| Read Time: 4 minutes | news

What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?

Losing a loved one in an accident leaves their family and friends devastated. As they move through the stages of grief, they begin searching for answers and recognize the financial stresses associated with the loss of a loved one. Potential plaintiffs often ask what a wrongful death lawsuit average is when deciding if they want to pursue one. Unfortunately, there is no one average number. No two cases are exactly alike, so there is no way to compare cases to each other. The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on a number of factors. Understanding what a wrongful death claim requires and how damages are calculated can help the family decide how to proceed. What is a Wrongful Death Suit? Wrongful death is a civil claim brought by the deceased’s surviving family or personal representative against the negligent party. It is completely separate from a criminal charge, with a different burden of proof. Every state defines wrongful death in their own way, but there are common elements: Duty of Care. The plaintiff must show that the defendant had a responsibility to avoid behaviors that could cause foreseeable harm to the plaintiff (the deceased);  Breach of Duty. The plaintiff must show that the defendant violated their duty of care; Causation. The defendant’s violation/breach caused the person’s death; and Damages. The deceased and their family suffered injury or damage as a result. In these situations, the family has the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation. What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Case? A wrongful death claim covers those losses experienced by the next of kin after the deceased’s death. These can include: Loss of future inheritance, Loss of parental guidance (if they had minor children), Loss of spousal companionship (also called consortium), Loss of the decedent’s benefits such as retirement, and Loss of the decedent’s future income. Depending on your state, you may also be able to pursue a claim for losses suffered by the deceased prior to their death, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you understand the laws that apply to you. How Are Wrongful Death Damages Calculated? Because each case is so different, it’s hard to name a number, or even a range, for damages. However, there are several factors that may affect a settlement amount. Usually, the main consideration is the decedent’s status and circumstances at the time of death. Factors to consider include: Age of person at time of death; The deceased’s career, education, and earning capacity; Their state of health; Income at time of death; and The age and needs of the deceased’s legal dependents. The final amount of damages cannot be a guess. It must be supported by objective evidence, which can require expert witnesses. Because of this, it is so important to have a personal injury attorney on your side who knows how wrongful death cases work. If a case does reach a jury, the plaintiff can also ask for punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant whose conduct is considered grossly negligent or intentional. Some states put a cap (limit amount) on this category. In Indiana, punitive damages are capped at the greater of three times compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. Kentucky and Illinois do not limit punitive damages. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim? Each state has its own laws stating who has standing to bring a wrongful death claim and who can collect damages. Usually, only immediate family members like spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children can recover damages in a wrongful death suit. Often, these individuals also have standing to bring the wrongful death suit. However, many states require a deceased’s personal representative (executor, executrix, or court appointed administrator) to bring suit on behalf of the family members. Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Taxable? The IRS considers any portion of a settlement or award that is “compensatory” as non-taxable. Compensatory damages are intended to repay someone for a loss that they have already sustained and are not considered “income” for tax purposes. If the case goes to trial and a jury awards punitive damage, the result may be different. It is possible that any punitive damages in a jury award or settlement may be taxed.  How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You Navigating a wrongful death claim can be complicated and overwhelming. You may be grieving and wondering if a claim is in the family’s best interest. Sometimes insurance companies contact family members shortly after an accident and offer an amount that seems substantial. But in most cases, their offer will be significantly less than the family’s actual losses. A wrongful death claim will take an additional toll on everyone involved, so having an attorney is essential. First, they will be your advocate against the responsible party, insurance company, or opposing counsel. They know the law and how to navigate the legal system on your behalf. The loss of a loved one cannot be reclaimed through a personal injury action. But a claim can compensate a family for emotional and economic harms so that they can begin to move forward. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate a settlement or represent you at trial if necessary. Suffering the Loss of a Loved One? Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. Did you lose a family member or loved one due to the negligent actions of another? The team at Gerling Law is incredibly sorry for your loss, and we want to help you if we can. Our attorneys are dedicated advocates who will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve after such a tragedy. We have successfully represented clients in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky in wrongful death suits and other personal injury matters for over 50 years. Call us at 866-651-2195 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case consultation today!

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Back and Neck Injuries

5 Signs of Nursing Home Negligence

There may come a time in your life when you must make the difficult decision to admit a loved one into a nursing home. This decision is never easy. Finding a nursing home you can trust takes time. When that trust is abused, and negligence occurs, recognize the signs and take action. Here are five signs of nursing home negligence. Three involve actual abuse (physical/sexual, financial, and emotional). Two involve neglect and abandonment. Following are the signs of nursing home negligence: Physical and Sexual Abuse Unexplained wounds or injuries are signs of physical abuse. Sometimes the injuries are not obvious. If possible, talk with your loved one about how they feel. For example, ask if they are in pain. Signs of physical abuse range from bruises to broken bones. Also, if a doctor sees your loved one quite often, ask why the need for so many visits. Be aware, the nursing home could be hiding injuries from you. Abuse can occur as sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes sexually transmitted diseases or infections or injury to genitalia or the anal area. Again, these injuries may not be obvious, so asking your loved one questions is important. Financial Abuse Financial abuse happens often because most nursing home patients can’t manage their own finances. Signs of financial abuse include missing property and unexplained charges on bills. To this end, make sure you regularly check finances and ask about anything you don’t understand on the bill. Emotional Abuse Signs of emotional abuse include anxiety, fear of medical staff and refusing care. Because there is no physical evidence, emotional abuse is hard to prove. Ask your loved one how they like the nursing staff. In addition, ask if they have a favorite nurse. These questions may help you find out if anything is wrong. Negligence Negligence in nursing homes is failing to meet the standard of care for a patient that results in serious illness or injury. For nursing home patients, neglect includes being underfed, dehydrated, bad hygiene, or bedsores. Also, if your loved one complains about not being seen by a doctor when requesting one, this can be negligence. Abandonment Abandonment occurs when a patient’s conditions are unsanitary or dirty. Therefore, if the your loved one’s room, bathroom, bed or person is always dirty, the nursing home has been negligent. Abandoning a person who cannot care for themselves is heartless and wrong. If you believe your loved one has experienced nursing home negligence, it is important to seek legal help. Gerling Law is here to answer your questions. 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 | Fatal Accidents

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 injury 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 know 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 agains 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: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

Your Wrongful Death Attorney

Unfortunately, at Gerling Law, our professional team is familiar with accidents that result in wrongful death. If you know someone who has passed away due to another person’s else’s negligent behavior, we offer our deepest apologies. This time is difficult, painful, and unfair. To make the situation worse, these particular types of cases are often constricted by a statute of limitations. You and your family should be grieving at this time, not stressing over the legal process. Therefore, we invite you to leave the law to us. An Attorney Can Help According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90,000 deaths occur throughout the United States due to medical malpractice, which is just one example of wrongful death. Wrongful death can occur from many types of accidents, including the following: an automobile accident, a slip and fall accident, a workplace accident, a product liability accident, and more. As stated time and time again, accidents do happen every single day. However, when the accident could have been prevented, then the responsible party needs to be held accountable for his or her negligent actions. An educated and skilled attorney can help you. Firstly, the legal process can often be complicated and tedious. Second of all, it goes without saying that most clients, rightfully so, do not have a clear mind during this trying time. From tracking down witnesses to making phone calls on your behalf, at Gerling Law, our main concern is you. Contact a Gerling Wrongful Death Attorney Today 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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