information in 2008 that identified NDMA as a known carcinogen. The WHO’s toxicological review data looked at levels of NDMA found in drinking water sources around the world. No one expected to learn that this extremely toxic substance could be sitting in their own medicine cabinet, disguised as a popular and commonly used stomach acid-reducing medication. What Is the Risk of Getting Cancer from Zantac? Initially, data indicated that cancer risks stemmed primarily from using ranitidine products that had been exposed to heat. More recent research, however, indicates that conditions within the human gastric tract could be sufficient to cause NDMA production. Research from 2016, wherein researchers monitored the levels of NDMA in the urine before and after taking ranitidine, supported this conclusion. Residual levels of the chemical increased more than 400-fold in the urine of those participants who took Zantac or another ranitidine drug. No solid data exist yet to prove how much more likely you are to develop cancer overall if you took Zantac. However, researchers believe that anyone who took a ranitidine product twice a week or more for a period of months or years could face an increased risk of getting cancer. The Types of Cancer Linked to Zantac Use Medical experts and research scientists continue to gather data on this developing problem. However, thus far, the list of cancers associated with ranitidine use continues to grow. These are some of the most common types of cancer caused by Zantac and ranitidine. Unfortunately, this list is in no way complete. It may be years or even decades before the medical and research communities can definitively list all the types of cancer that Zantac may have caused. Zantac and Breast Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Breast Cancer? The link between ranitidine and breast cancer was one of the earliest discoveries about this drug. In 2008, a study examined the link between the use of histamine(2)-receptor antagonist (H(2) blocker) medications and breast cancer. Drugs falling into the H(2) blocker category include cimetidine, famotidine, and ranitidine. The study found no link between H(2) blockers and breast cancer in general. However, the link between ranitidine and breast cancer was significant. In fact, the use of ranitidine increased the risk of ductal carcinoma by 220% and of estrogen receptor-positive/progesterone receptor-positive ductal carcinoma by 240%. Despite this research having been performed in 2008, the drug manufacturers left Zantac and other ranitidine products on the market for almost 12 more years. Research also links a history of Zantac use to cases of breast cancer in men. This disease rarely strikes men. Consequently, men typically do not undergo regular breast cancer screening. Talk to your doctor if you took ranitidine and have concerns regarding Zantac-related male breast cancer. Zantac and Bladder Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Bladder Cancer? For several years, researchers strongly suspected that a link between ranitidine use and bladder cancer existed. New studies have now demonstrated just how significant that risk might be. People who took the drug for three years or more faced a significantly higher risk of bladder cancer. However, even those who took Zantac for less than three years faced a 22% higher risk than people who never took the drug. Those who used it for three years or more have a 43% higher risk of developing bladder cancer. When detected early, bladder cancer treatment has a high rate of success. Learning the symptoms of bladder cancer—which include painful urination and blood in the urine—can help you better monitor your health. Talk to your doctor about what types of cancer screenings might be appropriate for you if you previously used Zantac or ranitidine drugs. Zantac and Uterine Cancer Risk: Does Zantac Cause Uterine Cancer? Uterine cancer, specifically endometrial cancer, already poses a significant risk for women in the U.S. Every year, almost 70,000 women receive a uterine cancer diagnosis. More than 12,000 American women die of uterine cancer every year. Even worse, experts estimate that the rate of uterine cancer cases is increasing by about 1% per year. This cancer is especially troubling, as it presents virtually no symptoms in the early stages. Although only observational...

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Veterans Disability

VA Disability Rating for Multiple Myeloma from Agent Orange & Burn Pits

Serving in one of our nation’s military branches is one of the most patriotic things that you can do. Unfortunately, military service can leave deep physical and psychological scars that can affect you for the rest of your life. Recognizing this, the federal government created disability benefits for veterans. The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers these benefits.  Over time, the government recognized that certain disabilities and conditions were more likely to develop in soldiers who served in a specific place and time. Thus, the VA developed two different ways of assessing and rating disability benefits. We will go over both of them by looking at the disability rating process for Multiple Myeloma associated with two different conflicts and their related toxins: Toxins that came from exposure to burn pits in the wars in the Middle East; and Toxins that came from exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange during the conflict in Vietnam. If you have or think you have Multiple Myeloma and fall into either of the two aforementioned categories of veterans, you may have a strong claim for VA disability benefits. The time and place you served, however, will affect the application process. We Know That Applying for Disability Benefits Isn’t Always Easy We understand that applying for VA disability benefits isn’t always the most straightforward process. Thus, the VA disability benefits team at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys is here to help. If you are in the process of applying for VA disability benefits related to Multiple Myeloma, you might have a few questions about the process. You may have questions like, What is the disability percentage for Agent Orange Multiple Myeloma? If so, you are in the right place. We’ll go over the basics of the VA’s disability rating, how it applies to Multiple Myeloma, and what you need to do in order to get the most out of your claim. Multiple Myeloma’s Military Service Connection Since we are talking about Multiple Myeloma arising from exposure in two entirely different times and places, their military service connection is also different. We will briefly cover both and discuss how the VA designates each disability. To understand the designations, however, we need to explain presumptive conditions and how they affect VA disability claims. What Are Presumptive Conditions? As previously noted, the VA makes it easier for veterans who served in a specific place and time to file a disability claim for a number of specific conditions. We call these presumptive conditions. Often, these are conditions that arise after a large group of servicemembers suffer exposure to a certain toxin. If there is an exceptionally strong connection between the two, the VA creates a list of presumptive conditions. If you have a diagnosis for a presumptive condition associated with a specific time and place of military service, you do not need to prove a connection between your condition and your service. Instead, it is presumed that if you have that condition and served in that place and time, the condition is connected to your service.  Conversely, if you have the same condition but served in a place and time where the condition is not presumed, applying for VA disability benefits includes an extra step. You need to prove that you have the condition, and you also have to prove the connection between your service and your condition. This involves the often time-consuming act of providing evidence to support your claim. Multiple Myeloma Caused by Agent Orange: A Presumptive Condition Agent Orange was an herbicide used primarily in the conflict in Vietnam. It was also used to a lesser extent in the Korean demilitarized zone. Agent Orange’s purpose was to eradicate plant life on the ground so that enemy combatants could not use the foliage as cover. Airplanes often sprayed it over large areas of foliage. This means that anything on the ground was exposed to it—including our service members.  Over the years, research has repeatedly shown that Agent Orange is highly toxic. As a result of its toxicity, researchers have connected it with various ailments and disabilities. Among them are Multiple Myeloma, other specific types of cancer, and Parkinson’s Disease. Recognizing the strong connection between Agent Orange exposure and Multiple Myeloma, the VA added it to Agent Orange’s list of presumptive conditions. Multiple Myeloma and Burn Pits: Not A Presumptive Condition During the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other deployments in the Middle East over the last 30 years, the US military has utilized burn pits. Burn pits are exactly what they sound like: large, open pits used to dispose of waste by burning it. The military typically places these pits within or just outside military installations. As a result, just about every civilian and military service member in the area breathes in the smoke and other particulates.  You can develop several respiratory issues from inhaling particulate matter from a simple wood fire. However, the military burns things that aren’t traditionally incinerated in a simple fire, which amplifies health risks. While there are certain conditions associated with burn pits that the government considers presumptive conditions, Multiple Myeloma is not one of them. Thus, if you served in the Middle East and developed Multiple Myeloma, you will need to prove the connection between Multiple Myeloma, the burn pits, and your service. How Does the VA Disability Rating System Work? Each time someone applies for VA disability benefits, the VA makes its assessment and assigns a rating. The rating comes in a percentage. A 100% disability rating nets you the maximum available monthly benefits, while a 10% rating nets you much less. The federal government periodically increases the maximum monthly benefit to reflect changes in the cost of living and inflation. The VA uses a somewhat complex formula to calculate your specific disability rating. You can find a full outline of the process on their website. However, it gets complicated quickly, so we will just touch on the basics. Essentially, the VA awards points based on various factors, including your age,...

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| Read Time: 8 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. Parkinson’s Disease And Military Service Over the years medical researchers have identified certain external factors connected to Parkinson’s disease. Researchers have demonstrated that people who were exposed to the factors are at a much higher risk of developing Parkinson’s than those who were not. Many of the factors that medical researchers have connected to Parkinson’s disease are herbicidal chemicals used in agricultural settings. Researchers have identified several consumer-grade herbicides that increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. One of the notable herbicides that falls into this category is known as Agent Orange, which was used by the United States military during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was sprayed above forests and fields to kill vegetation so the military could identify enemy forces without the obstruction of the trees. Often, U.S. forces were exposed to the chemical along with enemy combatants. Since the Vietnam War, researchers have identified several severe health problems, including certain types of cancer, associated with Agent Orange exposure. Some of these problems, including Parkinson’s disease, are what the VA refers to as “presumptive conditions.” Applying for VA disability benefits for a presumptive condition is generally easier than applying for benefits for a non-presumptive condition. More on that below. Veterans Can Get Disability Payments Through the VA Typically, for the VA to approve your disability claim, you have to prove your disability’s specific connection with your military service. This is not the case, however, with presumptive conditions. What Is a Presumptive Condition? Presumptive conditions are medical conditions that the military acknowledges arise from a specific place and time in military service. Often they give this classification when a large group of service members is exposed to some sort of hazardous chemical during a specific conflict. For example, for veterans of the first Gulf War, asthma is a presumptive condition due to the military’s use of burn pits in Iraq. Thus, a veteran of that war who develops asthma after their service has to demonstrate only that they served during that specific conflict to get VA disability benefits for asthma. Parkinson’s Disease As a Presumptive Condition In a 2009 report, scientists working for the federal government published research that connected Parkinson’s disease to Agent Orange. As a result, in 2010, the VA added Parkinson’s disease to the presumptive condition list associated with the Vietnam War. The disease was also added to the list of presumptive conditions associated with two other places and times: Those serving in the Korean Demilitarized Zone between 1968 and 1971 and  Those who stayed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and 1987. Thus, if you are suffering from Parkinson’s disease and fall into any of these categories, initially applying for VA disability benefits is a straightforward process. How the VA Grading System Works Each application for VA disability benefits gets a...

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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: 4 minutes | FAQ

How to Reopen a VA Disability Claim

If you are a veteran who has suffered an injury while serving in the military, a VA disability claim is probably the right way to go. However, in some instances, you may not get the outcome you’re seeking, and you may find yourself needing help along the way. The VA disability claims process can be challenging and confusing. Fortunately, Gerling Law is ready to help get you the disability benefits you need. The VA disability attorneys at Gerling Law are well-versed in filing a VA disability claim, appealing a denial of benefits, and reopening a VA disability claim. What Is a VA Disability Claim? First and foremost, it is important to understand what a VA disability claim is. Veterans may be able to file a Veterans Affairs disability claim if they become sick or injured while serving in the military or if their service worsened a condition that already existed. VA disability claims can cover those with physical or mental health conditions that developed or worsened before, during, or after their military service. The VA Disability Appeals Process If your VA disability claim is denied, you can appeal the decision. Fortunately, as of 2019, the VA has a brand new process for appealing a denial of benefits. Previously, a veteran who wished to appeal their decision had one year to file a “Notice of Disagreement.” The VA would once again review the claim. If the claim was still denied, the VA would send the veteran a “Statement of the Case” giving thorough details regarding the denial. The veteran subsequently had 60 days to file a “Substantive Appeal.” The VA did away with this old process and created a new and much more streamlined process. Instead of various deadlines, veterans now have one year from the date of their decision to appeal a denied claim. In place of the previous “Statement of the Case,” the VA will simply provide a decision, and the veteran will have one year to appeal. While this new process is streamlined, it is still complicated, so you are likely to need some help with it. The VA disability benefits attorneys at Gerling Law have the experience to navigate the appeals process to help you get the disability payments you deserve. When Can You Reopen Your VA Disability Claim? It is imperative to understand that to reopen a VA disability claim, you must have been denied benefits and received a final decision. Reopening a VA disability claim is distinct from appealing a decision, so a different process applies. A decision from the VA becomes final when: You’ve missed the deadline to appeal the decision or You have fully exhausted the appeals process for your original decision. Furthermore, to reopen your VA disability claim, the claim must be one of the following: Service-connected VA disability compensation, Dependency indemnity compensation (DIC), or Burial benefits. Finally, to be able to reopen a VA disability claim, you must have “new and material” evidence.  It is helpful to note that there is no limit to the amount of time you have to reopen your VA disability claim. You are allowed to reopen your VA claim no matter how much time has passed.  What Is “New and Material Evidence”? The words “new” and “material” are used purposely. They describe the type of evidence required to reopen a VA disability claim. As you can probably assume, “new” evidence is evidence that has not previously been introduced to the VA. For evidence to be new, the very first time you’re submitting it for the VA’s review is with your reopened VA disability claim. In other words, new evidence means facts related to your claim that the VA is not already aware of or familiar with. “Material” evidence must be evidence that is directly related to the reason your claim was denied in the first place. Material evidence proves or disproves an issue related to your claim.  Perhaps the VA did not have enough substantial evidence to verify your claim the first time around. Providing material evidence could help the VA more thoroughly understand the basis of your original claim. It is helpful to use the letter the VA sent you detailing the specific reasons for your denial, as this can help guide you in providing material evidence. An experienced VA disability benefits attorney can help you sort through your claim to see if there is new and material evidence to support reopening your claim. VA Reopen Claim Form — VA Form 20-0095 Once you’ve decided you would like to proceed with reopening your VA disability claim, you must submit a form to reopen your VA claim, VA Form 20-0995.  Once you have properly completed the form and included the new and material evidence, the VA will once again review your original claim and decision. After the VA has a chance to review your original claim, your request form, and all new and material evidence, a new decision will be issued. You Can Appeal a Reopened VA Disability Claim Decision Unfortunately, just reopening your VA disability claim does not mean you are any more likely to get an approval or a more favorable outcome. Even reopened claims can be denied. Luckily, this is not the end. If you are denied benefits after reopening your VA disability claim, you still have a right to appeal the decision. A seasoned VA disability appeals attorney is best suited to help you with the appeal process.  If You Receive a Denial, It Is Best to Seek Help Right Away While you can reopen your VA disability claim at any time after the final decision, it is wise to start the process as soon as you can. What happens when you reopen a VA claim? When you decide to reopen your VA disability claim, you are giving your claim a new effective date. The new effective date will be the date you file all required documents to have your claim reopened. Therefore, any pay will go back to the date you...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | FAQ

How Long Does a VA Reconsideration Take?

After you file a VA disability claim, the VA will send you a notice of its decision. The notice will tell you your disability rating. The rating is a measure of the severity of your disability and determines the amount of compensation you can receive. If you feel the VA has undervalued your claim, you may want to request a VA disability reconsideration. There is no official process for a VA reconsideration of value. Instead, if you’ve been discharged from service and want the VA to reconsider a decision, you’ll first need to request a decision review. If you’re still on active duty, your military physician will refer you to the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES), which has its own process. This page will walk you through the appeals process and the VA reconsideration timeline. Read on to learn how long a VA reconsideration takes. During Your Service: The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) Your first chance for a VA request for reconsideration is during your service through IDES. IDES is a collaboration between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA. With IDES, the two departments can share information on your claim and you won’t need multiple physicals. If you’re injured or fall ill during active duty, IDES will determine if you can continue service or if you’re eligible for disability. You’ll be assigned a military Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO) and a VA Military Services Coordinator (MSC) to help you during the process. What Is the IDES Process? Your military physician must refer you to IDES. Then your MSC will send you to the VA for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam. The Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) will review your exam results and your service treatment record to determine if you have a disability claim or if you must return to duty. The MEB phase usually lasts 72 days, including 31 days for the VA physical. If you disagree with the MEB’s recommendation, you can file a rebuttal. The MEB will take 7 days to review your rebuttal. Keep in mind that these timelines are goals for the DoD and VA, and your claim may be subject to delays. Next, the MEB will issue a report to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB). The PEB will determine a proposed disability rating. The PEB should take 35 days to return a rating. If you disagree with the proposed rating, you can appeal the decision to the Formal PEB (FPEB). The FPED should issue a decision within 24 days. You have the option to appeal the FPEB decision, which will take 10 days. If you disagree with the rating after the appeal, you can request a VA rating reconsideration (VARR). A VARR takes two days once the PEB sends your claim to the  VA Disability Rating Activity Site (D-RAS).  How long does a VA reconsideration of value take?  Once you accept the decision, you should expect to receive a final disposition within 5 days. Next, IDES aims to complete the administrative part of your transition to separation or retirement within 26 days. From the date of referral to IDES to the date of your separation (or return to duty), the DoD and the VA aim to complete 80 percent of IDES cases in no more than 180 days. After Discharge: VA Claim Decision Review If you have left the service and want to dispute your VA disability rating, you’ll request a decision review. For a VA decision on February 19, 2019, or after, you’ll choose from three review options: a Higher-level Review, Supplemental Claim, or Board Appeal. If your decision is dated earlier, you’ll use the legacy appeals process.  Higher-Level Review If you request a Higher-level Review, you’ll be assigned a reviewer from the original agency that issued the rating. The reviewer will review the record from your initial claim. You can’t submit new evidence. The reviewer determines if they can change the decision because of an error or a different view of the facts. The review should take four to five months. If you still disagree after the higher-level review, you can request a Board Appeal of that decision. Supplemental Claim If you have new, relevant information to support your claim, you can file a Supplemental Claim. When you submit a Supplemental Claim, a reviewer will determine whether the new evidence changes the decision. The VA can take four to five months to review your Supplemental Claim. If you disagree with the decision on your Supplemental Claim, you can submit the claim for Higher-level Review or Board Review. Board Review When you request a Board Review, a Veterans Law Judge on the Board of Veterans’ Appeals will review your case. If you don’t have new evidence, you can request a direct review. You can expect a result from a direct review within one year. If you have new evidence, you can submit it within 90 days of your request for Board Review. Or you can request a hearing with the Veterans Law Judge, and you’ll have 90 days from the hearing date to submit evidence. Reviews with new evidence can take over a year. If you disagree with the judge’s opinion, you can appeal your claim to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). You have only 120 days to submit an appeal to the CAVC. At any time after the Board’s decision, if you think the judge made a clear and unmistakable error (CUE), you can send a VA reconsideration letter to the Board. VA Claim Reconsideration for Clear and Unmistakable Error Because there is no VA disability reconsideration form, you’ll need to write a letter or memo to convince the Chairman of the Board to review the decision. The letter will need to point out the error, explain how it is clear and unmistakable, and identify what you think the VA should do to remedy it. Because the Chairman isn’t required by law to hear a claim for reconsideration of value, it is a good...

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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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