| Read Time: 7 minutes | FAQ

MST PTSD: Everything Veterans Need to Know

Many people are familiar with the term “sexual trauma.” However, there is a specific type of trauma referred to as military sexual trauma that is less known but nevertheless affects countless individuals each year.  Unfortunately, military sexual trauma (MST) occurs with devastating regularity within the armed forces. MST refers to sexual assault, sexual harassment, and threats of such acts that veterans experience in the course of their military service. In some cases, MST can even trigger posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you are experiencing MST PTSD, know that you are not alone. While nothing can undo the pain and trauma that you have experienced, there are things you can do to help on the pathway toward recovery.  While not offered for MST alone, veterans suffering from PTSD caused by MST may be eligible for disability compensation. The disability attorneys at Gerling Law are zealous advocates for veterans and their rights. Give our team a call today to discuss your rights and see how we can help you get the VA disability pay you deserve.  What Is MST? So, exactly what is MST(military sexual trauma)? The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines MST as any sexual activity that occurs during military service where a veteran was involved in sexual activity against their will. Common examples of MST include: Being pressured into sexual activities through threats or implied or overt promises of better treatment; Situations in which the veteran was unable to provide consent due to intoxication or unconsciousness; Sexual activities accomplished through physical force; Hazing experiences involving unwanted sexual touching, grabbing, or other unwelcome acts; Offensive sexual remarks that the target perceives as threatening; and Unwelcome sexual advances that the MST victim perceives as threatening.  Importantly, to constitute military sexual trauma, the target of the sexual activity has to be a veteran. However, the individual inflicting the sexual act, attempting the sexual act, or making the sexual remark does not have to be a veteran. Furthermore, whether the harassment or assault occurred on or off base, or while the victim was on or off duty, is not relevant. There are many other ways in which military sexual trauma may present itself. If you have questions about whether you might be a victim of MST, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Gerling Law to discuss your situation and see how we may be able to help.  How Often Is MST Reported?  Unfortunately, when MST occurs, it is not always reported.  The VA implements a national screening program for any veteran receiving medical care to obtain data on the experiences of veterans as a whole. Data from the national screening program indicated that 1 in 3 women reported experiencing MST, while 1 in 50 men reported experiencing MST. The number of veterans who actually report the MST is much lower.  Additionally, while women report an overwhelming majority of MST cases, men can and do experience MST PTSD arising out of their military service as well. MST-Related PTSD Understandably, MST often results in PTSD for victims. However, the existence of MST does not automatically result in the victim suffering from PTSD.  The VA does not provide benefits to MST victims, specifically. Rather, the VA does offer benefits for veterans with PTSD, which can be caused by MST. Symptoms associated with PTSD that can occur after an MST include: Disturbing nightmares or memories about the event; Chronic anxiety; A desire to avoid people; Inability to feel safe; Feelings of depression; Feelings of isolation; Sleeping problems; A sudden fear of individuals of the same gender as the assailant; or  Physical health problems. MST-related PTSD claims require two main elements. The first element requires credible evidence establishing that a trauma-inducing event, such as MST, occurred during your military service. The second element requires a connection between the event and the resulting symptoms of trauma.  If you suffer from PTSD and believe it was caused by military sexual trauma, you may have a potential claim to receive disability benefits. Give Gerling Law a call today to discuss the particular circumstances surrounding your case. Credible Evidence and Connection Requirements Despite the requirement of credible evidence that the MST occurred, the VA understands that many instances of MST are not reported at the time the trauma occurred. Thus, victims can provide “markers” or circumstantial evidence of the veteran’s emotional reaction to the MST. Common markers used to demonstrate the existence of MST include: Law enforcement reports; Reports from mental health counselors or rape crisis centers; Medical records at or near the time of the MST; Statements from individuals familiar with the victim with knowledge of the MST; Journals or personal diaries of the victim; Military personnel records demonstrating a decline in behavior or performance after the MST occurred; and Medical records showing irregularities or signs of mental health issues. After establishing the occurrence of the MST, you will also need documentary evidence from a medical or mental health professional indicating that your PTSD was caused or aggravated by the MST. Gathering this documentation and information on your own can feel stressful and overwhelming. An experienced disability attorney can help you find and collect the materials you need to make the best case possible for your disability claim.  MST-Related PTSD C&P Exam After you establish the credible evidence and connection requirements, the VA will likely order a Compensation and Pension examination (C&P exam). The C&P exam determines whether you meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis and whether your MST actually caused your PTSD. How Can I Prepare for a C&P Exam? One important thing to remember is that you should not skip your scheduled C&P exam. Doing so could result in a denial of your disability claim entirely.  Many professionals recommend taking a comprehensive list of the PTSD symptoms you regularly experience with you to your C&P exam. This is because many times, veterans forget the primary issues inflicted by their PTSD during the exam. However, having a list of your most debilitating symptoms can help avoid this...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

Should I Join the Zantac Lawsuit Against Sanofi?

The drug, Zantac, manufactured and distributed by Sanofi, is the subject of a great deal of recent public scrutiny and litigation. Zantac is said to have caused cancer in thousands of Americans who took the drug. As a result, the injured parties are pushing back. With the ongoing lawsuits against Sanofi regarding the prescription medication, many people who took the drug and suffered injuries are trying to decide if they should file a claim for damages—and how they should do so. If you are one of those people, the experienced professionals at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys can help you out. One of the primary questions that we get regarding Zantac injuries is, should I join the Zantac class action lawsuit? The answer to this question depends on the circumstances of your own case and your claim for damages. Class action lawsuits have their advantages and their disadvantages. To help you put some thought into which direction you want to take your claim in a Zantac cancer lawsuit, we put together this quick guide. Among other things, we will discuss potential Zantac lawsuit payouts, the pros and cons of joining a class action, and why the Zantac cancer lawsuits exist in the first place. If you are reading this article and think you have a claim, it is crucially important that you take legal action as soon as possible. The cutoff for the class action lawsuit is September 2021, and you don’t want to miss out. What Is Wrong With Zantac? Zantac is Sanofi’s trademarked name of the drug, ranitidine. Ranitidine medications were a common treatment for heartburn for quite some time. That is until concerns over cancer started to arise. In 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), requested that all manufacturers of ranitidine-based drugs withdraw their drugs from the market immediately. The FDA’s announcement came after an investigation into the drug and a specific contaminant contained therein. The FDA found dangerously high levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), the contaminant in question, in many ranitidine products. The unacceptable NDMA levels were particularly high in medications stored above room temperature. While the NDMA levels in ranitidine drugs stored at room temperature were lower than others, they were still unacceptable concentrations. The Harmful Effects of NDMA NDMA is a known cancer-causing agent (or carcinogen). Like many other carcinogens, it is present in many food and water sources. Generally, at such low levels, consumption of NDMA does not amount to a problem. However, the levels found in Zantac were far beyond an acceptable level. As a result of the high NDMA concentrations, countless individuals have developed cancer of various kinds. If you developed cancer after taking Zantac for more than a couple of months, you likely have a legitimate claim for damages from Sanofi. Class Action Lawsuits Generally speaking, class action lawsuits are a way to streamline litigation. When many claimants file similar claims against a given party, those claims are often consolidated into a single claim. The name “class action” stems from the fact that there is a defined group of people (a class) that can join the claim. If you meet the requirements for the “class” in a given class-action suit, you can join it and recover your share of the damages you suffered. The “class” in the Sanofi Zantac class-action lawsuit is anyone who can demonstrate that they: Took Zantac for a continuous period of one year or more; and Developed one of the following types of cancer after taking the drug: Colorectal cancer, Esophageal cancer, Liver cancer, Intestine cancer, Stomach cancer, Early-onset prostate cancer, Leukemia, or Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. If you meet the noted criteria but don’t see the specific type of cancer you developed in the list above, don’t worry. The provided list is not exhaustive, so other types of cancer may still meet the requirements to join the class action. Come talk to us at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys, and we will help you assess your individual situation. Pros and Cons of Class Actions Class actions have a lot of advantages, but they also have their own disadvantages. Thus, it is important to consider both options when deciding which direction you want to take your claim.  Perhaps the biggest advantage to class action lawsuits lies in their efficiency. Filing a legal claim through a class action lawsuit often costs significantly less than filing an individual civil claim. Your attorney has considerably less work to do when joining a class action claim than they do filing an individual claim for damages. Class actions, as a whole, are also more efficient in moving through the legal process than individual claims. Instead of a judge and jury having to decide 2,000 individual cases, they can judge just one case. While a class-action case will move slower than one individual claim, a class action will move through the court system faster than 2,000 individual claims. Finally, class actions offer claimants more of a guarantee of damage recovery than individual claims. This is because, in order for class action claims to move forward, they should have a fairly robust chance of success. The main drawback to class-action lawsuits is that there is little room for nuance in separating your case from the others. As a result, if you suffered severe damages, your share of the class action damages may not fully cover your damages. To this same end (and same disadvantage), when you accept compensation through a class-action lawsuit, any claim to future damages is null. If you battled cancer on and off for 10 years after taking Zantac, for example, your damages may far exceed that of a ‘typical’ class member. Thus, if you find yourself in such a situation, you may want to consider filing an individual claim. If you do, it is far more likely that your Zantac lawsuit payout will fully compensate you for your damages.   Regardless of What You Decide Whether or not you decide to join the Zantac class-action lawsuit, we at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys are...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Defective Consumer Devices

Do I Qualify for the Roundup Lawsuit?

Ever since the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2015 cancer warning regarding the widely used herbicide, Roundup, rampant litigation regarding the product’s safety profile has arisen. Specifically, it is alleged that Roundup can cause certain types of cancer. As a result of these claims, Bayer, the parent company of Roundup’s manufacturer, agreed in 2020 to pay out $10 billion to settle ongoing claims against their company regarding the product.  If you were injured by Roundup at any time, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If so, chances are that Gerling Law Injury Attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our team at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys is currently helping countless clients do the same. If you are interested in joining this Roundup cancer lawsuit, it is important to assess whether or not you qualify for the ongoing legal action.  What Happened with Roundup? Roundup is the most commonly used herbicide in the world. Unfortunately, since 2015, one of the key ingredients in Roundup, glyphosate, has become known as a known cancer-causing chemical (carcinogen). One 2019 study from the University of Washington linked glyphosate exposure to a 41% increase in cancer risk compared to those with no exposure. Thus, if you developed cancer after using Roundup, you may have a claim for damages. Even better, you may have a claim to join in with many other litigants as part of a class-action lawsuit against Bayer regarding Roundup. The payout for that Roundup cancer lawsuit is not insignificant. As an injured party, Gerling Law Injury Attorneys can help you file your own individual lawsuit against Bayer regarding the harmful effects of Roundup. Prior Litigation Prior to the recent  $10 billion settlement agreement, there were other settlements regarding the harmful effects of Roundup. One plaintiff received a unanimous jury reward of $289 million. On appeal, a higher court reduced that amount to $80 million, but that is still a significant jury award. In another jury trial, other plaintiffs received an initial award of $2 billion. There is a lot at stake in the Roundup lawsuit. Because much of the damage to litigants is already done and involves untold sums of damages, it is extremely likely that further settlements will be equally significant.    How Do I Qualify for the Roundup Cancer Lawsuit? To determine whether or not you qualify for Roundup settlement checks, you need to assess whether or not you meet certain criteria. At its base, the criteria are as follows: You or a loved one used Roundup for an extended period of time; and You or a loved one developed cancer of some sort after exposure to Roundup for a period of time. Each case is unique, so these criteria are not a one size fits all proposition. Instead, we at Gerling Law assess each case on its own merits. Some types of cancer will qualify for the lawsuit, others will not. We will tell you whether we believe your Roundup claim is going to succeed. Honesty is of paramount importance at Gerling Law. If Roundup Has Caused You Damage The wave of litigation against Roundup is strong. For numerous years, this product has plagued countless Americans with the threat of cancer. Our goal is to help right that wrong. Whether it is for you or for a family member is irrelevant. Whatever your needs are, Gerling Law Injury Attorneys can help you through the Roundup litigation process. The foundation of our firm is experienced. And that experience serves our clients well. With our extensive knowledge, our team has the experience to determine if you qualify for a Roundup Lawsuit. Our bottom line is helping you get where you need to go. Our team of attorneys has the experience necessary to ensure that your case goes the way it should go. Go with the trusted and true injury attorneys. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ® Contact us today for your free consultation!

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Defective Consumer Devices

Johnson & Johnson Ends Talc-Based Baby Powder Sales in North America

May 19, 2020 – After facing thousands of lawsuits from ovarian cancer patients who claim that its talc-based baby powders are contaminated with asbestos, Johnson & Johnson is discontinuing North American sales of the products. Plaintiffs claim that the company knew about its products containing asbestos, a known carcinogen, and did not warn consumers.  Existing bottles will continue to be sold by retailers until they run out, and baby powder made with cornstarch will still be available.  Additionally, Johnson & Johnson will sell the talc-based baby powder in other parts of the world–just not in North America. Reference: Hsu, Tiffany, and Roni Caryn Rabin. “Johnson & Johnson to End Talc-Based Baby Powder Sales in North America.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 May 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/05/19/business/johnson-baby-powder-sales-stopped.html

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Defective Consumer Devices

Women Suffering From Ovarian Cancer Awarded Billions in Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Lawsuit

June 23, 2020 — On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, an appellate court in Missouri ordered Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary to pay over $2 billion in damages to women who claimed that their ovarian cancers were caused by the company’s asbestos-containing talcum products, including its baby powder.  The court upheld that the company was aware of the cancer-causing asbestos in its products and did not warn consumers about it.  A record award of $4.69 billion in compensatory and punitive damages was made to the injured women in July 2018, but the appellate court’s Tuesday decision cut that amount by over half.  The court awarded $500 million in actual damages and $1.62 billion in punitive damages, reducing the original award of $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages after dismissing claims by some of the plaintiffs. In its decision, the appellate court noted that Johnson & Johnson’s internal memoranda dating as far back as the 1960s stated that its talcum products consisted of potentially dangerous asbestos.  “A reasonable inference from all this evidence is that, motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in their products caused ovarian cancer,” the court said.  The plaintiffs “showed clear and convincing evidence defendants engaged in conduct that was outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference.” A spokeswoman relayed that Johnson & Johnson would seek further review of the recent ruling, defending its talcum products as safe.  “We continue to believe this was a fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts,” Kim Montagnino, the spokeswoman, stated. “We remain confident that our talc is safe, asbestos-free, and does not cause cancer.”  Despite her apparent certainty, six plaintiffs died before the trial started and five more have died since the jury trial ended in 2018, according to a lawyer involved in the litigation. Johnson & Johnson still has thousands of talcum product lawsuits to face. The company announced last month, May 2020, that it would cease the selling of baby powder made from talc in North America, though it would continue selling it elsewhere. Johnson & Johnson has argued that unreliable testing methods are the reason why asbestos has been found in its products.  However, that does not explain the thousands of women with ovarian cancer and other victims of the company’s cancer-causing talcum products that have been sued.  As of March 2020, Johnson & Johnson has faced more than 19,000 lawsuits due to its talcum body powders. The company has lost some cases and won others, but it is appealing in almost every case it has lost. In late 2019, Johnson & Johnson recalled approximately 33,000 bottles of baby powder after F.D.A. investigators reported asbestos in a bottle bought from an online retailer. Johnson & Johnson stated that its own tests cleared the baby powder after not finding any asbestos. The company is fending off unrelated lawsuits as well as its talcum product lawsuits, such as lawsuits involving opioids. In August 2019, an Oklahoma judge ruled that Johnson & Johnson had oversold the benefits of the drugs while playing down their risks, and ordered the company to pay $572 million in damages. “At some point, there is a reputational question that mass tort cases bring, and they’re going to have to be concerned,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor who teaches about product liability at the University of Richmond in Virginia. “They’ve built their entire reputation on being a family-friendly product producer,” Mr. Tobias said. “The classic example of that is talc, and the injuries these women suffered are severe.” Reference:  Rabin, Roni Caryn. “Women with Cancer Awarded Billions in Baby Powder Suit.” The New York Times, 23 June 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/health/baby-powder-cancer.html

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Defective Consumer Devices

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Appeal in $2 Billion Jury Award Against Johnson & Johnson

June 7, 2021 – On June 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Johnson & Johnson meant to reverse a $2 billion jury award given to the ovarian cancer victims claiming that the company’s talc-based baby powder was contaminated with asbestos was the cause of their cancer.  Not to be mistaken with the Court finding in favor of the plaintiffs, the Justices rejected Johnson & Johnson’s petition for a writ of certiorari or a review of the lower court’s decision.  Two Justices, Brett Kavanaugh, and Samuel Alito were unable to be a part of the decision due to connections in the case that could cause a conflict of interest.  By declining to hear the appeal, the Supreme Court allowed the current judgment to stand. The case Johnson & Johnson was looking to appeal was Johnson & Johnson, et al., Petitioners v. Gail L. Ingham, et al., in which a St. Louis jury decided in favor of the plaintiffs. At the time (2018), the jury decided to award $4.7 billion to the 22 plaintiffs involved. Johnson & Johnson asked a Missouri appeals court to throw out the judgment entirely in June 2020, with the court declining to do so, noting that “there was significant reprehensibility in defendants’ conduct” and that “the harm suffered by plaintiffs was physical, not just economic.”  The Missouri appeals court did, however, decide that not all of the 22 plaintiffs should have been included in the original trial since not all of them had the legal standing to file a lawsuit of this nature in the state of Missouri. Because of this, the appeals court removed two of the plaintiffs from the lawsuit and decreased the judgment to $2.1 billion, the Associated Press reported. Since the Missouri appeals court did not reverse the judgment, Johnson & Johnson needed to seek a higher court’s judgment, leading the company to file the petition for a writ of certiorari in March 2021. The argument based on which Johnson & Johnson requested the Supreme Court to review the decision was, as NBC News reported, “that the Missouri courts unfairly combined the cases of nearly two dozen women from several states whose cancer severity varied widely” instead of trying cases individually, in some instances in other states. Johnson & Johnson cited concerns over “jury confusion” related to the consolidation of multiple plaintiffs into one trial. Another question Johnson & Johnson’s petition had asked the Supreme Court to consider had it taken up the case was whether the punitive damages awarded in this case had “violate[d] due process.” Reference: “Talc Lawsuit Update JUNE 2021: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal in $2 Billion Jury Award against j&j.” The National Law Review, www.natlawreview.com/article/talc-lawsuit-update-june-2021-supreme-court-declines-to-hear-appeal-2-billion-jury#:~:text=Talc%20Lawsuit%20Update%20June%202021,Billion%20Jury%20Award%20Against%20J%26J&text=With%20%242%20billion%20on%20the,cancer%20patients%20and%20their%20families

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Defective Consumer Devices

Alaska Files Lawsuit Against Companies Linked To PFAS and AFFF

April 22, 2021 — On April 7, 2021, Alaska’s Attorney general filed a lawsuit against over thirty companies seeking damages for pollution due to PFAs. The specific pollution in the suit is only linked to two of the thousands of different PFAs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), but the damages are likely to be in the hundreds of millions. The results of the lawsuit will be greatly anticipated by both states who are also wanting to sue for PFA damage and companies that have either made PFAs or used them during other manufacturing.   The Alaska lawsuit is against three types of companies:  (1) PFAS manufacturers; (2) PFAS distributors and (3) aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) manufacturers and suppliers. Several theories of liability are alleged, including negligence, nuisance, trespass, and products liability. The damages sought include costs associated with Alaska’s past, present, and future efforts to end PFOA and PFOS pollution. The future costs would include investigative costs to determine the scale of the pollution, remediation costs, proper disposal of PFAS-contaminated water and solids, and monitoring for future pollution. The state seeks triple the damages under its state statutes in addition to the punitive damages that would punish the behavior of the companies.  The remediation by itself could result in hundreds of millions of dollars, but if Alaska could receive punitive damages or triple damages, the amount could go over a billion dollars. While the Alaska lawsuit targets PFAS manufacturers and AFFF manufacturers, other companies should not underestimate the power of the lawsuit to impact them as well. Such companies in other states have been directly named as defendants in lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in PFAS remediation costs. Companies should not ignore the dangerous environmental issues that PFAS poses as a number of different entities, from states to private citizens, are actively seeking damages. It is in the best interest of all if companies of all types started conducting a complete compliance audit to best understand areas of concern for PFAS liability issues. Reference: “Alaska PFAS Lawsuit Latest State Action On PFAS.” The National Law Review, www.natlawreview.com/article/alaska-pfas-lawsuit-latest-state-action-pfas

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

Manufacturer Sanofi Destroys Emails Linked To Zantac Recall

May 11, 2021 — Manufacturer Sanofi destroyed internal emails linked to a 2019 recall of Zantac, according to lawyers for over 70,000 former patients who sued the company in the U.S. The deleted emails, including those of Michael Bailey, the head of regulatory affairs for Sanofi’s U.S. Consumer Healthcare division, will make it more challenging for plaintiffs to show that Sanofi and other drugmakers allowed a suspected carcinogen to affect Zantac, according to a May 7 court filing. The mishandling of emails has “resulted in the delay and/or postponement of many key Sanofi depositions,” lawyers for former patients reported. They have requested more time to prepare for their first trials from the judge overseeing their cases, which are set to start next year. Sanofi initiated an internal probe about the email deletion and is scheduled to report to the same judge in August 2021. “Although Sanofi has already provided hundreds of thousands of pages of relevant discovery to the plaintiffs, Sanofi has voluntarily disclosed that certain emails requested by plaintiffs were not preserved as intended,” Ashleigh Koss, a U.S. spokeswoman, stated in an email Tuesday. “There was no intentional destruction of data,” she said. “Sanofi is working to obtain as much of the data as possible from alternative sources. This issue has no impact on the strong defenses Sanofi has in this litigation, and the company remains fully confident in the safety of Zantac.” Though Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, in addition to 33 generic drug makers, 25 retailers, and four distributors, are accused in the lawsuits of failing to properly warn users about Zantac’s health risks, only Sanofi has been accused in the filings of destroying emails. Former consumers have complained that GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH have been slow to give records during the pre-trial stage of the Zantac lawsuits, however.  Over 1,300 suits involving claims by more than 70,000 former Zantac users have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg in Florida, making it one of the largest consolidations in the U.S. Rosenberg is overseeing information exchanges and early trials to test the merits of the claims against manufacturers. She has already thrown out some claims, including those saying Zantac was defectively designed.  The Zantac case is In Re Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litigation, 20-MD-2924, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach). Plaintiffs’ attorneys want Rosenberg to create two class-action cases for former Zantac consumers. The first would be for cancer patients who endured economic losses linked to the medicine. The second would include those who haven’t been diagnosed with cancer and seek compensation for medical monitoring in the future. Reference:  “Sanofi Accused Of Destroying Internal Emails.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-11/sanofi-accused-of-destroying-internal-emails-about-zantac-recall

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Defective Consumer Devices

Juul Lawsuits On The Rise

April 15, 2021 — As of April 15, there are over 2000 Juul cases pending.  The case number was around 750 only a few months ago, signifying that the number of Juul lawsuits is dramatically increasing. Reference:  Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation | United States, 16 June 2021, www.jpml.uscourts.gov/

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accident

8 Tips for Hiring a Lawyer After a Car Accident

We all know that car accidents are an unfortunate reality of daily life. Yet no one ever plans to be one of the approximately 4.4 million Americans who are seriously injured in car accidents every year. Nor do most people think about the fact that car accidents are a leading cause of death for people under the age of 55.  So if you’ve been in a car accident, your life has probably been turned upside down. When that happens, you need a lawyer to help you get your life back on track. And not just any lawyer.  Here are 8 tips to keep in mind so you know when to hire an attorney after a car accident.  Tip #1: When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident Unless your car accident caused no injuries and little or no property damage, we strongly recommend that you consult an attorney. There are several reasons for this. For one, even minor fender-benders can result in expensive damage to your property, a pile of medical bills, and even lost wages. Second, an attorney has the legal expertise to serve as your advocate, help you understand your case, and work to maximize your compensation. They will also be familiar with how to persuade judges and juries in your favor.  Tip #2: Don’t Wait to Get an Attorney Sometimes people will wait to hire an attorney after a car accident because they’re worried about finances or want to try to figure things out on their own.  Do not make this mistake.  Getting a car accident attorney right away helps you preserve your legal options. Most states have a time limit called a statute of limitations that restricts your ability to file a claim after a certain period of time. So if you wait too long, your claim might be thrown out of court even if it is otherwise sound. Getting a lawyer immediately also helps protect you from being low-balled by insurance companies or hassled by any other third parties (like the other side’s attorneys).  Tip #3: Do Your Research First Not all attorneys are created equal.  Some are experienced, while others are just out of law school. Others may have a lot of experience in another area of law, but won’t be very familiar with car accident claims. And some attorneys just have a bad reputation.  For these reasons and more, it is important to research the attorneys in your area before contacting any of them. Look for attorneys that have outstanding reviews and years (or decades) of experience handling car accidents. Another good idea is to reach out to family and friends and learn about their experiences with local car accident attorneys. And while you can use online reviews, make sure that any reviews (positive or negative) are from verified customers, and not from anonymous sources.  Tip #4: Consider What Size Law Firm You Are Looking For Attorneys can either practice on their own or as part of a firm. Law firms range in size from having just a handful of attorneys to having hundreds of attorneys. There are advantages and disadvantages to both small law firms and large law firms.  Generally, small law firms are likely to give you more personal attention. However, they are sometimes limited in the kinds of cases that they offer and can vary in quality. Larger law firms tend to have legal specialists and the resources to prosecute more complex cases. At the same time, large law firms are more expensive and also more likely to charge an hourly rate as compared to working with you on a contingency basis.  Tip #5: Prepare for Your Consultations Make sure you are professional, courteous, and thorough when you consult with an attorney.  No matter what kind of attorney you speak with, they will have questions about your claim.  Be ready to discuss the critical facts of your case and show the attorney any evidence you have.  Tip #6: Speak with Several Attorneys Before Hiring One It’s essential to find an attorney that you can trust and be completely honest with. If you are able to get along with your attorney, it will make their representation smoother and more effective. Occasionally, an unsavory attorney might try to pressure you into hiring them before you consult with other potential firms. Avoid this kind of attorney at all costs. Also, make sure that you don’t sign any documents during a consultation unless you fully understand and agree to them.  Tip #7: Ask the Right Questions Before you hire any car accident lawyer, you need to ask several critical questions: What are the various potential outcomes for your case? Does the lawyer prefer to settle your kind of case or litigate in court? How long will it take to resolve your case? Does the attorney charge on an hourly basis, or on a contingency basis? How much does the attorney charge? How will the lawyer communicate the progress of your case with you? How long has the attorney been handling car accident claims? By asking these questions, you’ll quickly get a sense of whether the attorney is right for you.  Tip #8: Set Boundaries When you hire a car accident lawyer, it’s important to explain your expectations. Even the most skilled attorney won’t be able to guess how much you expect to receive from your case. Therefore, it’s best to discuss the following issues with your attorney: Your ideal outcome for the case; The minimum amount you are willing to settle your case for; The worst possible outcome of your case; and The potential disruptions to your life because of the lawsuit.  By having these conversations, you can hopefully get a realistic sense of how your case will unfold.  Why Should I Choose Gerling Law? Gerling Law is not just any law firm. Our experienced car accident lawyers know how difficult it is to put the pieces of your life together after a car accident. Unlike many other attorneys, we have decades of...

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