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How to Find a Law Firm that Suits Your Needs

  With hundreds of law firms to choose from, it can be daunting attempting to find one that works for you. Considering you’re must likely dealing with a time-sensitive issue, you’ll need to swiftly find a lawyer that you know will be an appropriate fit for you. Here are some tips you should look out for when you’re shopping around for someone to represent you. What’s Your Injury? Not every law firm is equipped to deal with representing you. While many a law firm may offer their help, few may have experience in winning cases that pertain to your specific injury. Visit the web pages of law firms and note which practices they spractice in. For instance, Gerling Law Firm offers professional assistance in cases dealing with personal injury, medical malpractice, and social security disability law. What Are Others Saying? Every law firm will tell you that they’re the best. This is why it’s important to find reviews of the law firm you’re considering. Check Google as well as the law firm’s website to obtain a sizeable portion of Personal Injury Attorney reviews. Does the Firm Have a History of Winning Cases? Law firms love to boast about all the money they’ve won clients. If a firm doesn’t vaunt their success, you can be sure that something’s wrong. On the Gerling Law website, you’ll find an entire page dedicated to showcasing their over 300 million dollar’s worth of recoveries. Do They Offer Free Consultation? While scouring the web for a law firm to represent you, you’ll notice that some firms offer free consultations while others do not. A firm that requires payment for a preliminary visit is a firm that is struggling to attract clients. Don’t pay money to meet with a firm if you aren’t already 100% certain that you’ll be moving forward with that law firm. Gerling Law Firm offers a free consultation to clients from all over the Evansville, Owensboro, Louisville and Indianapolis areas and beyond.

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Good patient advocacy sometimes includes legal counsel

Did you grow up thinking that doctors are all knowing? Many of us were. If a person spends the time to get the education and earns a license to practice medicine, there’s a presumption they are smarter than the average person is when it comes to health care. That may be a safe assumption to make in most instances, but the truth is that individuals who got all A’s in med school and those who got all C’s are all called doctor if they have a license. It also can be true that the person who made all C’s might be the better care provider. Still, errors occur. Medical competency depends on the solid delivery of the standard of care. To ensure it’s delivered these days, great emphasis is put on patient advocacy. Nurses may be in a prime position to serve in this role, however most medical professionals say patients fare better when they become active participants in their own care. Being proactive can help ensure you get the right care at the right time. But if the proper standard is not met, how can you tell? You can’t be expected to know what procedures, tests and treatments constitute the standard of care. You can and should ask questions and press for answers, but If they don’t come or come too late, what then? If you or someone you love suffered injury or died because of suspected malpractice, you need a legal advocate experienced in the processes required to obtain the information that’s essential to understanding your case and equipped to fight for your rights.

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The 100 deadliest days for teens are here

The most dangerous days for teens to drive are here. Known as the 100 deadliest days of teen driving, these are the days where teens are more likely to be involved in deadly crashes. Why? It’s summer vacation. The summer poses a particular threat to teens and others on the road due to the addition of school-aged teens who now have the full day to get behind the wheel. In the summer, they typically do not attend school, so more teens may get together to hang out or go to parties, which can result in distractions, speeding, drinking and driving and other hazardous behaviors. Slow down! Speeding is a factor in around 30 percent of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers. They may believe that the rules of the road don’t apply to them, that they have good control over their vehicles or just be worried about getting where they want to go as fast as they can. The problem is that speeding means you have less time to slow down, and an impact can be multiple times more dangerous than if you were traveling at a lower speed. It’s uncool to skip wearing your seat belt Failing to wear a seat belt is another reason for teens suffering more seriously in crashes. In 2015, data showed that around 60 percent of teens who were killed in collisions did not wear their seat belts. Those who do wear seat belts have a higher chance of surviving a crash. Distracted driving is a third cause of teen crashes. Whether it’s talking to friends in the vehicle or texting people while behind the wheel, not paying attention to the road can quickly cause an accident. Around six out of 10 crashes involving teens involve some kind of distraction. With this time of year being so dangerous, it’s important for everyone to stay focused on the road. If you’re hit by a young driver, you can file a claim and seek the compensation you deserve with the help of your attorney.

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These tips can help you prevent serious medical errors

Medical mistakes cause injuries and take lives. No patient wants to find out that he or she has been a victim of a medical mistake, but if you have, then you know that it has to be addressed. Medical mistakes range from operating on the wrong patient to prescribing the wrong medications. While not all mistakes hurt people, some do and cause significant anxiety, distress and heartbreak. So, why are there so many medical mistakes taking place? There are dozens of reasons for errors to occur, but a few common reasons are failing to identify the patient correctly, poor record keeping and miscommunication. For example, if two patients with similar names are mixed up before surgery, one could end up with an appendectomy when she was supposed to get a hysterectomy, while the person seeking an appendectomy ends up with a hysterectomy. Another example could be if patient records go missing or get filed incorrectly. That important information would be missed by providers, potentially putting a patient at risk. Of course, miscommunication is a common error. An example of this is writing down the patient’s prescription in a manner that’s hard to read. A pharmacist might fill the wrong medication, which is a danger to the patient. What can you do to prevent medical mistakes? The first step is to become your own advocate. Make sure you’re asking the questions you have directly. Don’t be afraid to ask a nurse or doctor about something, like your medications, if you feel they aren’t right. Don’t let minor mistakes go unnoticed. Even things like misspelling your name can make a difference in patient records, so correct those mistakes as soon as you see them. If you are going into surgery, make sure your medical bracelet states any allergies you have along with the correct birth date and name. If something isn’t accurate, go ahead and correct the nurse or doctor who gives it to you. It’s better to speak up than to receive a dose of a medication your body can’t handle or to be treated under another patient’s name. Another way you can help prevent errors is to stay informed. Bring someone else with you to appointments, so you have a witness to what the doctor tells you as well as someone who can remind you of post-surgical procedures or other treatment requirements. Most medical mistakes are completely preventable. Taking the time to speak up and reach out for assistance can make a difference. Your attorney can help you file a claim if you’re hurt by a negligent medical provider. Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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Summertime Means Water Safety

Do you remember the first time you were in the deep end of a swimming pool? Maybe you ventured into the deep end on your own, or maybe you were tossed in by a prankster (or well-meaning adult), but chances are that your first experience with deep water was a little scary. In terms of personal safety, how you are able to handle yourself in deep water is the baseline for water safety skills, according to the American Red Cross. Now that warm weather is finally upon us and area pools will be opening soon, it’s a good time to talk about swimming and water safety. Whether you enjoy floating in a pool, fishing on the lake, or skiing in the river, practicing basic water safety can help make your summer more pleasurable. Basic Swimming Skills The purpose of basic swimming skills is to get you out of a dangerous situation in the water. Drowning is a quiet killer – it’s not like it’s depicted in the movies. Every day, ten people lose their lives to drowning, and two of those ten are children. In truth, more than half of Americans cannot swim well enough to save themselves. For African-Americans and Latino/Hispanic children, the numbers are even more frightening: up to 70% of African-American and 58% of Hispanic children cannot swim. And children who cannot swim often become adults who cannot swim. According to a Red Cross poll, 80% of adults claim to be able to swim, and yet 44% of them would fail a basic swimming test. That basic swimming test includes: Stepping or jumping into water over your head Returning to the surface and float or tread water for one minute Turning around in a full circle Swimming 25 yards (the length of a standard swimming pool) Exiting from the water without using a ladder This is what is known as “water competency” and this very basic level of ability could mean the difference between surviving and drowning. General Water Safety Spending time on and in the water is regarded as one of life’s greatest pleasures. In order to make this experience the best it can be, the American Red Cross has compiled a list of general water safety tips: Learn to swim Never swim alone – always swim with a buddy Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard Obey all rules and posted signs Children and inexperienced swimmers should use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device in and around the water – foam pool noodles and armband-style “floaties” do not count Do not swim if you are too tired, too cold, too far from safety, had too much sun, or too much strenuous activity Establish water safety rules for the whole family based on the swimming ability of each individual Understand the water environment you are in – deep and shallow areas, currents, and entry and exit points Keep an eye on the weather – storms are common in the summer and can pose danger for swimmers Enter the water feet first Head-first diving should only occur in areas marked for that purpose Do not drink alcohol – alcohol impairs judgment, balance, and coordination, and affects your swimming and diving skills Keep a watchful eye for emergencies, and know how to respond – knowing what to do to help a person in trouble as well as learning basic lifesaving techniques like CPR is invaluable A Word About Lifeguards You may think that just because you are swimming in a pool that has lifeguards that you don’t need even basic swimming skills. While lifeguards are tasked with keeping a watchful eye on the swimmers in their charge and have been trained in basic lifesaving skills, the truth is, lifeguards are the last line of defense against drowning.Your best defense is to learn to swim. Learning to swim is a confidence builder and, potentially, a life saver – and it’s never too late to learn. At Gerling Law, we hope everyone will learn and follow water safety rules, and have a fun, safe summer.

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On Track for Safety: Avoiding Train Accidents

Every three hours, a person or vehicle in the United States is hit by a train. While some of these accidents occur at train crossings, a larger portion of fatalities occur when people or vehicles stray onto private railroad property. Walking the rails as a shortcut between Point A and Point B can be a very dangerous and deadly proposition, as we have seen locally in recent months. Trespassing on Railroad Property We’ve all seen it in the movies – a traveler setting off on a journey by following a set of railroad tracks or hopping an empty boxcar for a ride. As romantic as this notion might seem, in reality it’s illegal and dangerous. Railroad tracks are actually private property, owned and managed by the railroad companies. Only authorized personnel should be on the tracks, and the general public should only cross the tracks at designated train crossings. Passive Warning Signs vs. Active Warning Devices How a railroad crossing is marked can depend on its location. Most public crossings have a minimum of passive warning signs, such as crossbucks, yield signs, stop signs, and pavement markings. Some public crossings, particularly those with a high traffic volume, are equipped with crossing arms, which are activated when a train triggers a switch at a specific point on the rail line. These active warning devices stop traffic from entering the tracks by creating a barrier; once the crossing arms activate, a train will be entering the intersection within 20 seconds. The Physics of Trains Freight trains can travel at speeds up to 60 miles per hour and can be 1 to 1 ¼ miles in length (90 to 120 cars). Because of their size and length, it can seem that trains are moving much more slowly than they actually are. However, a train consisting of 100 cars, moving at 55 MPH, can take up to a mile to come to a complete stop – that’s nearly the length of 18 football fields! What’s more, the path of a train is limited to its rails – it can’t veer in another direction in the same way a vehicle can. The size and physical nature of trains is the primary reason they have the right of way in a traffic situation. Things to remember Trains have the right of way, since they cannot stop quickly. Railroad tracks are private property – if you are on or near the tracks at any other location than at a crossing, you are trespassing. The contact surface between train wheels and the rail is only about the size of a dime. This small area of contact means less friction available to aid in stopping. All drivers are required by law to stop completely at a rail crossing when the lights are flashing; drivers must wait until the approaching train has cleared the crossing before proceeding across the tracks. It is against the law to drive around lowered crossing gates; you must either wait or drive to another crossing where the lights and/or gates are not engaged. Federal law requires that all trains sound their horn at all highway-rail grade crossings. It is against the law to stop a vehicle on a railroad crossing. If your vehicle stalls on a railroad crossing, get out immediately, move away from the tracks, and call 911. Hazards at railroad crossings can be reported directly to the railroad by calling the 800 number posted on signage located at the crossing, or by dialing 911. Never, ever, try to beat a train. It’s a race you will lose. When a vehicle or pedestrian is hit by a train, the legal ramifications of that event hinge largely on who was at fault. If a signal or crossing arm fails to operate, the railroad could be at fault. If the injured party violated any traffic laws (such as attempting to snake through a crossing with the gates down) or was trespassing on railroad property, fault may lie with the victim. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a train, contact an attorney. Determining fault requires a careful examination of all the facts, something that an experienced attorney will do prior to deciding if you have a case. Better yet – avoid mixing it up with a train. Stay off the tracks and away from railroad property except where the tracks and roadway intersect. When the red lights begin to flash and the crossing arms come down at a railroad intersection, resist the temptation to snake through the gates to the other side. No one likes waiting on a train, especially when you’ve got places to be, but those crossing arms are there to keep you out of harm’s way.

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How To Qualify for Disability

If you have been injured or have developed a medical condition that prevents you from working, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), most commonly known as merely “social security disability.” But applying for SSDI doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to be awarded this benefit. Factors that Count Before you Qualify for SSDI You must have a qualifying condition or combination of conditions You must be able to provide medical evidence of your condition Your condition should be limiting the number of hours you work, if you can work at all Your condition is expected to last at least one year or result in death One in five Americans is currently living with a disability. Some of these disabilities are lifelong, while others are the result of illness or injury, and it is among this second group of disabled individuals that applying for and receiving disability payments can be a complex issue. If you were previously healthy and working but became disabled due to illness or injury, you must follow the guidelines set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in order to qualify. What Qualifies for Disability? The SSA has an extensive list of conditions that qualify for SSDI. Among them:Back pain – degenerative, bulging disks, herniated disks Back pain – degenerative, bulging disks, herniated disks Symptomatic MS, HIV, Hep C, cirrhosis COPD Osteo/rheumatoid arthritis Osteo/rheumatoid arthritis Conditions caused by diabetes – neuropathy, peripheral nerve damage, diabetic retinopathy Low IQ/Mild Mental RetardationJoint damage caused by something else (accidents) Joint damage caused by something else (accidents) Any combination of impairments that limits your ability to perform a 40-hour work week Medical Evidence You Must Supply It’s not enough to just tell the SSA that you have an eligible condition. You must be able to provide evidence regarding your condition, including medical reports from professionals treating you as well as from health facilities where you have received care. In some cases, further medical information may be requested or a consultative examination may be arranged to determine the severity of your disability Your Work History Your work history also has a bearing on being approved for SSDI benefits. If you have worked all your life, full time, and suddenly are unable to remain employed due to your condition, the SSA considers that in rendering their decision. While it is possible to continue working while you apply for SSDI, the guidelines for how much you can earn and how many hours you can work are very specific. You Don’t Have to Go it Alone! The decision to apply for SSDI is not always easy. It’s hard to accept that your working life may be at an end and that you will need to rely on benefits to get by. But don’t wait – it can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to receive a decision on your initial claim. If that claim is denied, the appeals process can take months before a final decision is rendered. The appeals process can be difficult to navigate on your own, so it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney experienced in Social Security Disability claims. Your lawyer can guide your claim through the appeals process and make sure the SSA has the proper information they need to process your claim. Don’t let your inability to work due to disability cause financial hardships for you and your family. Contacting an attorney can help you to receive disability benefits that will ease your financial burden.

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What protections are available after a slip and fall accident?

Falling incidents can be unexpected and result in serious physical, financial and emotional harm for victims. Victims may wonder what protections are available to them if they have been harmed in a slip and fall accident. In general, when a victim has slipped or tripped on a property owner’s premises and the owner failed to take the proper precautions to correct the dangerous property condition or warn of the dangerous condition, they may be liable to the victim for the damages suffered as a result. Property owners may be liable for harm that results from a wet floor other dangerous or hazardous property condition in circumstances when they fail to provide adequate warnings, such as wet floor signage, of the hazardous property condition; when they fail to property restrict or close off the area where the dangerous property condition exists with barriers; when they use an excessive amount of wax, polish or other product on the floors; when they apply an uneven amount of wax, polish or other product on the floor; when they create an uneven condition on the floor and in other circumstances as well. Property owners may also be liable for poorly maintained carpeting, rugs or mats that create an unsafe condition for those on their property. In addition, property owners may be liable for harm that results because of hazardous or dangerous stairway conditions that the property owner was aware of, or should have been aware of, and failed to correct or provide warnings concerning. Victims of slip and fall accidents can suffer serious harm that can result in debilitating injuries. When the victim of a slip and fall accident suffers medical expenses, an inability to work related to their injuries and the emotional harm associated with a serious injury and its aftermath, it is important for them to be familiar with the legal protections available to them. Legal remedies may allow them to recover compensation to help with the costs and losses they have suffered because of an unsafe property condition. Source: Injury.findlaw.com, “Indoor Slip and Fall Accident Conditions,” Accessed May 9, 2017

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Summer Vacation Safety is a High Priority

On behalf of Gerling Law posted in on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Summer Vacation is finally here! School is out, the days are long and sunny, and we are all on a different schedule than the one we keep the other nine months of the year. Summertime is prime time for travel for a lot of families, and even though you might be out of your usual routine for the summer, don’t let summer vacation safety and security slip by the wayside. Travel can be fun and educational, but it can also be dangerous. Up to 25,000 people are killed every year due to traffic accidents that occur during a vacation. Other mishaps that can occur include food poisoning, maritime accidents, and drowning. If you let your guard down, even for a moment, while you’re in an unfamiliar setting, you may find yourself with a lot less fun on vacation than you imagined. To help you to protect yourself from common issues while you’re on vacation, Gerling Law offers these Safe Vacationing Tips: Before You Go Arrange for a house sitter or ask a trusted friend or neighbor to check on your home while you are away; provide your contact information in the event of an emergency Stop your newspaper delivery for the duration of your trip Stop mail delivery or ask someone to pick up your mail each day Lock up any firearms in a safe designed for such use Consider placing valuables in a safe or safe deposit box at the bank Clean out your wallet and/or purse; travel only with essential credit cards and cash Pack light; thieves often target individuals struggling with heavy baggage Leave a copy of your itinerary with a trusted individual, complete with contact information At the Airport Never leave your suitcase unattended Pack your carry-on with essentials such as medication and valuables like jewelry or electronics Obey airline rules and regulations regarding carry-ons and checked luggage If you are traveling internationally, keep your passport with you at all times In Your Rental Car Thoroughly inspect your rental car before you leave the rental lot, including checking the tires Don’t leave valuables in plain sight; this includes cables and chargers Always lock the vehicle; keep windows rolled up when leaving the vehicle Wear your seat belt If you must keep your luggage with you in the car, lock it in the trunk out of sight Lock the doors while driving; keep windows rolled up and use the air conditioner Rethink the convertible; thieves can easily grab purses, backpacks, and other items right out of the vehicle when you’re sitting at a red light Stick to well-lit and well-traveled streets and neighborhoods Park in well-lit and well-traveled areas At the Hotel Keep your luggage between you and the front desk when checking in Instruct the front desk to not give out your name or room number; ask them not to divulge the number out loud when assigning your room Request a room between the third and sixth floors; these are reachable by most fire engine ladders but not by thieves seeking to access your room from outside Identify the exits and fire extinguishers nearest to your room Do not open your hotel room door to anyone unknown to you, even if they say they are hotel staff; verify their identity with the front desk Always lock your door and take your room key with you; do not prop the door open even if you’re just going down the hall for ice Meet visitors and guests in the hotel lobby, not in your room Avoid getting on the elevator with individuals who look suspicious Keep your room key out of sight when at the hotel pool Use the hotel safe to store valuables; do not leave valuables like electronics or jewelry out in plain sight in your room By the Water Learn to swim Only swim in designated areas Do not swim in areas unprotected by a lifeguard Learn proper boating etiquette Protect your skin with sunscreen While You’re Out and About Be aware of your surroundings at all times Only carry what you need with you; keep excess cash or credit cards stored safely at the hotel Do not accept rides from strangers Stay in well-traveled and well-lit areas; wandering away from established tourist areas could expose you to crime Locate the nearest police station and hospital in case you need a safe place Limit your alcohol consumption Avoid large crowds, protests, and demonstrations Keep your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside front pocket It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling near or far this summer, protecting yourself and your belongings requires vigilance and a hefty dose of precaution. The same rules that apply during your everyday life still apply when you’re on vacation. If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone’s negligence while you were on vacation, you may benefit from speaking with an attorney with experience in personal injury, premises liability, or negligent security. Your attorney will examine the facts of your case and help you to determine if you need assistance in preserving your legal rights.Don’t let a mishap while on vacation ruin a good time and good memories. Contact Gerling Law – Go With Experience. Go With Gerling.

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