| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

Should I Hire a Construction Accident Lawyer?

Construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. For that reason, the law takes the safety of construction workers very seriously. Under laws like OSHA, construction employers protect their employees by giving them personal protective equipment. Employers also work to adequately train their workers to handle dangerous equipment and work environments. Despite the law’s requirements, employers and contractors sometimes fail to protect their workers. When that happens, debilitating injuries and even deaths can result.  If you have been injured while working at a construction site, the disruptions to your quality of life can be serious. That’s why you should seriously consider hiring a construction accident lawyer today. Our experienced construction accident attorneys can help you defend your rights and provide you with the personal attention that your case requires.  Why Should I Get a Construction Site Accident Lawyer? Having an attorney provides you with several essential benefits. An Attorney Will Be Your Advocate After a construction accident, it’s almost guaranteed that you will have to deal with various third parties like contractors, insurance companies, and medical providers. None of these third parties are on your side or have any obligation to help defend your rights. Instead, these entities fight to save money for themselves or otherwise advance their own interests.  A construction accident lawyer knows how to stand up to these groups and negotiate effectively on your behalf. This will not only save you the trouble and stress of dealing with these groups, but will also help you get a better outcome for your case. An Attorney Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve Even relatively minor construction accidents frequently lead to lost wages, expensive medical bills, and permanent injuries. More serious accidents like falls, burns, and electric shocks can cause debilitating medical conditions like paralysis that change your life forever. No matter whether your injuries are crippling or relatively minor, an attorney will help you understand how much compensation you can receive. An Attorney Can Help You Understand Your Options and What Is at Stake You may be tempted to avoid hiring a construction site accident lawyer, especially if you don’t think your case is very serious. Yet the major reason you should consult an attorney is that their legal expertise allows them to see your case in a different light.  Even if the law requires your employer to respect your rights, there’s no guarantee that they will.  A construction site attorney is different. From the moment you attend your initial consultation, they will help you understand your rights under the law and your employer’s duties to you.  For example, what may seem like a trivial safety violation may be critical for helping you win your case. An attorney can also help you understand how to preserve your legal options and protect yourself from potential retaliation. Finally, an experienced construction accident lawyer knows the various kinds of construction accident claims and can give you guidance on what remedies you may have. An Attorney Can Obtain the Information You Need An experienced construction accident attorney is well-versed in state and federal laws concerning employers’ safety obligations and workers’ compensation. They know how to get the information you need to have the best chance of success. They will also investigate the circumstances of your case, collect helpful evidence, and interview witnesses. Once they’ve assembled all of this information, an attorney can persuasively present your case before a judge and jury if necessary.  How Do I Choose the Right Construction Accident Lawyer for My Claim? Maybe by now, you’ve decided to consult an attorney. However, it’s essential to pick the right attorney. So before you hire one, you need to consider several details. Does the attorney you want to hire have years or decades of experience, or did they just get out of law school? Do they have experience with construction accidents, or do they specialize in some other kind of law? How much do they charge? Do they charge their clients by the hour or only if they win your case? The ideal construction site attorney: Has many positive client reviews and testimonies; Has experience with your type of claim; Works on a contingency fee basis; Offers free initial consultations; and Has been successful at winning their clients’ cases.  A construction site attorney that meets these criteria can make all the difference between winning and losing your case.  Why Should I Choose Gerling Law? Gerling Law Injury Attorneys is not just any law firm. Our experienced construction accident lawyers know how difficult it is to put the pieces of your life together after being injured. As our client testimonials show, we’ll work with you to thoroughly investigate your case and ensure that you’re treated as a person rather than just a number. On top of that, we’ll draw upon our extensive experience to help you get the results you deserve in your case. And we won’t bill you for any legal fees unless and until we win your case. Even if you still aren’t sure your case needs an attorney, contact us today. Initial consultations are always free, so you have nothing to lose by reaching out. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Personal Injury

Can I Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering?

If you were injured due to the careless or intentional acts of someone else, there is a good chance that you will be coping with more than just the financial pain of your injuries. You may be wondering if pain and suffering damages are available.  What Is Pain and Suffering? The term “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional pain caused by the injury that you would not have had to endure had the negligent action not taken place. Injuries can be costly financially, but there can also be significant implications for your quality of life. Compensation for what you are going through is pain and suffering damages. This type of recovery falls under the umbrella of non-economic damages.  Economic vs Non-Economic Damages Both economic and non-economic damages are considered “compensatory” damages because you are being compensated for things that never should have been an issue in the first place.  Economic Damages Injuries can be costly to treat, and property can be costly to repair. Economic damages cover the actual expenses that result from the incident that injured you. The goal of economic damages is to restore you to the financial position you would have been in had the negligence not occurred. Some of the things that economic damages cover include: Medical costs; Physical therapy;  Rehabilitation equipment;  Lost wages;  Caregiver expenses;  Property damage; Transportation to distant doctor visits; and  Medications.  These costs can be compiled and proven using receipts, invoices, pay stubs, and the like. This makes them very easy to calculate. Non-Economic Damages Not all effects of your injuries will be this easy to quantify. Non-economic damages are those that impact your mental state and wellbeing. These are often things that cannot be changed with money. Nor can they be solved with a simple apology. And even though money cannot fix all wrongs, financial compensation is the only way the law has of compensating victims for these losses. Pain and suffering damages are included in non-economic damages, along with some of the following: Mental anguish,  Post-traumatic stress,  Depression,  Anxiety,  Embarrassment,  Loss of consortium, and Loss of quality of life.  Sometimes the mental aspect of what you have been through or the severity of your injuries can prevent you from living life as you once did. Therapy is often necessary after a traumatic accident. That alone is enough to constitute non-economic damages. If you are injured to the point that you are unable to do the things you love most in life, you are likely experiencing varying degrees of loss of quality of life and should be compensated accordingly.  Proving Pain and Suffering Damages Unlike economic damages that come with a price tag, pain and suffering damages are more complicated to prove but very relevant to your case. In order to prove pain and suffering damages, you will need to provide supportive evidence about the extent of your injury and the limitations it imposes on your normal day-to-day activities and lifestyle. Potential evidence may include:  Detailed police reports from the incident that caused the injury; Photos from the accident to demonstrate severity; Medical records from all treatment you have undergone; Testimonials from medical doctors; Testimonials from therapists; A list of long-term medications;  Visual proof of your previous lifestyle, which can include photos or video demonstrating the activities you did but can no longer take part in; Testimonials from friends or family members about the effects of your injury; Co-worker or supervisor testimonials regarding changes to your ability to do your job; and Expert analysis regarding limitations on earning capacity.  Gathering this type of evidence is an important part of achieving fair compensation and can be even more crucial if your case goes to trial. An experienced personal injury attorney will understand and make informed recommendations on the best way to present your case to get the pain and suffering damages you deserve. Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages There are a number of factors that go into determining the amount of damages a court should award for pain and suffering. Whether you are negotiating with an insurance company or presenting your case before a judge and jury, some things to be considered include the:  Severity of your injuries;  Required past and future medical treatment; Egregiousness of the behavior that caused the injury; Overall physical and mental pain suffered and reasonably expected into the future;   Impact on your quality of life;  Changes and limitations to employment; and Long-term prognosis of the injury.  Each injury is unique, so there are no set standards for how much compensation you will receive for pain and suffering. However, there are two different types of calculations commonly used to determine pain and suffering damages.  Pain and Suffering Per Diem Method This method of calculating pain and suffering damages assigns a specific monetary value to each day from the date of the injuries to the date of “maximum medical improvement” or MMI. A medical expert determines this date by asserting that the condition has improved as much as it possibly can and will not continue to heal. It can also be the date that the injury completely heals.  Pain and Suffering Multiplier Method  This is the more common of the two methods for calculating pain and suffering damages. Here are the general steps to using this calculation: Add up the total amount of your medical bills; Determine a number between 1.5 and 5, based on the severity of your injuries; and  Multiply your medical bills by this number.  It really takes an experienced attorney to arrive at a feasible multiplier number. The more severe the injuries, the higher your multiplier will be. The degree of negligence in the action that caused the injury can also be a determining factor. Complications with using this method arise when the multiplier number is in dispute or the treatment is not extremely costly, but the long-term impact is.  Pain and Suffering Settlement Examples There are a lot of potential situations where the injury results in long-term suffering. Here are some...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accident

Is a Passenger in a Car Accident Entitled to Compensation?

If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, you deserve justice just as much as any other victim. In fact, passengers rarely have any fault in a motor vehicle collision, potentially making an even stronger case for you to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. The process for pursuing a car accident settlement as a passenger can be confusing. An experienced personal injury lawyer can provide the answers and information you need with regard to car accident settlement payouts for passengers. In Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky, Gerling Law has more than five decades of experience fighting for the wrongfully injured. We have the  knowledge and experience you need on your side now. Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts for Passengers Because every accident victim faces unique challenges and circumstances, it is impossible to estimate any average car accident compensation amount. To determine your claim’s value, your attorney will identify all your physical, emotional, and financial damages. After documenting all damages you suffered, your attorney will use that information to establish the value of your car crash claim. Although we cannot accurately estimate any average or typical claim value, it is safe to say that more serious injuries usually equate to higher car crash claim values. For example, the average settlement for car accident back and neck injury claims is generally higher than settlements for less serious injuries. It is important to note that even minor car accident settlement amounts can provide the financial resources you need to obtain medical treatment and get back on your feet. Talking to an experienced car accident lawyer is the best way to determine whether you have a valid injury accident claim and, if so, what the potential value of your claim might be. Who Should an Injured Passenger Sue for a Car Accident? Victims typically pursue an injury accident claim or lawsuit through the at-fault party’s insurance company. This may be the driver of the other vehicle or a third party, but it might be the driver of the car in which you were riding. If that person is a friend or family member, this could create a potentially uncomfortable situation. Nevertheless, you are entitled to recover compensation for your damages. Having an attorney to handle your claim can provide a helpful buffer between you and your loved one, should you have to pursue your claim through their insurer. Ideally, your attorney can negotiate a fair settlement so you can put this unfortunate situation behind you. What If a Passenger in Your Vehicle Is Injured? If you have an accident in which someone is injured, you should get them and yourself to a safe place, then call the police to report the crash. Make sure you and they seek medical attention as soon as possible. Do not admit fault or discuss the circumstances of the accident with your passengers or any other party, even if you believe you might have caused or contributed to the accident. Provide your passengers with your insurance information, but don’t discourage them from pursuing a claim. Instead, contact an attorney to learn what your legal rights and obligations might be to your passengers and anyone else who sustained injuries in the collision. How Much Can Someone Sue for a Car Accident Passenger Injury? Typically, injury accident victims are entitled to pursue compensation from the party or parties who were responsible for the crash. Victims may pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. This might include medical treatment and care, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. The nature and extent of a victim’s injuries can affect their potential claim value, as can their prognosis for recovery. Any long-term injuries or permanent damage could result in a higher claim value. The best way to determine how much you or another party might be able to sue for is to contact an experienced attorney. An attorney can review the details of your case and explain how they can help protect your legal rights. How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help? If you sustained injuries in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Investigating your case and documenting your damages should occur as quickly as possible. This enables your attorney to submit your claim to the insurance company and start negotiating your settlement. If the insurance company won’t make a reasonable settlement offer, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit in civil court. The experienced legal team of Gerling Law understands how important it is to get your case resolved as quickly as possible, so you can get the resources you need to recover. We offer a free case review, so you can explore your options and get started with the legal process. Contact us now to learn more about how our skilled and compassionate car accident attorneys can help you pursue your passenger car accident claim. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury

What’s the Average Settlement for Traumatic Brain Injury?

Our brain is one of the most important organs that we have in our bodies. Our self-awareness and ability to solve complex problems as humans stem entirely from our unique brains. Unfortunately, despite the fact that our skulls surround and protect our brains, they are highly susceptible to damage. If you or a loved one suffers in an accident and you plan on filing a brain injury lawsuit, you likely want a bit more information on post-concussion syndrome settlement values. In this piece, we will discuss the average settlement for traumatic brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury settlements, and how you can estimate concussion settlement values.  Traumatic Brain Injury Happens Every Day in America Most brain damage results from what we call “traumatic brain injuries” or “TBI” for short. A TBI is an injury that affects how the brain works. A number of different things can cause TBI. Most often, bumps, jolts, or blows to one’s head cause TBI. Less often, but equally serious, a gunshot wound, or any other object penetrating one’s head can cause TBI. Effects of TBI Generally, there are three levels of TBI: mild, moderate, and severe. Each level has many potential aftereffects that vary greatly. The aftereffects of a TBI can quickly dissipate, but they can also last one’s entire life. TBI’s aftereffects include things like: Dizziness, Fatigue, Vision impairment, Cognitive function impairment, Disruption of development, and Migraines. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the US. In 2019 alone there were nearly 61,000 TBI related deaths in the US. There Is No Average Settlement Because every case of TBI is different and unique, it is difficult to pinpoint a precise average settlement for a concussion. On one hand, some concussion settlement values are $10 million or more. On the other hand, a different concussion’s settlement value may be a few thousand dollars. The value of brain injury compensation depends entirely on the facts and circumstances surrounding the TBI.   Figuring Out Your Settlement Value The best way to accurately estimate the value of your TBI settlement is by consulting with an experienced TBI attorney. TBI attorneys know the relative value of the various factors that go into a TBI settlement and can tell you the amount that they would seek if they were to represent you. Before consulting with a lawyer, however, you might want to make your own estimate. To make a relative estimate of the value of your TBI claim, go through our prepared list of factors that affect TBI settlement values. If you have more factors in the “increasing value” list, then you can expect a settlement that is relatively higher than average. If you have more factors in the “decreasing value” list, your settlement may be lower than average. Increasing Value Many of the factors that increase a settlement’s value have to do with the damages that you suffer. The more types of damages you suffer, the more your settlement is worth. In addition, the severity of the damages you suffer affects the settlement. The more severe those damages are, the greater your settlement value is. Other factors can increase your settlement’s value too, such as: Emergency medical transport; Surgery (or surgeries); Physical rehabilitation; Extended hospital stays; Medical costs of non-TBI injuries; Temporarily impaired cognitive function; Permanently impaired cognitive function; Migraines; Pain, emotional anguish, or loss of enjoyment of life; Lost wages; Vocational rehabilitation; In-home assistance (permanent or temporary); Death of a loved one; Loss of employment benefits; Property damage; Visual impairment; Loss of ability to drive; A clear liable party; Multiple liable parties; A liable party with significant financial resources; and Malice or intent on the part of the liable party (punitive damages). You may experience losses that our list does not cover. These factors may also increase your settlement value. The general rule is, the more damages, the greater the settlement value. If some of the damages you experience are particularly severe, then they will likely impact your settlement more. Consider permanent cognitive impairment vs temporary cognitive impairment, for example. You can seek damages for temporary cognitive impairment, but a claim that involves permanent cognitive impairment or even long-term cognitive impairment expected to last a year or more will result in greater compensation. Decreasing Value Just as some factors increase the value of your settlement relatively speaking, other factors have the opposite effect. The following factors will all, relatively speaking, decrease the value of your TBI, concussion, or post concussion syndrome’s settlement value: Negligence or shared fault of the injured party; Tenuous causal connection between liable party and injury; Liability unclear between multiple potentially liable parties; The liable party is lacking in financial resources (known as a “judgment proof defendant”); No permanent cognitive impairment; No temporary cognitive impairment; and Injury’s effects are mitigated by swift medical treatment. Generally speaking, the fewer aftereffects you suffer as a result of your TBI, the less your TBI settlement is worth. Factors that do not appear in this list may also decrease your settlement’s value, so make sure you consider those factors as well. Better yet, discuss your case with an experienced TBI attorney so you have a well-informed estimate from someone who deals with TBI litigation on a day-to-day basis. Seasoned Legal Representation for Tri-State Area TBI Using our lists to make a relative estimate is useful in predicting your TBI settlement’s value. Adding up the sum of your monetary damages to make a more precise estimate is similarly useful. To get the most accurate estimate, however, there is no substitute for an experienced TBI attorney. The TBI attorneys here at Gerling Law have considerable experience helping those affected by TBI in the tri-state area recover the entirety of the damages they deserve. Our attorneys know how to evaluate your claim to get the most out of it. You deserve nothing less. Tell us your story. Call us today for a free consultation! Go with experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

Do I Need an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney?

If you’ve been injured in Indiana due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be considering legal action in the form of a personal injury claim. Part of that consideration involves the question of whether you need a personal injury lawyer. Do I Really Need an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney? You are not legally required to have an attorney represent you in a personal injury claim. You are free to file all of the necessary paperwork and represent yourself in the matter. However, your chances of winning your case and obtaining fair compensation are much greater if you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will use their knowledge and skills to fight for your rights and just compensation. You can feel confident knowing that your attorney is working diligently on your behalf. Why Should You Hire an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer? After an accident, seeking compensation for your injuries can be stressful and time-consuming. Having a personal injury attorney on your side will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on your recovery. There are various steps to handling a personal injury claim, and your attorney will take care of every complex detail you don’t want to deal with. Personal injury lawyers will handle all aspects of your case from start to finish. Having the help of an attorney can be extremely beneficial for many reasons, including: Gathering relevant evidence and documentation; Determining who’s at fault; Calculating damages; Interviewing witnesses;  Dealing with the insurance company; and Engaging in settlement negotiations. Personal injury claims can be challenging to navigate, especially if you are inexperienced. A personal injury lawyer will take care of everything, easing your worry and stress. What Makes a Good Personal Injury Attorney? When it comes time to pick a personal injury attorney, you will have plenty of options. Still, not every lawyer will be right for you. It is important to look for specific characteristics and attributes when looking for the right personal injury attorney. They Are Knowledgeable and Experienced First and foremost, it is crucial to look for an attorney with extensive experience handling personal injury claims. Personal injury is a unique area of law, and not just any attorney can handle your case. It is essential to have an attorney that fully understands the laws pertaining to personal injury. They Have Glowing Reviews When a client is happy, they will want to tell the world about their excellent experience. Look for an attorney with past clients willing to share their experiences and speak candidly about the attorney. Good reviews from happy clients are always a good sign and can give you a great idea of what you can expect. They Have Past Successes Attorneys will often want to share results from previous cases. These past successes are typically on the attorney’s website. While no two personal injury cases are alike, this shows the attorney is open and honest about past cases and has the ability to handle a case successfully. They Are Communicative Personal injury cases can be confusing and frustrating. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of your lawsuit, unable to reach your attorney, wondering what is going on with your case. A good attorney will be open and communicative. They will keep you informed along the way and make you feel comfortable and assured. You Feel Confident About Them It’s so important to consult with any potential attorney before committing to them. This initial meeting will allow you to speak to the attorney and get to know them while having any questions answered. Ask yourself what is most important to you in regards to your attorney. Then, after your consultation, determine whether the attorney checks all those boxes. You will be working with your personal injury attorney for some time, so you must hire an attorney you like and feel good about. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney at Gerling Law Today Gerling Law has over 50 years of experience working with injured clients in Indiana and Kentucky. We understand better than anyone the hassle and aggravation that personal injury claims can bring, and we’re here to help in any way we can. We strive to put clients and their needs first, fighting aggressively for their rights and never backing down. Our team offers free case evaluations. We’re ready to hear your story. Contact us today.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury

What Is the Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?

If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a personal injury accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve justice and fair compensation for your damages. You probably also are curious about what your case value might be worth. Getting a fair settlement is important for two primary reasons: You deserve justice for your injuries and other damages, and you need the financial resources to get comprehensive medical treatment and pay your bills. Clients often ask us how they can determine what a fair settlement might be for their case and what the average personal injury claim value is in the tri-state area. The experienced personal injury lawyers of Gerling Law assist wrongfully injured clients in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. Our knowledgeable team provides compassionate assistance for our clients while fighting tirelessly to get you the outcome you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation. We can tell you more about what the average personal injury settlement amount includes—and how this might affect your claim. Is There an Average Personal Injury Accident Settlement Amount? You face a variety of unique challenges when you fall victim to a personal injury. Whether your injuries were minor or you face a long road back to recovery, you have many challenges ahead. The factors that make you and your injuries unique also make it virtually impossible to identify an average personal injury claim value. Our experienced attorneys help accident victims throughout the tri-state area. We know from experience that it is not realistic to even attempt to identify an average injury claim value in Illinois, Kentucky, or Indiana. We evaluate your claim based on the unique details and circumstances of your case. We provide you with individualized service and answers because we understand that no one-size-fits-all approach is ever practical or fair to you. Are Injury Accident Claim Value Calculators Helpful? Be wary of any online accident settlement calculators or any other resource that claims to provide an accurate estimate of your claim’s potential value. Even the most experienced injury accident lawyers need all the details of your case to determine its potential value. In many cases, online calculators are designed to gather your information so an attorney can reach out to you directly. You might be able to obtain general information about what may or may not be included in an injury claim. However, getting real answers will virtually always require a more detailed analysis of your case, conducted by a knowledgeable legal professional. How Will My Personal Injury Settlement Value Be Calculated? Personal injury attorneys calculate the value of any personal injury claim by first identifying all the economic and non-economic damages you suffered. Calculating economic damages—which might include the cost of your medical treatment, any lost wages, etc.—is a fairly straightforward process. Documenting these types of damages is also relatively simple, using copies of medical bills, income statements, and other documentation of this nature. Non-economic damages, which include emotional trauma, pain and suffering, etc. present more of a challenge. These types of damages are more subjective and not as easy to document. This is why it’s critical to have an experienced attorney on your side. If your injuries affect your ability to work or to resume your prior job duties, your attorney may recommend pursuing damages of lost income capacity as well as future lost income, benefits, and opportunities. If you suffered any permanent damage, scarring, etc., your attorney may also want to include those damages as a part of your overall claim value. As you can see, determining the value of your injury accident claim requires research and an in-depth knowledge of this complex area of the law. What Factors Could Affect the Value of My Personal Injury Settlement? One of the most important factors that attorneys consider in determining the value of a personal injury claim is the nature of the victim’s injuries and how those injuries will affect the victim in the future. Another factor that could affect your claim is how you sustained your injuries. If you were hit by a drunk driver, for example, or if you suffered injuries due to the wrongful actions of a semi-truck driver, your attorney may be able to gather a variety of evidence and build a persuasive case on your behalf. In most cases, personal injury lawyers can negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This provides several advantages over going to court. Your case gets resolved at the earliest possible time without the cost and hassle of a trial. Whether your attorney negotiates a settlement or prevails in court, you won’t have to pay any legal fees up front—so you don’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs. If you do go to court, however, most attorneys have a higher fee percentage than they do for settling. This can also affect your ultimate award. Once you talk with an experienced attorney, you can get the details on all of these factors and more and get a realistic estimate of how much you could collect for your personal injury settlement amount. Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Gerling Law Now At Gerling Law, our experienced attorneys focus on the unique details of your case. When you choose us to assist you, you won’t have to face this challenging situation alone. Take a moment to browse our past case results, and you will see how committed we are to getting the job done for you. We do everything in our power to get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with injuries sustained in a car accident, truck accident, medical malpractice case, construction accident, or any other type of personal injury accident. We look forward to answering your questions and helping determine the possible value of your personal injury settlement. Go with experience. Go with Gerling. ®

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Car Accident

Examples of Wrongful Death Cases

Losing a loved one is a difficult thing for anybody. Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence can be even harder. Lives are cut short every day for many reasons, but losing a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions is especially tragic. When such an event happens, the family of the person who died is entitled to compensation. Wrongful death suits occur when someone who has lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence files a claim against the individual responsible for the death. In 2019 more than 170,000 people lost their lives in the US from accidents or unintentional injuries. In fact, such accidents are the third leading cause of death in the US. While accidents happen in an almost infinite number of different ways, some wrongful death causes are more common than others. Here are some examples of wrongful death causes. Car Accidents There is no way to ignore the fact that driving a vehicle can be dangerous. While many of us may go years without getting into a car accident, others are not so lucky. Many wrongful death lawsuit cases happen each year after fatal car accidents. Generally, if a driver’s negligent actions cause a death on the road, they are liable for the wrongful death.  The number of car accident fatalities each year may surprise you. More than 38,000 people die in car accidents each year. In 2020, while there was less traffic volume than normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of vehicle fatalities rose. Some experts say that the increase in fatalities was due, in part, to increased rates of speeding in the US. If a loved one dies after a car accident that someone else negligently causes, you are entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim. Some of the most common causes of death after car accidents stem from things like: Brain injuries, Neck injuries, and Internal bleeding. The two best things you and your loved ones can do to avoid suffering a fatal injury in a car accident are wearing your seatbelt and avoiding distractions while driving. Defective Products Defective products lead to numerous wrongful death claims each year. Most consumer products producers are responsible for ensuring consumer safety as long as their products are used as intended. Some products are inherently dangerous, but other times, a consumer product can have a fatal defect. For example, a cooking utensil that leaches deadly chemicals into food as it is used as intended can lead to a wrongful death claim against a manufacturer. Similarly, a safety feature in a vehicle that doesn’t work properly, like a seatbelt that comes unbuckled easily in an accident, can easily cause fatal injuries and leave the manufacturer liable for wrongful death claims. Even an inherently dangerous consumer product, such as a gun, comes with an assumption of safety with proper use. A defective part in a gun that causes a chambered round to go off without the user pulling the trigger can easily lead to a wrongful death claim.  When a manufacturer of goods is made aware of a dangerous defect in their product, they are responsible for notifying the public of that defect and recalling any defective products. They are also responsible for replacing those products free of charge. Boeing became responsible for numerous wrongful death claims after a design flaw caused some of their 737 Max commercial aircraft to crash in 2018. Since then, in addition to settling wrongful death claims, Boeing has recalled and replaced all of the affected 737 Max airplanes. If you want to keep track of any consumer product recalls to help ensure your safety, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the best place to do so. The CPSC website contains a database of all consumer product recalls. You can even subscribe to the CPSC to get a newsletter of product recalls relevant to you. Workplace Accidents Unfortunately, many accidents happen in the workplace. While all employers must provide their employees with a safe workspace, some employers fail to do so. Even an employer who takes all necessary precautions can have a fatal accident occur at their workplace. In addition, some jobs and workspaces are more dangerous than others. For example, a construction site will typically be more dangerous than an average office.  While the vast majority of workplace injuries are nonfatal each year, the number of fatal injuries is still significant. Employers in the US reported 2.8 million nonfatal injuries in 2019. During the same period, however, a total of 5,333 workers died due to workplace injuries. If a loved one dies after a workplace accident, you can file a claim through their employer’s workers’ compensation program. Most employers in the US are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. However, if a loved one dies due to negligence by someone other than their employer or coworker, or if the employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to seek additional compensation through a wrongful death claim. Medical Malpractice Medical malpractice commonly gives rise to wrongful death claims. Medical malpractice is estimated to take roughly 250,000 lives each year. Generally speaking, medical malpractice occurs when an error in medical treatment leads to injury. If the patient dies due to a medical error, their loved ones are entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice wrongful death claim. To file a successful wrongful death claim based on medical malpractice, one must prove that the death was caused by a medical provider’s mistake that amounts to a violation of the medical standard of care. Pedestrian Accidents Another common source of wrongful death claims is pedestrian accidents. Unlike when a car strikes another vehicle, when a car strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian does not have the protection that a vehicle offers. Thus, a pedestrian receives the full force of impact when a car strikes them. As a result, it is not uncommon for injuries to a pedestrian after being struck by...

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| Read Time: 6 minutes | Personal Injury

What Is Considered a Catastrophic Brain Injury

Any accident that causes trauma to the brain is problematic. Even a minor concussion can result in lasting damage. Traumatic brain injuries can vary in severity, with catastrophic brain injuries being the most devastating. It’s essential to get an answer to the question, what is a catastrophic brain injury? You need to understand the different types of brain injuries and what kinds of treatment and life changes will occur. If someone you love suffered a brain injury in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may have legal grounds to bring a personal injury claim. It’s crucial to speak with an experienced catastrophic brain injury attorney who can help you navigate the complicated personal injury claims process. At Gerling Law, we have over 50 years of experience helping thousands of injured clients collect the compensation they deserve. What Is Considered a Brain Injury? There are two main types of brain injuries—traumatic and non-traumatic. A traumatic brain injury is when an external force alters your brain’s function. It develops after some sort of trauma, like an auto accident. Not all blows to your head will cause a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries fall under the umbrella term of acquired brain injuries. This term refers to brain injuries that are not hereditary, genetic, degenerative, or caused by birth trauma. In addition to trauma, encephalitis, tumors, stroke, infectious diseases, and aneurysms are a few causes of acquired brain injury.    According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are a significant cause of disability and death in the United States. From 2006 to 2014, TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths increased by 53%. Don’t ignore a brain injury—see a doctor right away and consider contacting a lawyer early on. What Are Common Symptoms of Brain Injuries? Recognizing the symptoms of mild and severe brain injuries is important. Catastrophic brain injury protocol differs from what you need to do if you have minor brain damage.  Minor traumatic brain injury symptoms include: Headache; Fatigue or drowsiness; No loss of consciousness, but being confused, dazed, or disoriented; Difficulty sleeping; Nausea or vomiting; Loss of balance; Dizziness; Speech problems; Sensitivity to sound or light; Sensory issues, including blurry vision, changes to your ability to smell, ringing in the ears, or a bad taste; Depression or anxiety; Mood swings or mood changes; and Concentration or memory problems. Symptoms of moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries include: Loss of consciousness lasting several minutes to hours; Seizures or convulsions; Repeated headaches or one that continues to worsen; Dilation of one or both pupils; Loss of coordination; Inability to wake from sleep; Continued nausea or vomiting; Slurred speech; Combativeness or agitation; Severe confusion; or Coma or another disorder of consciousness. Severe brain injuries can leave victims with noticeable problems, including cognitive issues, emotional and behavioral changes, language issues, and sensory problems. Some victims are at a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other brain disorders later in life. What Causes Catastrophic Brain Damage? Numerous events and accidents can lead to catastrophic brain damage. Some of the most common causes of a major brain injury include the following. Falls Falling down from a ladder, off a bed, or down the stairs can easily result in catastrophic traumatic brain injury. The older you get, the more at risk you are for a devastating fall. Even tripping on an uneven sidewalk can result in falling and sustaining a head injury.  Vehicle Collisions Any type of vehicle-related collision—car, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian, or truck—can lead to a traumatic brain injury. You can develop a head injury from physically striking something or just the violent jolting motion. Sports Injuries Sports can be dangerous and leave participants with various injuries, including brain injuries. High-impact sports are the worst, including football, boxing, hockey, baseball, etc. Violence Violence can also lead to catastrophic brain injuries. Domestic violence, gunshot wounds, assaults, and child abuse are a few violent offenses that can leave someone with a brain injury. Shaken baby syndrome is also a concern in infants as any violent shaking can result in a brain injury. Combat Injuries Active duty military personnel are at a high risk for all types of injuries. Explosive blasts cause many traumatic brain injuries in military members. It’s not entirely understood, but experts believe the brain’s function is disrupted due to a pressure wave from the blast. Severe blows to the head from shrapnel or penetrating wounds can also result in brain injuries. What Are the Major Types of Head Injuries? It’s essential to understand the different types of head injuries that can lead to a traumatic brain injury. The following head injuries are the most common ones we see in personal injury matters. Concussion When your head makes an impact with something hard, it can result in a concussion. Concussions are common in auto accidents due to the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle or when your brain hits the inside of your skull. Concussions usually result in temporary injuries. However, some people sustain lasting injuries from concussions. In addition, someone like an athlete who has suffered multiple injuries could eventually have permanent damage. Hematoma A hematoma can occur in various parts of your body because it involves clotting or a collection of blood outside of your blood vessels. When you have a hematoma in your brain, it’s dire. You could lose consciousness or sustain permanent brain damage. Edema Edema is swelling and can happen anywhere in your body. When the swelling is in your brain, it’s even more dangerous. Your skull is not expandable and cannot accommodate the increased pressure from your brain hitting your skull. Hemorrhaging Hemorrhaging refers to bleeding that’s uncontrolled. Uncontrolled bleeding in your brain can be intracerebral, which is in your brain tissue, or subarachnoid, which is bleeding around your brain. You may have headaches and vomiting, and the increased blood can cause pressure to build up in your brain. Diffuse Axonal Injury A diffuse axonal injury is one that doesn’t involve bleeding,...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury

Filing a Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim

Dog bites can happen quickly and without notice. They can leave you with injuries and mounting medical bills. You may not even be able to engage in normal daily activities. After suffering a dog bite injury, you have legal rights. A personal injury attorney can help you seek just compensation for your injuries. Is a Dog Bite Considered Personal Injury? Yes. Dog bites are considered personal injury and fall into the category of common personal injury claims, like car accidents and slip and falls. If you’ve suffered a dog bite, you can seek compensation for your injuries from the owner of the dog. What to Do After a Dog Bite If you’ve suffered injuries resulting from a dog bite, there are specific steps you should follow. Seek Medical Attention If your injuries are severe, call 911. If your injuries are less serious, it is still essential you seek medical care as soon as possible. Complications with dog bite injuries are common, including infection. Receiving medical attention soon after the incident can lessen your chances of any complications.  Gather Information If possible, collect information and evidence at the scene of the incident. This includes: Photos of the scene, Pictures of your injuries, and Witness information. Be sure to get the dog owner’s information. Also collect any information or documentation pertaining to your case, including medical bills and a record of lost wages. Report the Incident Many states require a victim report the dog bite to local authorities. Local agencies, like animal control, can gather important information, including whether the dog has its rabies vaccination. They can also decide how to handle the situation, depending on whether the dog remains a threat to others. What Is the Average Settlement for a Dog Bite? Settlements are agreed-upon resolutions to a case. After suffering dog bite injuries, you will want to engage in settlement negotiations with the dog owner to recover compensation. The dog owner or their insurance company will pay the settlement. You may seek compensation for a variety of things, including: Medical bills, Lost wages,  Pain and suffering, and Scarring. Your settlement will highly depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident. No two dog bite cases are alike. Therefore, there is no average settlement for dog bite injuries. Filing a Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim When looking to file a dog bite personal injury claim, follow these crucial steps. Determine Fault Typically, a dog owner will be liable if their dog caused someone harm, even if they were not negligent in restraining or supervising the animal. Most states operate under strict liability for dog bites, meaning that if you have a dog, you will be held responsible for their actions.  Certain states use a “one bite” rule. This rule states that after a dog bites someone once (or harms them in another way, such as knocking them over), an owner should be aware of their dog’s propensity to harm others. In states that follow the one bite rule, if you can’t show that the dog had previously caused harm to someone, you will need to prove that the caretaker’s or owner’s negligence caused your injury. Every state has different laws regarding dog bites. When meeting with your attorney, discuss your state’s dog bite laws and how they can affect your case. Documentation Documenting all aspects of your claim can have a significant impact on your case. Some of the most important information to gather includes: Medical records, Medical bills, Record of lost wages, Witness reports,  Scar evaluations, and Photo and videos. The more information and evidence you gather, the stronger your case. Every bit of information you have can help prove your case. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney If insurance is involved, the dog owner’s insurance company will likely want to speak with you. Do not talk to them without first consulting with an attorney. Insurance companies often try to get recorded statements and will utilize these statements to limit their liability. Aside from helping with the insurance company, a personal injury attorney will be your ally. Your attorney will handle all aspects of your claim, including: Dealing with the insurance company; Gathering relevant documentation; Investigating your case; and Engaging in settlement negotiations. Having a personal injury attorney will allow you to focus on your recovery while putting you at ease, knowing your claim is in good hands. Factors That Play a Major Role in Your Case Because every dog bite incident is different, many factors will affect your settlement. The following are the most prominent factors that will affect your dog bite case. Age Age can be an important factor in dog bite cases. The age of the victim matters. Often, minor children will have the ability to receive larger settlements than adults for a variety of reasons, including: Adults are more aware than children; Children are less likely to be able to defend themselves; and A dog bite will often cause permanent emotional damage. While adults can still recover fair compensation for their injuries, there is an added layer of complication when the victim is a child. Injuries The severity of the injuries incurred will undoubtedly affect your recovery. A surface injury that heals quickly will never be worth as much as a severe injury that requires surgery.  Dog bite injuries can vary greatly. Some of the most common include: Puncture wounds, Lacerations, Infections, Dismemberments, Nerve damage, and Scarring. The more serious the dog bite, the more you will be able to recover for your injuries.  Ongoing Issues Many dog bite injuries will eventually heal with medical treatment, and you will be able to go back to living your everyday life. However, in certain circumstances, serious injuries can leave you disabled and unable to resume your daily activities. In these cases, you can seek additional damages, including lost wages and pain and suffering. Status of Injured Person If you were lawfully on the dog owner’s property or on public property when the dog bite occurred, you should not have any...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury

5 Types of Personal Injury

Personal injury. You have heard the term used many times. But what does it actually entail? A personal injury is typically some sort of harm that is caused by someone or something. Your mind might automatically think of a car accident, which is certainly a common type of personal injury. However, there are many other ways one can obtain an injury that may require legal assistance in the battle for justice. Let’s take a look at 5 different types of personal injury. Workman’s Compensation If you’ve ever had any type of job, you have surely heard of a workman’s compensation injury. These types of personal injuries occur in the workplace, as the name suggests. Many jobs have safety manuals or guidelines you must follow while on the clock. People who work in factories typically must wear protective eyewear and masks to prevent anything from harming their face. Other places might have rules such as requiring someone else to be present when you’re on a high ladder. If you’re a construction worker, you wear hard hats to protect your head from falling material or other harm. This is to prevent any accidents from happening and to protect yourself and other employees. If you become injured at work, it would be best to seek the legal assistance of a personal injury attorney. Having an attorney on your side during a workman’s compensation case is beneficial for many reasons. Firstly, they will handle all the paper work and communication with insurance companies. Secondly, your attorney will fight for a satisfying outcome when it comes to your settlement. Motor Vehicle Accident Like mentioned above, motor vehicle accidents are a huge type of personal injury. Accidents can cause any sort of injury, from concussions to paralyzation, and even death. Unfortunately, when it comes to vehicle accidents, there is usually a laundry list of expenses. The worse the injury, the longer the tab. Having an attorney on your side during a vehicle accident would be highly beneficial to you and your loved ones. Experienced attorneys know when insurance companies are not playing fair or may not be giving you their best offers. Injuries obtained in accidents require lots of proof, paperwork, and communication with medical facilities and insurance companies. Your attorney will handle this all so you can focus on recovering. Slip and Fall Another type of personal injury is a slip and fall. Slip and fall personal injuries are pretty much what they sound like. You slip and fall in an unsafe place, the fall is not your fault and obtain an injury. For some, this can happen in a public place such as a store. If the floor is wet and the store failed to warn customers with a caution sign, then they will most likely be held accountable for your fall. Slip and fall cases will typically become associated with the term “premises liability.” This just means that the property owner or company has failed to ensure safety where the accident occurred. Dog Bites Another common form of personal injuries are dog bites. This is one of the common types of personal injury. We’ve touched on this topic before, but it can never be said enough. Owning a pet, especially a dog, is a huge responsibility. However, it is also your responsibility as an individual to make sure you use safe practices around animals. Some safe practices include ensuring your own pet is on a leash. You don’t want to risk your dog attacking another dog or person. Even if your dog is normally well-behaved, their animal instincts can kick in at any moment. You do not want to be liable for your dog biting another human, so keeping them on a leash at all times is important. If you see a person approaching or reaching down to pet your dog, make sure you’re keeping an eye out. Also, never attempt to pet another dog without asking permission. Some dogs do not take well to people they do not know, which leads to attacks. Often when dogs attack young children, it is because the child has done something to upset the dog. Make sure you never leave your dog and young ones unsupervised together. Medical Malpractice Unfortunately, the medical field is no exception to mistakes. When negligence comes from a doctor or other medical professional, you may have a medical malpractice case. Some common forms of medical malpractice include being misdiagnosed or prescribed the wrong medicine. Sometimes these errors might seem small, but the long-term effects could be extremely dangerous. Imagine being told you have a common cold when actually it is a severe case of pneumonia. If you believe you have experienced medical malpractice, it is important you seek out an attorney to help you. Insurance companies and hospitals will want to be very thorough with all your medical records which can be very confusing when trying to tackle a lawsuit on your own. This is where a personal injury attorney can 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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