| Read Time: 3 minutes | Community and Safety

What You Need to Know About the NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit

Parents have filed lawsuits against baby formula makers after their children suffered necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a serious and life-threatening condition. If your newborn was diagnosed with NEC, you might wonder whether this lawsuit affects you and your rights. Naturally, you want to know whether someone is at fault. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Gerling Law to learn more about the Similac lawsuit and whether you have a right to demand compensation for your child. You can reach us online through our contact form or call to schedule a consultation. We represent families nationwide and throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky and have offices nearby in Evansville, Indianapolis, Owensboro, and Louisville.    What Is NEC? NEC is a gastrointestinal disease that primarily affects premature infants. Babies most at risk for the condition are those: Born before 37 weeks, Fed through a stomach tube (enteral nutrition), and Who weigh less than 5.5 lbs. at birth. While NEC affects about 1 in 1,000 premature infants, it impacts only 1 in 10,000 full-term babies. With this condition, inflammation in the intestines kills tissue. It can lead to holes, bacteria leaking into the infant’s abdomen or bloodstream, and death. What Are the Signs of NEC? Between two and six weeks after birth, an infant may show signs of: Abdominal pain and swelling, Changes in heart rate and blood pressure, Changes in body temperature, Changes in breathing, Diarrhea and bloody stool, Green or yellow vomit, Refusal to eat and lack of weight gain or weight loss, and Sleepiness and unresponsiveness.  A doctor will examine the infant and may run blood and fecal tests and X-rays to diagnose NEC. How Do Doctors Treat NEC? Because the infant’s intestines need to heal, doctors will stop oral or tube feedings and give the baby nutrients through an IV. They may insert a long tube through the child’s nose or mouth into the stomach to remove gas and fluid. They may also prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. The infant might require surgery to repair a hole in their intestine or remove dead intestinal tissue in more serious cases. Sometimes, doctors surgically place a drain in the baby’s abdomen to remove fluids and gas. What Causes NEC? Doctors and scientists don’t know the exact cause of NEC. However, numerous studies and papers have discussed the link between cow-milk-based formula and NEC. For example, a study published in 1990 connected NEC to cow-milk-based infant formula. In a study involving 926 preterm infants, NEC was 6 to 10 times more common in formula-fed babies than those given breast milk only or a combination of breast milk and formula. A more recent study published in 2019 reviewed 12 complete trials involving 1,871 infants. The trials found formula almost doubled the risk of NEC. The American Academy of Pediatrics also found that giving preterm infants human milk reduced the risk of NEC. According to the AAP, “One case of NEC could be prevented if 10 infants received an exclusive human milk diet, and 1 case of NEC requiring surgery or resulting in death could be prevented if 8 infants received an exclusive human milk diet.” Recent Baby Formula Lawsuits In May 2021, parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company, LLC, the makers of Similac. The parents allege the infant formula caused NEC and their child’s death.   In June 2021, another family filed a lawsuit against Abbott and Mead Johnson, claiming their son suffered serious injuries from developing NEC. Their son was given Similac and Enfamil products at the hospital after his premature birth. Similac and Enfamil are high-calorie, cow-milk-based formulas. The parents allege the formulas increase the risk of NEC, yet the makers didn’t include warnings on the product labels. Has Your Child Suffered From NEC? If your preemie was diagnosed with NEC, talk with their medical providers about your child’s nutrition before symptoms began. If your child was fed a cow-milk-based formula, such as Similac or Enfamil, contact Gerling Law. We’re experienced personal injury and mass tort lawyers. We’ve represented many individuals harmed by dangerous and defective consumer products. We want to hear your story and talk with you about whether you have a right to demand compensation. Give us a call or use our online form to schedule a free case evaluation. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Community and Safety

3 Totally OK Questions to Ask Your Attorney

Hiring an attorney can be quite stressful if you don’t know what questions to ask. You might be unsure of what is appropriate to ask. The truth of the matter is, you can pretty much ask an attorney anything. One thing you need to keep in mind from the very beginning is that honesty with your lawyer or potential lawyer is very important. What types of cases have you handled before? Don’t be afraid to ask the attorney if he or she has taken similar cases or not. Feeling comfortable and confident with your attorney’s abilities is important as well. However, keep in mind they may not be able to give you exact details. Also, every case is different. Most people want a lawyer with lots of experience. Luckily, all of our attorneys here at Gerling have lots of successful cases under their belts. However, we understand that you may want to dig a little deeper. Feel free to ask your attorney about similar cases. All results will differ based on the facts and situation of your case, so keep that in mind. How long will it take to resolve my case? Timelines regarding personal injury cases are often unpredictable. Though, your attorney might be able to give you an estimate. Keep in mind it might take a while for things to process in your case. It takes time and detailed attention to settle a case. Your medical records must be shared to the attorney and insurance companies, as well as accident reports or other documents containing proof or information regarding the accident. These files are looked over by everyone, including your attorney, to ensure accuracy and fairness. The more records there are to look over, the longer it will take. However, this precision helps your attorney make the best decisions for you and your case. Who will be working on my case? Another of the important questions to ask your attorney is who will be working on your case. Often times our attorneys will consult each other on certain cases. For the most part, your attorney and their paralegal will be the ones handling your case. However, a lot of your communication will come through the paralegal. A common misconception is that the attorneys pictured in commercials and billboards will be the one handling your case. Most law firms have multiple lawyers and paralegals. At Gerling, our owning and managing attorney is Gayle Gerling Pettinga. However, there are six practicing attorneys, each who have their own paralegal. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accident

Safe Driving Tips You Need to Know

If you’ve got a license and are out on the road regularly you have probably broken some traffic laws subconsciously. Have you ever rolled through a stop sign because no one else was around? Or speed even five miles over the limit? Ever checked your phone or sent out a quick text while at the wheel? These are only a few of the many causes of car accidents in the U.S. Small road violations can lead to big accidents, even if you think no one else is around. Safe driving is important even when no one else is looking or the violation may seem small. Here are some eye-opening statistics regarding vehicle accidents in the United States: 40,000 accidents result in death each year 90 deaths per day Accidents resulting in permanent injuries reaches 2 million a year Fatal injury accidents happen more on the weekends 1,600 kids under the age of 15 die every year in some sort of vehicle accident These high numbers mean that you could be a part of these statistics. We share this information not to scare you, but to help protect you and your loved ones. Safe Driving Tips We’ll start with the obvious – wear your seat belt! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 15,000 lives were saved in 2017 because drivers and passengers made the smart decision to click their seat belt. Everyone should know that if you are using your phone behind the wheel, you’re not driving safely. In most states, it is illegal to even be on your phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Of all the accidents that occur each day, the National Safety Council reports that 1 in every 4 accidents is caused by a driver distracted by his or her cell phone. Another important safe driving tip – never get behind the wheel when you have been drinking or may be under the influence of any kind of drugs or alcohol. This is also important for those times when you may be on a new medicine. Age Can Be a Factor Another important thing to note is that people between the ages of 16 and 19 are at a much higher risk of being in an accident than those who are older. About 8,000 young people are killed in auto accidents between the ages of 16 and 20. One of the most terrifying moments in a parent’s life, but exciting for most teens, is the day they get their license and are finally able to hit the open road without a parent or guardian in the front seat next to them. This is why it is extremely important to go over road safety if you have a teen receiving their license. Tell your kids to wear their seat belt, put their phones down, and never, ever get behind the wheel if they have consumed any amount of alcohol or drugs, even if they think they are “okay to drive.” Hopefully, they will pass along the lessons they learn to their friends, too. Next time you get behind the wheel, remember these statistics and remind yourself that safe driving takes priority over speed and convenience. If you have been involved in an auto accident, Gerling is here to help. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals, or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accident

Distracted Driving vs. You: Now what?

Distracted driving. Your mind might automatically jump to texting and driving, a big issue we face today. However, distracted driving can include anything that takes your attention off the road. Eating or putting on makeup. Looking for something in a bag or changing the radio station. Using a GPS. As a result of these actions, many people have lost theirs lives, or taken the lives of others. So, what do you do if you’ve been the victim of a distracted driver? Maybe you are walking across the street and a distracted driver doesn’t stop in time. You could be rear ended for the same reason. No matter what happens, it is important you take action right away. What to do after the accident Of course, the first thing you need to do is make sure you are okay. If you are able to, check on others as well. Then, immediately call 9-1-1. Even if it doesn’t seem like anyone is extremely hurt, it is important to get a police officer out to the scene. Insurance companies will want an official police report. If someone is hurt, do your best to assist them and keep them out of the way of more harm. It is also imperative you exchange information with anyone involved in the accident, such as another driver or victim. You will want their name and phone number, and a picture of their insurance cards. When you have done this, next take lots of pictures of the accident scene. This can be important no matter what. Having photos of the scene will better help police, attorneys, and insurers understand what happened and why. For example, if you are a pedestrian crossing the street because you have the right away and a car hits you, take a picture of the intersection. Make sure the photos are clear and you have lots of angles. Following this advice could be imperative to helping your attorney in your personal injury case. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Community and Safety

Spring Safety: Did you know these facts?

Happy first day of spring! When springtime falls upon us, it brings with it many wonderful things; blossoming flowers, more sunshine, warmer weather, and the opportunity to spend time outdoors. However, did you know springtime also means an increase in accident rates? When the temperature rises, more people are likely to be outside walking, running, or doing other activities. As a result, this means more folks closer to the roads and quite possibly on them. To better protect yourself and your loved ones, we have put together some information about spring safety. Bike riding and pedestrian safety There are many activities that gain attention during the springtime weather. One of these is bike riding. This is an activity that can be done alone or as a family. Most likely, you have probably come across people riding their bikes on busy roads. Make sure if you are the one driving a vehicle to slow down around bike riders. If you need to move around them, double-check that the other lane is clear before going around. You can find more bicycle safety in related blogs here. Another activity that sees a rise in participants when it warms up is walking/running. As you drive down your neighborhood streets, keep an eye out for those who may be taking a family stroll or jogging by themselves. Just as it is for bicyclists, make sure you slow down if you near a pedestrian. That being said, if you are a bicyclist or pedestrian, you have responsibility, too. If you’re riding a bike, it is very important you signal. Signals can be made with just one hand in the direction you plan on turning. If you are unsure of what those signals are, that’s okay! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a handy document explaining all the bike signals you’ll need to know. Even if you are not a bike rider, it is important to know these few signals in case you are on the road as a cyclist at the same time. Family safety Spring safety is especially important for those with little ones running around. If your family lives near a busy street, it might be worthwhile to invest in some form of fencing for your yard. This will allow any children and pets you have to roam freely within the boundaries of your yard. Further, ensure that they are always being supervised. Even small children can figure out how a gate works and could possibly slip out and into the street. To prevent any tragedies, it is important to keep an eye on the kiddos! Fun fact Did you know that the number of car accidents rise during the first few weeks of spring, following daylight savings? The ‘springing forward’ of the clocks has an effect on the human body. As a result, losing an hour of sleep means more tired drivers on the road. Fatigue is a very common form of distracted driving. Therefore, more accidents. Remember if you’re on the road, don’t drive if you’re exhausted. Keep an extra eye out for any unexpected road hazards during the darker times of the day. That being said, spring safety is a number one priority for us here at Gerling, and it should be for you, too. However, if the unfortunate happens and you do experience an accident or personal injury, you’ll need an attorney on your side. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accident

Car seat safety – there's an 85% chance you're doing it wrong

Ensuring protection for yourself while operating a vehicle is usually a top priority – buckle your seat belt, look before merging, etc. But what about the others in the car with you, like children? Each state has very specific laws about car seat safety in regards to children. Let’s take a look to better protect the little ones you love. Indiana It is encouraged to keep an infant rear-facing for as long as possible. Legally, those under a year old and less than 20 pounds have to be rear-facing. Once your baby reaches a year old and 20 lbs. you may opt for a front-facing seat using an internal harness. Harness straps should be secure and snug at the armpit level. Indiana State Police suggest keeping your child in a front-facing seat with harness until they reach 40 lbs. Then, your young one can graduate to a booster seat until the age of eight, as long as they meet certain weight requirements. Kentucky In Kentucky, car seat safety laws are similar to Indiana. Infants must remain in a rear-facing seat until the age of one or upon reaching the weight of 20 lbs. When your child reaches 40 lbs. or the age of 4, they may move up to a booster seat. Once they turn 8, or becomes over the height of 57 inches, they may get rid of the booster seat and only use a seat belt. It is important to enforce seat belt safety with your children. It can be the difference between life or death. Illinois In Illinois, infants and toddlers under the age of 2 must be secured into a rear-facing car seat. However, if they are 40 lbs. and 40 inches they may advance to a front-facing seat with a harness. Once the height and weight requirements for the manufacturer is met, children may move on to a booster seat. Booster seats in Illinois are recommended for children ages 7-12. You might be thinking 12 seems a little too old, but this suggestion is due to the fact that some 12-year-olds might not have grown enough to safely fit into an adult seat belt. Following these car seat safety laws can be vital to the safety of your children or other little loved ones you may be transporting. While you may be a safe driver, that can’t be said for everyone on the road. Taking these laws seriously and ensuring the protection of young children is extremely important. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Community and Safety

Pool safety depends on attending to some rules

Watching children engage with water is fun. Many take to the water naturally. Others come to the experience a little more hesitantly and need encouragement. In midwestern states like Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, water access is available through lakes, ponds, streams and, of course, pools indoor and outdoors. Anyone who owns or operates a pool faces an extra duty of care to be sure that use of their pool takes place in the safest way possible. The same goes for those owning home spas. This is especially true when it comes to keeping children safe. There are many suggestions for “waterproofing” ourselves, but the reality is that negligence leads to unsafe conditions that can result in serious or fatal injury. Keep Children from Drowning More than 200 youngsters die by drowning in backyard pools every year. Because of this, experts have come up with a number of tips to improve pool safety. We’ve touched on some in previous posts. These include securing pool areas with safety covers and fencing, and perhaps even installing an alarm that can raise an alert if someone enters the pool without proper supervision. In addition to that, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests the following: Never leave children unattended near any water, indoors or out. Have your child take swimming lessons, and take them yourself if you don’t know how to swim. Steer children clear of pool drains and filtering equipment Know how to shut off a spa’s systems in an emergency. Consider getting certified in CPR and maintain the certification year to year. One other suggestion experts offer is to make sure youngsters stay hydrated. It might seem counterintuitive considering they are soaking on the outside, but swimming is exercise and the body’s insides need maintenance, too. Swimming is a fun summertime activity, and Gerling Law hopes you’ll be safe out there. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families. With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients . If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help. You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Community and Safety

Amusement parks: When fun is dangerous

It’s fair season. States and counties all across the country are pulling out the stops to celebrate the industries and the people who make them unique. One thing that tends to be common to them all, however, is the amusement park. There is an art to this particular industry. The gauge of success, according to one legacy carnival operator, is how well he gives you the means to “stare the Grim Reaper in the eye,” while ensuring that you land “back down on the ground and not have any hair out of place.” Fun can turn to tragedy when an amusement park ride fails Unfortunately, sometimes all the fun turns to tragedy when a bolt breaks, a shock absorber bursts or a safety chain gives way. When that happens, catastrophic and even fatal injuries can occur. Victims of such misfortune have a right to seek compensation for their losses, whether it is to cover necessary medical care, replace lost wages or earning ability, or to recognize the loss of a loved one. There are those who may try to argue that anyone who seeks out the thrills of a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, twirling ride, or water park slide knows the risks and accept them by buying a ticket. However, providers of these rides, like any business, have a duty to keep their patrons safe. Indeed, while laws vary, nearly every state has statutes requiring amusement park rides to meet certain safety standards. Here in Indiana, state officials recently exercised their enforcement authority ahead of the 17-day state fair. A team of 13 inspectors scoured through every one of the more than 50 rides checking for potential hazards. By the time the fair opened, all the rides were reportedly approved for operation. Such is not always the case, though. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that as many as 4,800 people visited emergency rooms with injuries caused by amusement park rides between 1997 and 2003. It also reported 55 deaths between 1987 and 2001. Safety laws covering amusement parks are complex Clams against amusement parks are complex. You will need an attorney to research the many statutes covering safety standards for amusement parks. In addition, you will need expert testimony regarding what caused the accident. It makes sense to hire an experienced injury attorney to help you find your way through these obstacles. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Community and Safety

Helmet cameras a major improvement for motorcyclists

Motorcyclists have not been on the receiving end of the safety equipment revolution that has made many cars much safer than they were even just 15 years ago. There is so much more to the car that allows engineers to develop new safety mechanisms that keep people safe. Conversely, there isn’t so much to work with on the motorcycle. The motorcycle is a small, open vehicle, which means that the rider is at extreme risk when they are involved in an accident. They could easily be thrown from the vehicle. With that in mind, people have been focusing their motorcycle safety efforts on the equipment that the motorcyclist wears – and the obvious focal point has been the helmet. While gloves and padded clothing can certainly help, it is the motorcycle helmet that makes a big difference in protecting motorcyclists. Some motorcycle helmets nowadays are equipped with heads-up displays on the visor, allowing the motorcyclist to see behind them and feeding them critical information about their surroundings. This allows the motorcyclist to better operate his or her vehicle out on the road. Another piece of equipment that is critical to motorcyclists nowadays is an attachment to the helmet: a forward-facing camera. With this equipment, you can record your rides and then use any video footage you capture to support your claims in court if you are in a motor vehicle accident. Source: New Atlas, “Camera kit brings rear vision to motorcycle helmets,” Spiros Tsantilas, May 31, 2017

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Community and Safety

Major Differences Between Civil and Criminal Cases

Each case brought to court is either criminal or civil. Every illegal infraction will come to a verdict after having gone through the stages of a civil or criminal proceeding. While there are a number of similarities, there are also key differences that the public should be aware of. Criminal cases are brought to court as offenses carried out against the state. Since the state is considered the victim, these cases are prosecuted by state attorneys. Even if a criminal action has been carried out against a particular individual, the criminal case is still viewed as an action against the state as a whole rather than a single individual and is thus tried as such. In criminal cases, a state prosecutor will be used against the defendant who will supply their own attorney or will be provided one by the state. Civil cases are understood as cases brought forth by individuals who feel as though they have been wronged by another individual. In such cases, the state will not provide attorneys. The aftermath of both types of cases is vastly different. If a defendant loses a criminal case they will be charged with a fine, jail time, or another penalty that’s owed to the state. Civil cases on the other hand never involve jail time. If a plaintiff wins a civil case they will be awarded a certain amount of money from the defendant. Another important difference to note is that criminal cases involve juries while civil cases often do not. Civil cases occasionally do call for a jury but often are merely decided upon by a judge. Should an instance arise where you or someone you know finds themselves in need of one of the best Personal Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, or Premises Liability Attorneys in Evansville, Indianapolis, Louisville, or Owensboro area be sure to contact the Gerling Law Firm for a free consultation.

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