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How to Choose the Right Injury Lawyer

October 25, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtIf you or a loved one have been injured by another party, you may be considering filing a lawsuit for damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages from work. But filing a lawsuit can seem overwhelming when you are already dealing with recovery from injury or even the tragic loss of a loved one. That’s why a good first step is to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer. But how can you make sure you choose the right one?

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer

Finding names of experienced personal injury lawyers is similar to finding the name of a good doctor or real estate agent: you ask people you know or try to get references from a professional association. It’s a good idea to interview several lawyers before making a decision.

1. Talk to friends and family.

If you have a friend or family member who has used a personal injury lawyer, ask if they felt the service they received was good. Were they comfortable talking to the person? Were the explanations about their case clear and easy to understand? Was it easy to get in touch with the lawyer?

Also ask friends and family who have worked with another type of lawyer and been happy with the service, such as a divorce/family lawyer. Lawyers often work together, but have different specialties. A good lawyer in one speciality is very likely to know a good lawyer in another speciality.

2. Contact the local bar association.

Most bar associations maintain referral services, such as directories categorized by specialty area.

What to Ask During the Initial Consultation with an Injury Lawyer

Once you have several names of lawyers, you want to schedule an initial consultation about your case.

Most personal injury lawyers do not charge for the initial consultation, but be sure and ask whether there is a consultation fee before you make the appointment. Most reputable personal injury attorneys will offer a free case review and will work on contingency, meaning that they will charge you no fees unless they win your case.

It’s also a good idea to bring documentation about the case. This will help the lawyer answer your questions. If, for example, you have medical records about your injuries, police reports about the accident, or correspondence with an insurance company about claims, your lawyer can accurately identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and provide informed advice about next steps.

Next, you want to ask the lawyer about their experience.

Find out how many years they have been practicing personal injury law. Ask what percentage of their cases are personal injury-related. It’s also important to ask whether they specialize in injury law for the plaintiff (the person injured) or the defendant (the party accused of the injury).

You want a lawyer who is experienced, who handles a high percentage of personal injury cases, and who tries cases for the same type of client you are, whether plaintiff or defendant.

Once you have a good sense of these issues, discuss your goals and strategies. Are you seeking a larger settlement than what the insurance company offered? If the insurance company doesn’t meet your number, are you willing to go to trial? Will expert witnesses be required to help make a strong case about your injuries before a jury? Clients and their lawyers should discuss these and other issues be on the same page as to how to proceed forward.

Call Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer Bart Bernard Today

If you’re looking for a seasoned Louisiana personal injury attorney, look no further than the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. For our clients’ convenience, we have offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

Our initial consultation on your case is free and comes with no obligation. Call or contact Bart Bernard online today. Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™!

Additional Resources:

  1. Louisiana State Courts,
  2. Justia, Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 2323 — Comparative fault,

How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?

September 21, 2018 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Wooden gavel laying on American dollars

Truck accidents can be among the most serious types of motor vehicle accidents, causing thousands of severe injuries and deaths every year. If you’ve been harmed by a commercial truck driver, you have the right to seek legal advocacy services to maximize your chances of securing compensation. One of the first questions you may have for your attorney is, “How much is my case worth?”

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. Every case involves unique factors and damages. Before your truck accident attorney can do a thorough assessment of the compensation you could receive, he’ll need access to all of the relevant records, including your medical records.

Types of compensation for truck accident cases

You may hear your attorney refer to “compensatory damages,” “pain and suffering damages,” or “punitive damages.” These are all types of compensation that may be available to you in a truck accident case. Some damages are called economic compensatory damages. These are easy to calculate, since they are losses that already have a fixed monetary value. They include:

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses: These damages pay for all of your accident-related medical costs, including hospitalization, surgery, pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, and durable medical equipment.
  • Lost wages: You can receive compensation for the wages you lost because you couldn’t work while recovering from your injuries.
  • Loss of earning capacity: If you’re disabled and unable to work, you can receive compensation for the money you would have expected to earn.
  • Property loss: You can receive compensation for the damage or total loss of your vehicle, as well as personal possessions inside the vehicle.

Other types of damages stemming from a truck accident case are non-economic in nature. That is, they don’t have a set monetary value assigned to them. Non-economic damages include:

  • Past, present, and future pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Punitive damages are different. They are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior.

Calculating the value of your truck accident case

It can be tricky to calculate the value of non-economic damages like pain and suffering. When deciding how much to seek in a lawsuit, the personal injury lawyer may consider the extent to which the accident and its resultant injuries affect your daily activities and quality of life. An attorney can consider the following factors:

  • Has the accident resulted in permanent disability?
  • Has the accident resulted in psychological injuries?
  • Will you require ongoing medical treatment or additional surgeries?
  • Have you been permanently scarred or disfigured?
  • How has the accident affected your family?
  • Have you been unable to care for your children?
  • Are you experiencing severe or chronic pain?

The more severe the consequences of the accident are, the higher the compensatory damages.

Seek damages for your truck accident case in Louisiana

A serious truck accident can turn your life upside down. But you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Louisiana truck accident attorney Bart Bernard is known for effective legal advocacy services that can help you maximize your chances of securing compensation for your losses. Bart Bernard is accepting new clients in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and throughout Louisiana. Call today to request your complimentary case consultation.

Additional resources about truck accident cases

  1. Center for Justice and Democracy, Fact Sheet: Understanding Non-Economic Damages,
  2. American Bar Association, Personal Injury,

How Much Is My Car Accident Worth?

September 7, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Wooden gavel laying on American dollarsA successful car accident lawsuit will establish the other driver’s fault and prove the extent of the plaintiff’s injury and loss. The Law Office of Bart Bernard can determine liability through police reports, traffic cams, witness statements, depositions, and other investigations. Most people sue once their treatment is completed, medical bills are available, and property damage estimate is complete. The State of Louisiana gives personal injury claimants up to ONE year after the date of the injury to file. A free case evaluation with a Louisiana car accident attorney can get the ball rolling.

What Compensation Is Available For Car Accident Lawsuits?

If you or a loved one were injured in a Louisiana car accident, you can collect compensation for:

  • Past, present, and future medical bills
  • Lost wages from time off work and loss of future earning capacity
  • Disability-related home modifications or assistive devices (if necessary)
  • Pain and suffering (calculated by the addition of medical bills + lost wages x a factor of 1-10 for injury severity)
  • Emotional distress (if you can prove anxiety, fear, PTSD, insomnia, or other effects)
  • Loss of consortium (if your disability hindered spousal relations)
  • Loss of enjoyment in life (if you can no longer participate in a passion or hobby)
  • Loss of companionship and burial/funeral expenses (in wrongful death cases)

Factors That Increase Car Accident Settlements

Typically, we see higher settlement or award offers when:

  • The injuries are considered “severe” like broken bones, traumatic brain injury, or spine damage.
  • The plaintiff required surgery or a hospital stay for acute treatment.
  • The vehicle was seriously damaged in the accident, indicating more severe injury.
  • A disability will reduce the amount of future income earned.
  • The plaintiff can prove anxiety, fear, loss of sleep, or PTSD with the help of a therapist.
  • The injuries affect physical consortium with a spouse, inability to enjoy hobbies, or day-to-day enjoyment of life.

Factors That Decrease Car Accident Settlements

The State of Louisiana operates by the law of “pure comparative negligence.” Generously, the state lets you collect damages even if you are deemed more than 50% responsible for the injury. However, if you are deemed at fault, you can expect the total amount of your settlement offer or jury award reduced. For instance, a $100,000 award may be reduced to $25,000 if you are 75% at fault for the accident.

Car Accident Case Results

The past is no guarantee, but Bart Bernard has had some impressive victories recently:

  • $4.2 million jury award
  • $1.75 million jury award
  • $1.5 million jury award
  • $1.5 million jury award
  • $1.3 million jury award

For more than 20 years, Bart Bernard has served Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Arcadiana as an award-winning car accident attorney who won’t back down from a challenge. As a member of Elite Lawyers of America and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Bart Bernard is no stranger to large settlements and wins in court. He also has a big heart and gives back to local charities like Miles Perret Cancer Services, the Opelousas Lighthouse Mission, and the Lafayette Catholic Services Center’s New Life Center. Contact a Louisiana office to set up a free consultation today.

Additional resources:

  1., Accident Guide in Louisiana,
  2. Louisiana State Police, Crash Reports,

How Much Is My Maritime Accident Worth?

September 4, 2018 Maritime 0 Comments

Wooden gavel laying on American dollarsSuing is one of your options in the aftermath of a serious boating accident, but is it always a good idea? Here at the Law Office of Bart Bernard, we can discuss this with you during a free case evaluation. Generally, we tell people it’s worth pursuing a settlement or jury award if you have suffered a serious injury (like a “hard” broken bone injury), a permanently disfiguring injury (like burns from a fire), or a disabling injury (like perforation of an internal organ, spinal cord damage, or TBI). While a particular outcome cannot be guaranteed, we get paid on contingency, so we only take cases we are confident we can win. Here we will discuss some of the factors that go into valuing the worth of your maritime accident case.

How is the value of my case determined?

Calculating damages, otherwise known as monetary compensation, is a difficult task. The first step is to work with healthcare professionals who can assess and treat your injuries. Medical professionals are our biggest ally in estimating the cost of ongoing medical care needs and expenses. In the preparation of your case, we’ll show how the maritime accident injured you and cost you a great deal of money. There are other less tangible considerations as well.

What are tangible expenses in a maritime injury case?

Eligible compensation for personal injury cases like maritime accidents typically include tangible expenses:

  • Past, present, and estimated future medical bills
  • Lost past and present income, and loss of earning capacity related to disability
  • Assistive devices and home modifications to accommodate disability

These totals can be easily gathered from your insurance company, healthcare provider, and employer, as well as receipts you have saved from disability-related purchases.

What are intangible expenses in a maritime injury case?

You can also recover compensation for intangible expenses like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of hobbies and interests due to disability.

What compensation can surviving family members receive in a maritime accident case?

Additional benefits may apply for family members, particularly if you have lost a loved one in a maritime accident:

  • Loss of consortium for spouses
  • Loss of companionship for spouses and children
  • Loss of income for dependents
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses.

How is pain and suffering calculated in maritime accidents?

Generally speaking, attorneys and insurance companies may use one of two methods to calculate “pain and suffering” value.

  • They may multiply your actual damages (medical bills and lost wages) by a multiplier between 1 and 5, depending on the severity and permanence of the injury. So if you suffered a broken bone that incurred $3,000 in medical bills, it may be multiplied by three to calculate $9,000 for pain and suffering.
  • Another method of calculating pain and suffering involves a “per diem” approach that assigns a certain amount (say $100) for every day from the date of the accident to the plaintiff reaches maximum recovery.

How are punitive damages calculated for maritime accidents?

Punitive damages are rare in a personal injury case, but they may be applied when the other party involved was intentionally negligent or malicious. Often, these punitive damages are what brings the total amount of a maritime accident settlement up into the millions of dollars.

There are no hard, fast rules on how punitive damages are calculated, but we commonly see that it’s double or triple the compensatory damages awarded. So, for instance, if you receive $10,000 in damages, the Defendant may be ordered to pay $20,000 to $30,000 in punitive damages.

In the State of Louisiana, punitive damages cannot exceed the compensatory damages awarded to the Plaintiff by a factor of 10. So if you were awarded $10,000, the maximum punitive damages is $100,000.

A Noteworthy Maritime Settlement

In the landmark case of Ron Warren vs. Teleflex, a jury in Louisiana awarded $23 million in punitive damages to a man whose son was killed in a Prien Lake boating accident. The jury found Teleflex negligent in the design and safety testing of their boat steering system, with 15 years of internal testing showing the problems that could arise with a hydraulic fluid leak. Bart Bernard served as the plaintiff’s counsel in this case.

Contact A Maritime Accident Attorney

Contact Louisiana maritime accident attorney Bart Bernard for the highest level of legal representation. His experience in offshore oil rig and boating accident law will help you obtain the maximum recovery for your injuries.

Additional Resources on Valuing Maritime Accident Cases:

  1. EHow – How insurance companies calculate pain and suffering,
  2. Propeller Safety, $23 million Circle of Death propeller accident verdict upheld,

First Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Results in $289 Million Verdict

August 16, 2018 News 0 Comments

justice engraved on a courthouseFor decades, Monsanto has denied a link between cancer and the glyphosate in their commercial weed killer, Roundup. However, on August 10th, 2018, a U.S. federal court jury in California delivered a $289 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The final decision included $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages.

Dewayne Johnson, mixed and sprayed hundreds of gallons of Roundup during his time as a school groundskeeper in Benicia, California. On several occasions, there were accidents that soaked him from head to toe in Roundup. He was subsequently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. Lesions cover 80 percent of his body, and on bad days, he can hardly speak. In July 2017, after years of chemotherapy and other treatments, Johnson was told he had just six months to live. His wife works two 40-hour-a-week jobs to support their two sons.

Doctors didn’t think the terminally ill 46-year-old would live to see the verdict, but he was there for the three days of deliberation. He told reporters he couldn’t stop crying after the verdict was announced, stating he was “so relieved that the truth came out in this trial.”

Johnson’s attorney brought in expert witnesses and alleged the company knew of product dangers as far back as the 1970s, but maintained a “deliberate effort to distort the truth” to reap hefty profits. Jurors agreed that the company knew or should have known of health hazards associated with Roundup, and concluded Mosanto should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard.

Despite Loss in Court, Monsanto Denies Liability

The defense counsel argued that Johnson’s type of cancer takes many years to form, rather than the two years between his first exposure in 2012 and his diagnosis in 2014. “We don’t know why people get mycosis fungoides,” said Monsanto lawyer George Lombardi. “It would be nice if we could tell people why they get it, but we can’t,” he added.

Monsanto Vice President Scott Patridge immediately released this statement following the verdict:

“We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family. Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews – and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world – support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer.”

He announced that the company will appeal this decision and will continue to vigorously defend the product. As CNN reports, the appeal won’t come cheap to Bayer, who recently acquired Monsanto. It will cost about $25 million in interest on the damages while the case is being appealed.

Monsanto Verdict “Opens Up The Floodgates” For Thousands of Lawsuits

Johnson’s lawsuit was the first of its kind to reach trial. Fox News reports that the verdict is likely to “open up the floodgates” for thousands of similar lawsuits. They report there are about 4,000 claims filed in various state courts across the country. One advantage of filing in state court, as Johnson did, is that outcomes can sometimes be expedited, particularly if the patient is dying.

Additionally, as of August 2018, 470 pending lawsuits were consolidated under MDL 2741, before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California. These cases have been streamlined for efficiency on the basis of having similar claims for injury, but will be heard individually based on their own merits – as opposed to a class action lawsuit, which would feasibly result in the same settlement for each party included.

Louisiana product liability lawyer Bart Bernard is currently accepting injury claims from individuals and their families who believe there is a link between Roundup use and cancer. Like California, Louisiana allows for expedited trials for plaintiffs who are terminally ill. Contact us for a free case evaluation and to explore your legal options.

Additional Monsanto Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Resources:

  1. CBS News – Bayer Shares Slump After $289 Million Monsanto Roundup Verdict,
  2. US District Court – District Judge Vince Chhabria,
  3. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation – MDL Statistis Report,
  4. Monsanto – Statement from Scott Patridge,
  5. Fortune – Monsanto Has to Pay $289 Million in Damages in First Roundup Cancer Trial,
  6. Fox Business – $289 M Cancer Verdict Opens Up Floodgates For Thousands of Other Lawsuits,
  7. CNN – Monsanto Johnson Trial Verdict,

Bayer Halts Sales of Essure Birth Control Implant Linked to Injuries

July 31, 2018 News 0 Comments

woman facing bankruptcyCiting a decrease in sales, Bayer announced it would stop selling its Essure birth control implant in the United States. The German pharmaceutical giant billed the implant as an effective non-surgical sterilization method for women, but thousands have blamed the device for horrific complications including organ perforations, autoimmune problems and chronic pain.

Over the past several years, Bayer has been slapped with thousands of product liability lawsuits, claiming it misrepresented the safety of the Essure device and downplayed the risks. Bayer had already pulled the birth control implant off shelves in Europe, the U.K. and Canada as demand fell and complaints escalated.

Public health advocates have questioned Essure’s safety for years. Today, an estimated 16,000 American women are suing Bayer over Essure birth control complications and injuries.

FDA orders Black Box warning on Essure label

The Essure contraceptive device was approved by the FDA in 2002. Comprised of two micro-thin metal coils, the implant is placed inside the fallopian tubes, where it triggers scar tissue formation that blocks sperm from reaching the ovaries. Bayer promoted Essure as a safe non-invasive alternative to tubal ligation, but soon after hitting the marketplace, complaints of troublesome side effects began to pour in.

Spurred by mounting reports of serious injuries and adverse events related to the Essure implant, the FDA ordered Bayer to add a “Black Box” on its product label and also ordered Bayer to provide a checklist to doctors of potential risks that must be discussed with patients prior to implantation.

Since its launch in 2002, more than 750,000 women have been implanted with Bayer’s Essure device. But according to the FDA, demand dropped significantly after the Black Box warning was instated.

Diana Zuckerman, President of a nonprofit think tank focused on health research told ABC News “The FDA should have required a moratorium on sales and requested that new data be submitted in a much more timely fashion.” Her sentiments are not unique. Patient-driven rallies concerning Essure injuries and risks have been organized around the country.

In April of this year, the FDA said it would hold Bayer accountable for assuring that potential patients were being informed about the implant’s risks.

Reports of complications linked to Essure

One of the primary complaints in litigation against Bayer is that Essure can migrate inside the body, moving from the fallopian tubes to the uterus, where it can cause lasting damage. One woman, Angie Firmalino, experienced Essure migration and had the implant removed. She says the device ravaged her reproductive system and left behind toxic metal particles. Like many others, she suffered from constant bleeding, pain and other debilitating symptoms.

Other side effects cited in Essure lawsuits:

  • Uterine perforation
  • Device migration
  • Persistent bleeding
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Infection
  • Pelvic pain
  • Hair loss
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Bowel and bladder injury

Do you have a claim for damages?

Medical device injury attorney Bart Bernard offers skilled representation to women who have suffered complications or injuries from the Essure birth control implant. To learn more about your rights to compensation, call our offices toll-free at 1-888-GET-BART.

Additional Resources:

  1. Washington Post, Sales of Essure birth control implant to be halted by Bayer; U.S. last to sell controversial device
  2. NY Times, Bayer Will Stop Selling the Troubled Essure Birth Control Implants

$4.7 Billion Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson for Carcinogenic Talcum Powder

July 20, 2018 Talcum Powder Litigation 0 Comments

baby powder talcumA Missouri jury recently awarded $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women who claimed that they had developed ovarian cancer as a result of their using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder. Those women represent a small fraction of the more than 4,800 women who have brought similar lawsuits against this company.

The attorneys at the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana applaud this verdict for the clear message it sends to corporations that place potentially hazardous products into the marketplace and that fail to warn consumers about the risks associated with their products.

Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson is one of the country’s oldest purveyors of talcum powder. Since the early 1970’s, the company has removed all traces of asbestos from its products. As claimed in the many lawsuits against the company, however, the other components of its talcum powder product continue to pose risks when they are absorbed into a woman’s reproductive system, which can cause ovarian inflammation that leads to cancer.

Virtually every woman who has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson has suffered from aggressive forms of ovarian cancer, requiring them to undergo painful surgeries and courses of chemotherapy. Many of the cases have been consolidated at a Federal District Court in New Jersey under multidistrict litigation procedural rules, and new cases filed in Federal Court will be transferred to that venue.

Talcum Powder Cancer Verdicts

Apart from the Federal Court cases, a jury in a Missouri state court awarded the recent $4.7 billion verdict. That jury allocated $25 million in actual damages to each of the 22 plaintiffs in that case to compensate them for their medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. Six of those plaintiffs had passed away as a result of their illness prior to the trial, and their claims were supported by survivors in their families. Johnson & Johnson has stated that it intends to appeal this verdict.

Plaintiffs have similarly prevailed in at least six other talcum powder cancer cases against Johnson & Johnson, with different amounts of compensatory and punitive awards.

These verdicts, the consolidation of the Federal cases into a single venue, and the company’s response to this litigation suggest two things:

  1. The victories achieved thus far by plaintiffs in these cases show the validity of the argument that a causal connection exists between Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder product and ovarian cancer (which argument is supported by certain peer-reviewed studies).
  2. In spite of this conclusion, Johnson & Johnson will continue to challenge claims and verdicts, presumably until such time that a universal settlement is achieved to provide compensation for all women who were harmed by the company’s talcum powder product.

What to Do if You Believe That Johnson & Johnson’s Talcum Powder Harmed You

If you regularly used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder and you have been recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer or any precursors to ovarian cancer, such as endometriosis, contact an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to start the process of filing your claim. All states have time limits (typically between two and three years following diagnosis of an illness) for filing negligence actions under their statutes of limitations procedures. If you do not file your claim with the allotted time, you will lose all opportunity to recover damages from the company that is responsible for your illness.

Attorney Bart Bernard Will Fight to Win the Compensation You Deserve if Talcum Powder Caused Your Ovarian Cancer

Please call talcum powder cancer lawyer Bart Bernard for legal representation and to claim the compensation you deserve if you or one of your family members have suffered an ovarian cancer diagnosis following their use of talcum powder. The attorneys at the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers have committed to help clients and their families in Lafayette, Kenner, Baton Rouge, and elsewhere in Louisiana to recover damages from companies that expose consumers to harmful products and that lead to severe illnesses, injuries, and death. We will thoroughly investigate your claim and your family’s history and we will gather all necessary evidence that shows how your use of a carcinogenic product preceded your diagnosis, particularly where no warnings were given regarding the risks of using that product.

Additional Resources:

  1. Risk on All Sides as 4,800 Women Sue Over Johnson’s Baby Powder and Cancer.
  2. How Did Jury Arrive At $4.69 Billion Verdict in Talcum Powder Case?