Xarelto MDL Established – Eastern District of Louisiana

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GavelOn December 12th, 2014 The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation released a transfer order in regards to the mounting Xarelto litigation. According to the order, there are currently 21 causes of action pending in ten different districts across the country. A multidistrict litigation order establishes a single court to hear cases from all over the country. This means that regardless of the court your case would normally be heard in, due to your location, your case will instead be heard in the court established by the Judicial Panel. As a result, many Indiana residents bringing Xarelto claims will be included in this MDL which will also allow many to settle their cases outside of court, and is designed to speed the process of handling complex cases.

Xarelto Cases Will be Heard in Louisiana

The transfer order acknowledged many commonalities between cases filed against the makers of the blood thinner Xarelto. Some of these commonalities include, “the adequacy of Xarelto’s warning label with respect to the risk of severe bleeding and other injuries, the results of certain clinical studies, and the alleged need for blood monitoring.” While the makers of Xarelto argued against the establishment of an MDL, the Judicial Panel dismissed their concerns and established the Eastern District of Louisiana as the court where these cases will be heard. The order notes that the Honorable Eldon E. Fallon will be presiding over the cases. Judge Fallon was appointed to this position in 1995 by then President Bill Clinton. He obtained his J.D. in 1962 from Louisiana State University Law School. He was a private practice attorney from 1962-1995. He is well known for presiding over the class action suit involving Chinese drywall (judgepedia.org).

Have You Been Injured After Taking Xarelto?

If you or a loved one was injured after taking Xarelto, contact a dangerous drug attorney at Hensley Legal Group today. They have the experience you deserve, and know how to handle the complex issues involved with class action claims. Reach us anytime at 1-888-436-7539, or contact us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

Nursing Home Abuse of Anti-psychotic Drugs

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PillsIt’s never easy placing a loved one in the care of a stranger. However, for millions of Americans it is a reality that they must cope with. According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, there were 39,045 Hoosiers in a certified nursing facility in 2011, and while there are thousands of hard working medical workers taking care of those in these facilities we often hear of abuses. These abuses come in many forms – neglect, physical, mental, and verbal abuse. But a recent report from NPR highlights an overlooked problem that can be just as damaging.

Anti-Psychotics Carry a Black Box Warning for Dementia Patients

According to the story, published December 8th, there are nearly 300,000 nursing home residents across the country currently receiving some type of anti-psychotic drug. This may not seem all that surprising at first. However, consider the fact that many of these prescriptions are given to treat, “the anxiety and aggression that can go with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia,” and not to treat the symptoms of mental illness. This is especially shocking because these medications, like Risperdal and Haldol, are not really meant to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia, and even carry a black box warning when used to treat these types of diseases. The warning says, “they can increase the risk for heart failure, infections, and death.” Professor Bradley Williams adds to their risk saying, “Anti-psychotic drugs change behaviors. They blunt behaviors. They can cause sedation. It increases their risk for falls.”

What is a Chemical Restraint?

According to NPR, “Federal law prohibits the use of antipsychotics and other psychoactive drugs for the convenience of staff. “If there is no documented evidence of need for these drugs the federal government considers it a chemical restraint. Unfortunately, thousands of Americans are being chemically restrained. “In 2011, a government study found that 88 percent of Medicare claims for antipsychotics prescribed in nursing homes were for treating symptoms of dementia, even though the drugs aren’t approved for that.” So what can happen to those who are victims of chemical restraints, and how does one ensure that their loved one doesn’t end up the victim of a chemical restraint?

NPR’s article tells the story of Patricia Thomas. Patricia had Alzheimer’s disease, but according to her daughter, Kathi, Patricia had been doing fine in 2010: “living in a memory care facility near Santa Barbara, walking and talking, dressing and feeding herself.” Unfortunately, Patricia fell and fractured her pelvis, and after a hospital stay she went to a nursing home for rehab work. However, Kathi says that within a week, “she was in a wheelchair, slumped over, sucking on her hand, mumbling to herself, completely out of it, not even aware that I was there.” Because she was so out of it, Patricia wasn’t able to do the rehab work and was discharged from the nursing home. That’s when Kathi learned of the medication her mother had been receiving. “Among them were Risperdal and Haldol, both powerful antipsychotics.” Kathi tried to wean her mother off the drugs, but it didn’t work. Kathi was unable to have another conversation with her mom, and Patricia died within two months of being discharged. This is an illustration of what can happen when these drugs are misused or abused. It’s also an important example of why informed consent is so important.

Keep Your Loved one Safe From Chemical Restraints

The best way to ensure that your loved one doesn’t become the victim a chemical restraint is to stay in contact with your loved one. You know them better than anyone else, and an easy way to tell if they have been given an antipsychotic is if you notice drastic changes in their behavior. If they appear unusually sedated, spacey, or out of it you may want to inquire about the medications that they have been given. Nursing homes are supposed to obtain informed consent from either the resident or their guardian when handing out new medications. However, too often people are not told about the dangers of these drugs when used to treat dementia. Also, some residents suffering from dementia may not fully understand what they are being given, or why they are being given it.

Get Help for Nursing Home Abuse

While we must put faith in the dedicated medical professionals who serve our family members every day, we cannot shirk our responsibility to our loved ones. Part of that responsibility is following up if you believe abuse has occurred. This can be a daunting task, but there are resources. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney at Hensley Legal Group can help you navigate the facts, and help you understand your options. They will do everything they can to make right the wrong done to your loved one. If you have questions we can help. Contact us anytime at 1-800-436-7539, or contact us via the web. Fill out the get help now form, and someone from our office will contact you immediately to discuss your claim.

Indiana High Schools Report 1,200 Concussions This Fall

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Football Field

Many of the reported concussions occurred on the football field.

According to an article published December 3rd on wfyi.org, Indiana high schools reported an alarming number of concussions during this year’s fall sports season. According to the report, most of the concussions that were reported occurred on the football field. However, basketball and soccer players also suffered from a large number of concussions as well.

Report Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story

The IHSAA has asked schools to report concussion information for the first time this year, but schools are not required to do so. WFYI reports that, “about half of Indiana public high schools” reported their results to the IHSAA this year. Using the information that was reported, the IHSAA determined that, “student athletes experienced more than 1,200 concussion-related events during the five-month fall athletic season.” This is an alarming number, and even more disconcerting considering the fact that only about half of Indiana schools reported any data. One can safely assume the actual number of concussions during this five month period was much larger.

Concussions Are Serious Injuries

Concussions seem to be more and more common in today’s sport world. However, they are not injuries to be ignored, and can have potentially deadly consequences if not taken seriously. The Mayo Clinic defines a concussion as a “traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions.” It describes symptoms such as headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination. These symptoms are usually temporary and subside with rest. However, concussions are serious injuries that affect your brain, and should not be taken lightly.

Concussed After a Car Accident?

While concussions are often associated with contact sports, head injuries are not limited to the football field or basketball court. Many people become concussed while behind the wheel following a car accident. Due to the often violent snapping of the neck, as a result of rear end collisions, concussions are common injuries that car accident victims must deal with. They can be debilitating and should not be ignored. If you or someone you know has sustained a concussion after a crash contact an experienced attorney at Hensley Legal Group today. We can help you get the treatment you need to fully recover, and we can advise you on your options when it comes to paying for medical bills. Call us anytime 24/7 at 1-800-436-7539, or reach us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ box and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your situation. There are never any fees unless we help you secure a settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation.

21% of Fatal Crashes a Result of Drowsiness -Study Suggests

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Driving while drowsy is dangerous.

In November The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report highlighting the dangers of drowsy driving. “Founded in 1947, the AAA Foundation in Washington, D.C. is a not-for-profit, publicly supported charitable research and education organization dedicated to saving lives by preventing traffic crashes and reducing injuries when they occur.” According to the report, car crashes rank among the leading causes of death in the U.S. This particular report focuses on the number of injuries and deaths resulting from drowsy drivers.

For some time researchers have questioned official government statistics which, “suggest that drowsy driving only contributes to approximately 1-3% of motor vehicles crashes each year in the United States.” In fact, the report states that experts believe official statistics are only the “tip of the iceberg” as it relates to the number of crashes that result from drowsiness.

Following up on a study that was previously done by the AAA, a re-analysis using data from the years 2009-2013 revealed an alarming number of crashes occurring due to drowsiness.

AAA Reports Startling Statistics on Drowsy Drivers

Results of the re-analysis revealed an estimated…

  • 6% of all crashes in which a vehicle was towed from the scene involved a drowsy driver
  • 7% of crashes in which a person received treatment for injuries involved a drowsy driver
  • 13% of crashes in which a person was hospitalized involved a drowsy driver
  • 21% of crashes in which a person was killed involved a drowsy driver

These numbers are staggering, and emphasize the need to be alert when behind the wheel. Other researchers have discovered that people may not even realize they have been asleep unless they have been sleeping for an extended period of time. This means that you may not even realize you have fallen asleep while driving if you have only been asleep a few seconds. Don’t risk your life or someone else’s. Don’t get behind the wheel if you feel drowsy.

Were You Hurt by a Drowsy Driver?

Have you been injured in a car accident because of a drowsy driver? Contact the car accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group today. Our experienced attorneys can help you understand your rights, and will work with you to help you recover what you deserve from insurance companies. We are available 24/7 at 1-800-436-7539 to answer your questions. You can also contact us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you immediately to discuss your claim. The initial consultation is always free, and we never get paid unless we help you get the money you deserve.

Replacement Switches Urgently Ordered Well Before G.M. Recall

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SpeedometerThe New York Times reports in an article published November 11th that emails, discovered in “four million documents contained in a depository set up for discovery in federal multi-district litigation against the automaker,” show that G.M. placed an urgent order for 500,000 replacement switches months before it notified the government about the recall. The initial email from G.M. was sent on December 18th, 2013 which, according to the Times, was “a day after a crucial committee met to discuss the switch issue but declined to order a recall.”

The first email from G.M. to Delphi, the supplier of the part, was sent the 18th at 3:16pm, apparently following a voicemail, and requested “a build and ship plan for a large volume of this part to support an urgent Field Action for our customers.” The following day a follow up email was sent with a modified subject line including the words “FIELD ACTION **URGENT**.” Delphi responded noting that they had only provided G.M. with 11,445 pieces in the last year, and requested a timeline for the 500,000 parts described by Delphi as “a huge increase in production.” G.M. responded saying they “would need to start seeing shipments ASAP.”

According to the Times, G.M. has “recalled 2.6 million cars for the defective switch, beginning in early February, and has acknowledged that some engineers and others in the company knew of the flaw for more than a decade.” These emails would simply serve as evidence that the company knew about the problem, and even prepared to fix the problem, months before the cars were officially recalled. It also brings into question the credibility of Mary T. Barra, who became G.M.’s CEO in January. She has said that “she did not learn of the ignition-switch defect until a committee decided that month to recall the cars.” However, in an AP article published November 11th, Robert Hillard, a Texas personal injury attorney, noted that it seemed unlikely that the CEO would not have known about the purchase of the 500,000 new switches which would have come at an unbudgeted cost of about $3 million dollars. However, the AP article also states, “G.M. says it is standard procedure to start ordering parts before a recall decision is made.”

In the end, these emails add yet another wrinkle in the already complicated G.M. recall case. But, at least 32 deaths have already occurred due to the ignition switch problem. G.M. could have potentially saved some of these lives by announcing concerns about the ignition switch when it placed the order for replacements. Robert Hillard, in the AP article notes that “For his clients alone, a warning (as soon as G.M. knew about the problem) could have prevented one death and 85 injuries.”

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an ignition switch problem with your G.M. vehicle, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident attorney at Hensley Legal Group. We have the experience you deserve, and can handle the big insurance companies so you can focus on recovering. Contact us anytime 24/7 at 1-888-436-7539, or reach us via the web and fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ box. We work on a contingency fee basis and never collect money from you unless we help you collect a settlement. Contact us today to see if hiring an attorney would be beneficial to you and your situation.

Scammers Target Social Security Disability Applicants

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Text MessagingWhat You Need to Know

  1. Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr., Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, warns those who are applying for disability and those receiving benefits about a texting scam. The text requests applicants and beneficiaries “call a telephone number for information about their Social Security disability benefit claims.”
  1. The text message reads “Disability Alert: Please call 253-xxx-xxx regarding your recent disability benefits application.”
  1. The Inspector General, in a Fraud Advisory Press Release, said that Social Security will NEVER send you a text message about your application. He also said that, “Social Security representatives may call to follow up on a benefit application-but they will not send text messages-and they generally will not ask for personal identifiers or financial information.”
  1. This type of texting scam is just one way thieves attempt to obtain personal information. If you would like more information on identity theft, and other ways people attempt to get your information click here. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT for more information, or to report identity theft.
  1. If you receive a suspicious text message regarding your Social Security Application contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 from 10am to 4pm Easter Time, or online here.

ALICE Report Highlights Hoosier Struggles

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Many Hoosiers are pinching pennies to get by.

The United Ways of several states, including Indiana, have partnered to produce the ALICE report, and the numbers for Indiana are in. According to the United Way’s website, ALICE stands for asset limited, income constrained, employed, “and represents the population of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation.” The report, focusing on Indiana, was released Monday November 10th, and highlights the struggles Hoosiers face every day to make ends meet.

Do Federal Poverty Levels Need Updating?

The foundation of the report is the notion that the Federal Poverty Guidelines are out of date and inadequate. To quote the report, “Yet the Indiana poverty rate of 14 percent obscures the true magnitude of financial instability in the state. The official U.S. poverty rate, which was developed in 1965, has not been updated since 1974, and is not adjusted to reflect cost of living differences across the U.S.” To better measure the true number of struggling Hoosiers the report attempts to update the poverty guidelines which are currently $23,050 for a family, and $11,170 for a single adult. The United Way, based on the current cost of living in Indiana, created an annual Household Survival Budget and an annual Household Stability Budget. The Survival Budget is absolutely bare bones, and does not allow for any savings. For a family of four the annual Survival Budget is $46,495, and for a single adult it is $17,026. The annual Household Stability Budget is, “one that enables not just survival, but self-sufficiency.” For a family of four in Indiana the annual stability budget is $82,740, and for a single adult it is $22,836.

Many Hoosiers Make Less Than The Household Survival Budget

The number of Hoosiers making less than the annual Survival Budget is staggering. The report states that 922,342 households (37 percent) are below the ALICE threshold, or make less than the annual Survival Budget. How far from the Survival Budget are these households? According to the report, “ALICE and poverty-level households earn only 36 percent of the income needed to reach the ALICE Threshold for basic economic survival.” What’s most disturbing is that even when factoring in government, nonprofit, and health care resources these households, “remain 23 percent short of the income needed to reach the ALICE Threshold.” This means that after applying all of our current aid mechanisms households below the ALICE Threshold collectively fall $7.9 billion dollars short (23 percent) of reaching the ALICE Threshold.

Report Highlights Inequality in Indiana – Women Hurting

The ALICE report is full of interesting statistics about the State. One being, “Sixty-nine percent of all jobs in Indiana pay less than $20 per hour ($40,000 per year if full-time), and more than half (51 percent) pay less than $15 per hour ($30,000 per year if full-time). It goes on to state that in order to reduce the number of ALICE households, “a significant increase in the wages of current jobs or in the number of medium-and high-skilled jobs in both the public and private sectors in Indiana” is necessary. It also highlights income inequality in the State which, “increased by 17 percent from 1979 to 2012.” Currently, if you are in the top 20 percent of wage earners in the State you make 48 percent of all the income. The report notes that if five Hoosiers divided 100.00 based on the current distribution of income in the State then the first person would get 48.00, the second 24.00, the third 15.00, the fourth 9.00, and the last would get 4.00.

Other facts coming from the report expose the wage disparity between women and men in Indiana, which the report believes helps to explain why so many households headed by single women fall below the ALICE Threshold (54 percent). The report says, “Indiana has the sixth-lowest earnings ratio of any state in the country, with women earning just 73 percent of what men earn.” This disparity persists even among those who have achieved educational degrees. “In terms of education, men earn at least 40 percent more than women across all educational levels: the highest earnings gap is 59 percent for those with some college or an associate’s degree.”

Disabled Hoosiers Hit Hard

The ALICE report also highlights the struggles Hoosiers with disabilities face to get by. Disturbingly, “15 percent of people in Indiana have a lasting physical, mental, or emotional disability that impedes them from being independent or able to work.” Not only this, but for those who are working, they tend to make less. According to the report, those who are working with a disability make a median wage of $17,335 compared to the median wage of a non-disabled Hoosier which is $28,484. The report also notes that a household with a disabled member is twice as likely to be in poverty or below the ALICE Threshold.

Finally, from the years 2007 to 2012 the State saw a 39 percent increase in those receiving SSI benefits, a 12 percent increase in those receiving Social Security Income, and a 55 percent increase in those receiving Food Stamps. During this same time Indiana, “against the trend of most states,” saw a decrease in those receiving TANF or GA of 7 percent.

Get Assistance if You’re in Need

These numbers demonstrate the huge portion of Hoosiers struggling to get by. If you or someone you love is having trouble making ends meet, don’t feel like you are alone, or that it is your fault. There are programs that you can utilize to help you through difficult times. A Social Security Disability attorney at Hensley Legal Group can help you understand your options, and will work with you to ensure you get the help you need and deserve. Do you have questions about these programs? Call us today. We never charge for a consultation, and we work on a contingency fee basis which means you don’t pay us unless you get paid. Call today at 1-888-436-7539, or you can reach us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form, and someone from our office will contact you immediately to discuss your options.

Is Testosterone Contributing to Prostate Cancer?

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Testosterone PillsStudy Shows Testosterone is a Tumor Promoter in Rats

On September 23, an article was published in the Journal Endocrinology summarizing a study which concluded, “Testosterone was shown to be a weak complete carcinogen and a strong tumor promoter for the rat prostate in this study.” Martin C. Bosland of the Department of Pathology at the University of Illinois at Chicago carried out the study and is very concerned about the results.

F.D.A. Also Concerned about Testosterone

Earlier this month an F.D.A. advisory panel discussed the potential for testosterone to cause heart attacks. The panel was not able to confirm that testosterone was in fact causing heart attacks due to limitations of the studies that found such a link, but the evidence was strong enough that the panel ordered clinical trials to determine the safety of the drug. The panel also voted to restrict the marketing of testosterone therapy only to those suffering from a serious illness such as hypogonadism. Bosland’s study echoes the panels’ suggestions. “Until adequate human studies are available, it appears prudent to limit testosterone therapy to those men who suffer from symptomatic clinical hypogonadism.” While the F.D.A. panel was making this suggestion due to fears of a link between testosterone and heart attacks, Bosland fears there may also be a connection between testosterone and prostate cancer.

His study tested rats, which were given testosterone, to determine the number of them which developed prostate cancer. Some rats were given a known carcinogen, others were given testosterone, and others still were given both the carcinogen and testosterone. The results of the study showed that rats given only the known carcinogen did not develop prostate cancer, but the study found “prostate carcinomas in 10%-18%” of rats given testosterone only. When both the known carcinogen and testosterone were given to the rats, the incidence of prostate carcinomas was increased to anywhere from 57%-71% depending on the level of testosterone given. According to the article “The most striking and novel observation was the strong prostate cancer response to the lowest testosterone dose, which did not increase circulating testosterone.”

Due to the results of his study and other studies which have highlighted concerns about the safety of testosterone, Bosland suggests in the article that men “avoid testosterone use for nonmedical purposes.” He also believes both the medical community and the general population need to “consider the lowered circulating testosterone levels occurring in aging men a physiological phenomenon and not a disease that requires treatment.” Bosland’s study showed that testosterone can cause prostate cancer in rats but “If testosterone is also a carcinogen and tumor-promoter agent for the human prostate, testosterone therapy could result in increased risk of prostate cancer.” Because of this, Bosland says studies of men who have taken and are currently taking testosterone are “urgently needed.”

Suffered Injury Following Testosterone Treatment?

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from testosterone therapy, contact an experienced dangerous drug attorney at Hensley Legal Group. Our attorneys have experience with these cases and can get you the answers you need following your injury. We are also experienced in other types of dangerous drug and medical device cases. You can find out more on our dangerous drug and medical device webpage. You can reach us 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 317-222-3333, or contact us via web  and fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ box.

Big Bird Shuts Down Northern Indiana Highway

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Rhea Bird

Photo Courtesy of National Geographic

According to Yahoo News, a large flightless bird on the loose near Peru Indiana “forced the closing of a northern Indiana highway.” On Monday October 27th the large bird, known as a rhea, ran onto U.S. 24 about 80 miles north of Indianapolis, and caused trouble for travelers. National Geographic says the Rhea is the largest bird in South America, and is related to ostriches and emus. Apparently the bird escaped from a farm over the weekend after it jumped a fence and disappeared into a cornfield.

Owner Subdues “Jet” Like Bird

Authorities arrived to try and capture the bird, but State Police Officer Bob Burgess told the Kokomo Tribune “This thing would just all of a sudden take off like a jet.” He also said, “Everybody was a little bit skeptical about grabbing ahold of it because it could kick you and it had some pretty vicious talons.” An animal control officer arrived and shot the bird with a tranquilizer dart, but it didn’t appear to have much of an effect. Luckily the bird’s original owner showed up and according to Yahoo news “arrived at the scene and was able to tackle it.” He then loaded it into his truck and returned it to its new owner.

The highway was reopened shortly after the bird was taken away, but it doesn’t sound like 1st Sgt. Burgess will forget the incident anytime soon. “It was kind of a circus there for a little bit. This thing could run like nobody’s business.” Apparently the bird’s original owner is slightly faster than nobody’s business.

Distractions Are No Laughing Matter

Don’t let the humor of this story fool you. Things happen on our roadways every day that can result in catastrophe if drivers aren’t paying attention. Don’t let distractions get the best of you. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident as a result of someone else’s negligence call our northern Indiana office at 219-525-3906. The attorneys at Hensley Legal Group have the experience you deserve, and will help you understand your options following an accident. You can also reach us online by filling out the ‘Get Help Now’ box. Someone from our office will contact you immediately to discuss your situation.

North West Indiana Amtrak Train and Semi Accident

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Amtrak Accident

Photo Courtesy of abc7chicago.com

According to an article in the Northwest Indiana Times, 14 people were injured when an Amtrak train headed for Chicago collided with a semi-truck. The collision, which occurred in White County, happened at about 8:20a.m. Tuesday, October 28th. White County Sherriff Pat Shafer told The Associated Press that the people injured were taken to local hospitals, but that he wasn’t sure of the severity of the injuries. However, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said “No one aboard the Hoosier State line suffered serious or life-threatening injuries in the collision.” It appears that the 18-wheeler stopped in the path of the Amtrack train for unknown reasons. The train was unable to avoid the collision, and split the trailer in half. Apparently no one associated with the big rig was hurt, and of the 56 passengers aboard the Amtrak train only 14 complained of injuries.

Have You Been Injured in a Semi Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured following a semi accident call the experienced team of attorneys at Hensley Legal Group today. With an office located in Merrillville Indiana we are ready and able to serve the Northwest Indiana Region at a moment’s notice. Don’t let a lawyer who is unfamiliar with truck accidents mishandle your case. Call the truck accident attorneys at Hensley Legal Group at 219-525-3906. Or contact us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your case.