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Gerling Supports the Evansville Christian Life Center's Thanksgiving Outreach

Imagine the Thanksgiving holiday as a long day of celebration that excludes you. Imagine not being able to provide a Thanksgiving meal for your family. Imagine how dark and lonely that would feel. For many people living in the inner city, living in poverty, the holidays stand in sharp relief to their everyday existence. Thankfulness is difficult to muster when you aren’t able to share a special meal with family and friends. But what if it were possible to find thankfulness – and Thanksgiving – in the midst of poverty? The Evansville Christian Life Center makes this possible for hundreds of people in our community each Thanksgiving holiday through their Thanksgiving Outreach program. About the Evansville Christian Life Center The Evansville Christian Life Center began as an outreach at a church in the inner city, to serve inner city residents with compassion and respect and to help them find a way out of poverty. As the church outreach grew, it began to serve a larger number of people, far beyond the original neighborhood scope. Now an independent organization, the Evansville Christian Life Center offers a wide range of services aimed at alleviating poverty and strengthening families throughout Evansville. The Evansville Christian Life Center provides relief services such as food and clothing, and administers programs that educate and equip those seeking to escape poverty for good. Chances are you are familiar with some of the programs and services offered by the Evansville Christian Life Center. Gerling Law supports many of these programs, both individually and as a firm, and has provided the reusable shopping bags used to deliver Thanksgiving meals since 2008. We believe the Evansville Christian Life Center is making a difference in our city, and we are honored to help. However, even with our help, the Evansville Christian Life Center consistently needs two things: volunteers and donations. How You Can Help The Evansville Christian Life Center’s Thanksgiving Outreach is an annual event that provides Thanksgiving meals to people in the Evansville community. Volunteers cook, prepare, and deliver the meals throughout the city, which helps make the holiday feel a little less bleak for those in need. Since November 2nd, the Evansville Christian Life Center has been receiving calls and planning deliveries for their Thanksgiving meal delivery. Volunteers are needed in all areas – cooking, preparing, and delivery of meals. Individual volunteers as well as groups are encouraged to sign up. Groups should contact the Evansville Christian Life Center’s Sharon Taylor at 812.423.9222 or staylor@restoringpeople.com to coordinate their times or register online to volunteer here. Even kids can volunteer, too, as long as they’re at least 12 years old and can have a parent come along to help. Want to help but can’t volunteer? You can make a donation to the program, which will help purchase the food needed to make the meals. Making a Difference Thanksgiving is a holiday traditionally marked by family, friends, and food – but for those living alone or in poverty, Thanksgiving is a reminder of their meager circumstances. The Evansville Christian Life Center seeks to wrap a loving arm of concern around the community, providing a hot meal for those who would otherwise not have one on Thanksgiving. The Evansville Christian Life Center invites anyone to get involved with their mission through volunteering or donating through their Thanksgiving Outreach, or any of their other services. If you’d like to know more about the Evansville Christian Life Center and its mission, go to RestoringPeople.com or follow them on Facebook orTwitter.

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The Dangers of Defective Products

The news has been hard to ignore: recently, German automaker Volkswagen admitted to installing devices designed to circumvent emissions testing in millions of their automobiles. The resulting scandal has shaken up the management structure in the venerated manufacturer and has caused worldwide outcry from both consumers and environmental groups alike. While no one was directly injured by the automaker’s actions in this instance, the scandal points out the lengths that some companies will go to in order to turn a significant profit. There are numerous examples of manufacturers putting company profits above the safety and well-being of the general public. Even with significant governmental oversight, many, many products fail and injure people every year. The Government Agencies That Protect Consumers There are three governmental agencies that monitor and regulate the products we use in the United States, warning the public when a product can be dangerous to health or public safety. These agencies are: Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Food & Drug Administration (FDA) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Each of these agencies has a well-defined area of oversight and can issue recalls for products. Still, there are thousands of products that malfunction or fail every year that aren’t part of a larger recall, and many times consumers don’t realize they have legal recourse to protect themselves from defective products. Ways a Product Can Be Defective A product can be defective in one or more ways: Defective design – Flaws in the design of a product can put consumers in danger. An example of defective design is in the case of IVC filters, which have been used to prevent blood clots from traveling to a patient’s lungs. The design of an IVC filter makes it more likely to fragment and migrate throughout the body, causing medical complications, severe pain, and even death. Defective manufacturing – When there is an error in the manufacturing process, the resulting flaw can be dangerous. An example of defective manufacturing is a power strip that is assembled with a damaged component, causing the unit to overheat and starting a fire. Failure to warn or instruct (labeling) – failing to provide thorough instructions for the operation of a product, and/or failure to warn the consumer of possible dangers, can result in the improper use of that product. An example of failure to warn or instruct can be found in the use of Zofran to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. The manufacturer did not publish any warnings about possible dangers to developing fetuses even though they aggressively marketed the drug as a treatment for pregnancy-induced nausea. Protecting Your Legal Rights It might surprise you to learn that there are more than 2,000 product recalls each year. Even though governmental watchdog agencies exist in order to monitor products and warn consumers, a product doesn’t have to be part of a recall for you to be affected. Defective devices and products are still in the marketplace, and you can’t rely on a recall being issued, particularly if the flaw is in the manufacturing or labeling of a product. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact an attorney with experience in products liability. An attorney will examine the circumstances of your injury, determine if your injury is due to a product defect, and develop a case that helps to protect your legal rights. Don’t allow a defective product to ruin your life. Contact an attorney with experience in personal injury caused by defective products.

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The basics of Social Security disability benefits

This blog recently discussed what Social Security disability benefits are as it is also helpful to dispel myths about Social Security disability benefits. When it comes to Social Security disability or SSD benefits, it is important to separate myth from fact. The application process for SSD benefits can be challenging, so it is useful to have accurate information and thorough knowledge concerning the application process and how to qualify for SSD benefits. For disabled individuals who are severely impaired by a physical or mental health condition that prevents them from working and have paid into the SSD program while working as an adult, SSD benefits provide financial protections that are important to understand. SSD benefits are designed to help disabled individuals with everyday costs. The average SSD monthly disability payment at the beginning of 2015 was $1,165. Although many initial applications for SSD benefits are denied, 33 percent were approved in 2013. In addition, if the claim is denied, the SSD process includes several levels of appeals to pursue the claim for benefits. Social Security disability requirements for eligibility include that the disabled individual must suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death. If the applicant’s condition is expected to improve, their eligibility will be periodically reviewed, though the benefits can be permanent in some situations. In addition, for applicants attempting to return to work, a trial period may be permitted during which they will continue to receive benefits. The chance of becoming disabled is higher than many people think, as 1 in 4 20-year olds insured through SSD will become disabled prior to retirement age. The application for disability includes a requirement for medical records and it is helpful to be thoroughly familiar with the application process which can help expedite a claim for benefits. Disability benefits do not begin immediately so it is also important for disabled individuals who are considering applying and believe they may qualify to promptly apply for benefits. Source: EverydayHealth.com, “10 Myths and Facts About Social Security Disability Insurance,” Kathleen Doheny, Aug. 28, 2015

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Take these steps after you're involved in a hit-and-run crash

You were making a turn at an intersection. You had the right-of-way, a green arrow to turn left. Despite this, a vehicle on the left failed to stop, hitting you in the middle of the intersection. Your tail-end was struck, so your vehicle spun. When it came to a stop, you took a few seconds to acclimate to your surroundings before realizing that the other vehicle was no longer present. The driver had hit you and fled the scene. What should you do after a vehicle hits you and the driver flees? The first thing you should attempt to do is to get a license plate number. In the event that the driver has already fled out of sight, try to remember the make and model of the vehicle as well as the direction it was headed. Since you’re in a crash, it’s always a good idea to call the police and for emergency medical care, even if you feel okay. Symptoms of whiplash and other injuries may not begin until your adrenaline is reduced. If there are witnesses present, you should exchange information if you can. See if anyone there saw the license plate or any part of the license plate to give those numbers to police. The witnesses should stay at the scene and wait for the police to arrive. Don’t leave the scene to try to find the driver, and if possible, try to move your vehicle off the road or wait out of harm’s way. When the police and medical team arrives, go to the hospital or take time to talk to the police before heading to the hospital, depending on your condition. You should have a medical workup done even if you don’t think you’re injured. When you’re medically stable, talk to the police to make a report. Then, call your insurance company to file a claim. Your attorney can also do this for you if you are unable to do so yourself. What do you do next? Many people flee after an accident because they don’t have insurance or aren’t licensed properly. When the police find the person responsible for the accident, they will be able to identify if the person has insurance. If not, you have a right to file a lawsuit against that individual. If the person does, then you can file a claim through the insurance carrier and allow your attorney to negotiate on your behalf. Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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Understanding what Social Security disability benefits are

Social Security disability benefits are important resources for disabled individuals and their families. Generally, there are two types of disability benefits available for disabled individuals through the Social Security Administration. Eligibility for the two types of benefits is different, and the two different types of benefits help disabled individuals and their families in different ways. Social Security disability benefits are available for disabled individuals who suffer from a physical or mental medical condition that leaves them severely disabled and unable to work. In addition, the medical condition the disabled individual is suffering from must be expected to last for a year or more or result in death. To receive SSD benefits, the disabled individual must have enough work credits based on their employment history to receive benefits. The amount of benefit differs by applicant and is based on their prior earnings. Supplemental Security Income or SSI is available for disabled individuals who may not have the necessary work history to qualify for SSD benefits. Supplemental Security Income is available for disabled individuals of limited income and resources. The amount of benefits they receive is based on their income and resources and is capped by the Social Security Administration. For those who are able to work, working while receiving SSD and SSI benefits is possible; however, there is also a cap on the amount of income the disabled individual can earn and still receive disability benefits. Disability benefits can be vital for many disabled individuals and their families, making understanding the different options available essential for these families. It is also helpful to understand the application process, appeals process and overall process of obtaining the types of benefits that can provide some relief to disabled individuals.

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Indiana high court allows medical malpractice claim

While patients across the nation expect to receive safe and proper care when entering a hospital or medical facility, this is unfortunately not always the case. Errors and negligence can occur, resulting in much harm to an unsuspecting patient. The Indiana Supreme Court recently found in favor of a man alleging medical malpractice in the death of his wife. The man asserted that the doctor failed to adequately care for his wife, which resulted in her death. The man followed Indiana’s procedure under the Medical Malpractice Act to first make a claim that the doctor provided substandard care in the treatment of his wife reviewed by the Indiana Department of Insurance. The Medical Review Panel provides the initial review of the claim to determine if the doctor breached their duty of care and if the doctor’s treatment fell below the standard of care. The man provided a narrative statement and medical records for the review and asserting that a delay in performing exploratory surgery after the woman was re-admitted to the hospital led to his wife’s death. The man then made his claim in court and provided a list of witnesses, including a hematologist, to establish that the doctor did not prescribed the correct dosage of an anti-coagulation drug. The doctor that the claim was brought against sought to exclude the hematologist’s knowledgeable opinion because they had not been part of the case reviewed by the Medical Review Panel and alleged that the initial submission had not asserted medical malpractice related to the use of an anti-coagulation drug. Both the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court found that the husband of the victim had met the requirements to proceed to take his case to court. The appeals court noted that the victim bringing the claim may raise any theory of alleged malpractice in court if the proposed theories are encompassed in the claim reviewed by the Medical Review Panel which it believed in this case it was. Medical malpractice claims in Indiana can be complex for victims who have suffered serious harm because of the negligence of a doctor. As a result, it is important for victims and their families to be familiar with how to navigate the process of making a medical malpractice claim so they can obtain compensation for the damages they have suffered. Source: Legal News Line, “Ind. man’s malpractice case can proceed after Supreme Court ruling,” John Sammon, April 14, 2017

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During Distracted Driving Awareness Month, be aware of dangers

Motorists in Evansville and elsewhere are aware of the many risks that can occur on the roadways. Nonetheless, it is imperative that drivers understand these dangers. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is a good time to understand the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving includes any activity not related to driving that removes the driver’s attention from the roadway. Distracted driving activities distract the driver’s attention from the primary task of driving. The three types of distracted driving include cognitive distractions, which remove the driver’s mental focus from the roadway and task of driving, visual distractions that remove the driver’s eyes from the roadway and task of driving and manual distractions, which remove the driver’s hands from the wheel and the task of driving. Specific distracted driving activities can include using a cell phone, using a navigation system, operating a radio, watching videos, eating, drinking or grooming while driving or talking with passengers. Texting while driving includes all three forms of distraction and is considered the most dangerous. Distracted driving is a serious concern for victims. The United States Department of Transportation reports that during 2012, 3,328 victims died in distracted driving-related car accidents and 421,000 victims suffered injuries in distracted driving-related car accidents. In total, 17 percent of injury accidents involved driver distraction. Distracted driving can cause serious harm to victims and their families, which is why legal options are available to help protect them when they have been harmed by a distracted driver. Victims of distracted driving-related car accidents may unexpectedly suffer serious physical, financial and emotional damages. Personal injury legal options can help victims recover compensation for the damages they have suffered at the hands of a distracted driver. Source: Indiana Department of Labor, “Distracted Driving,” Accessed April 9, 2017

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Rule change may make disability benefits tougher to get

A short while ago, this blog discussed the importance of understanding the application process to seek disability benefits afforded by government programs. The Social Security disability or SSD claims process can be challenging and the challenges may have just become greater thanks to a new rule change. The recent changes eliminate the rule referred to as the treating-physician rule. This rule provided weight to a physician’s report that was included as part of a disability application. The old rule required that significant weight be placed on a physician’s report that was included along with the disabled individual’s claim for SSD benefits. Those reviewing the applicant’s claim for benefits are no longer required to give the same weight to the physician’s report. In addition, determinations of disability from other agencies, such as the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, will also no longer receive added weight from reviewers. Social Security disability benefits are based on the disabled individual’s inability to work due to a physical or mental medical condition that is expected to last greater than 12 months or result in death. Applicants for SSD benefits must also have sufficient work history to qualify to receive benefits. The process of applying for benefits can be complicated and there are several levels of appeals disabled individuals should be familiar with, as most initial claims for benefits are denied. The Social Security Administration reports that the number of disabled individuals receiving benefits has declined for the first time in 30 years to 8.8 million disabled individuals receiving benefits as the number of approved claims goes down. Receipt of disability benefits can be a significant concern impacting disabled individuals and their families, which is why it is important for them to understand the current application process and how to navigate it. Source: Fox59.com, “New rules go into effect for Social Security disability claims,” Nick McGill, March 27, 2017

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Understanding time limits on medical malpractice claims

This blog recently discussed the serious nature of medical mistakes for victims. There are important considerations to be aware of in medical malpractice situations. It is essential to understand time limits as they apply to medical malpractice circumstances, which are referred to as statutes of limitation. Statutes of limitation must be strictly followed and failing to file a claim for damages within the prescribed time limit bars the claim forever. Statutes of limitation vary by state, so it is important for victims of medical malpractice to familiarize themselves with the duration of the statute of limitation in their state. Statutes of limitation typically vary from between 1 to 3 years that the victim has to bring the claim for damages. Because statutes of limitation can be short, it is important to protect a potential claim for damages when a victim has suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice. In addition, the period of time from which the statute of limitation begins can vary by state, so it is also important to be familiar with how the “clock” related to the statute of limitations runs in the victim’s state. Sometimes the time period begins when the injury occurred or may begin when the injury was discovered or should reasonably have been discovered. Additional methods for determining when the statute of limitations clock begins to run may also be used. Claims for medical malpractice can have many complex aspects it is important to understand. Because of the significant impact of statutes of limitation can have on a claim for damages, it is important for victims to promptly acquaint themselves with the statute in their state to preserve their claim for the physical, financial and emotional damages they may have suffered because of medical malpractice. Source: Injury.findlaw.com, “Time Limit Considerations in Medical Malpractice Claims,” Accessed March 27, 2014

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The serious nature of misdiagnosis for victims

Victims of medical malpractice are protected through the legal process. According to a study done by BMJ Quality & Safety, about 12 million adults in the United States who seek outpatient care are misdiagnosed by their doctors. The researchers who conducted the study stated that in at least half of those cases, the misdiagnosis had the potential to result in serious harm. Previous studies had made hospitals the focus of their study, but this one found that patients seeking outpatient care may also be at risk. The number of victims impacted represents 5 percent of all outpatients in the U.S. In reaching their conclusions, researchers analyzed diagnosis and follow-up visits. Because researchers concluded that one half of misdiagnosis situations had the potential to result in serious harm, this means that approximately 6 million outpatient victims are impacted each year by the misdiagnosis figures reported in the study. A previous study found that the most common causes of misdiagnosis include problems related to ordering diagnostic tests; errors made by doctors interpreting test results; and inaccurate medical histories. Researchers noted that it is important for doctors to slow down, listen to their patients and their health concerns, and conduct a thorough exam. Symptoms doctors most commonly misdiagnose include symptoms of more serious conditions such as shortness of breath, cough and abdominal pain. When a victim has suffered a failure to diagnose, it can lead to a worsened condition by causing harm to the victim that they would not have suffered had their medical condition been correctly diagnosed in a timely manner. When victims have suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice, there may be legal remedies they can pursue for the recovery of damages they have suffered. Victims of medical malpractice should be familiar with the legal options available to them during their difficult time. Source: CBS News, “12 million Americans misdiagnosed each year,” Jessica Firger, April 17, 2014

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