Posts by Ava Lawson

How Truck Accident and Car Accident Claims Differ

March 19, 2019 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Truck on freeway

Injury claims involving common passenger vehicles are handled much differently than those involving large trucks such as 18-wheelers and semis. From understanding laws governing drivers and their responsibilities, to producing the necessary documentation to pursue compensation, there is much to be gained by retaining an experienced truck accident lawyer.

Trucking accident cases are often more complex and bound by stricter time constraints compared to motorcycle or vehicle crashes. Although tractor trailers and other commercial trucks are responsible for a small portion of Louisiana’s traffic accidents, their sheer size increases the likelihood of catastrophic and even fatal injury. Beyond the severity of injuries and property damage, here are a few other ways that truck accident claims are different.

Liability issues

Commercial vehicle drivers and trucking companies must adhere to regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pertaining to driver training, shift limits, inspections, maintenance and proper loading of cargo. If you are in an accident with a large truck, liability is not always cut and dry. If evidence shows that FMCSA regulations were ignored, the driver did not possess the correct license or training, or the truck wasn’t roadworthy, the trucking company and other entities may face legal responsibility for the ensuing damages.

In-depth investigations needed

A significant amount of evidence is needed to prove whether the truck driver or the employing company was compliant with industry standards and regulations, or whether negligence was a factor. A skilled attorney will investigate all sources of information, including but not limited to:

  • The truck’s onboard communications systems
  • Driver’s logbook
  • Maintenance history and records
  • Records of routine inspections and repairs
  • Driver’s training file and licensing
  • Dispatch instructions and bills of lading

Larger insurance policies

The legal weight for the average tractor trailer is 80,000 pounds. By comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs just 4,000 pounds.  When the two collide, permanent, debilitating injuries are not uncommon, and medical expenses can climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Trucking companies realize and attempt to mitigate this risk by carrying massive liability insurance policies. As a result, truck accident lawsuits typically net higher compensation awards, particularly if the victim requires months of hospitalization and medical treatment.

Trucking companies will assign senior insurance adjusters to the case, who are trained to reduce liability, regardless of who is actually to blame. 

Increased chance of fatality

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, some 4,000 Americans die in trucking accidents every year. Over the last 8 years, the number of people who died in large truck accidents has risen 30 percent. The grim reality is that a collision with an 18-wheeler is more likely to result in death compared to a crash involving two cars. The sudden loss of a loved one is horrific enough without taking on the financial hardships that can accompany this loss.

Speak to a Lafayette truck accident attorney

If you or someone you love needs assistance filing a truck accident claim in Louisiana, you need a lawyer you can count on. Attorney Bart Bernard understands the intricacies of trucking accident cases and can improve your chances of securing justice and fair compensation.

Reach out for a free case evaluation today and Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™.

Additional Resources:

  1. Truckers Report, Facts About Trucks – Everything You Want To Know About Eighteen Wheelers
  2. Insurance Institute for Highways Safety, Large Trucks 2017

Neurological Injuries and Car Accidents: What You Need to Know

March 7, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Doctor analyzing human skull x-ray screening image in hospital office during medical exam

Neurological injury is often labeled an invisible disability. In many situations, people show no outward symptoms that something is amiss. Vehicle accidents remain one of the leading causes of head and traumatic brain injury, which can affect the entire central nervous system, causing a host of problems. The type and severity of neurological issues can vary tremendously from one person to the next, and only a thorough medical evaluation can diagnose the problem.

Whether you’re involved in a head-on crash or a minor fender bender, it’s important to have a comprehensive physical examination and diagnostic tests. Anytime the brain is jarred violently inside the skull, it can tear tissues and rupture blood vessels causing deep bruising (known as a brain contusion), swelling and internal bleeding.

It is possible to experience neurological damage after a car crash and be completely unaware of the injury. Loved ones may notice subtle changes in your behavior or moods at first that can be indicative of more serious neurological issues.

Early signs of a neurological injury

If your primary care physician suspects any type of trauma to the brain or sensory nerves, you may be referred to a neurologist who specializes in disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system.

Inform your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after a vehicle accident or blow to the head:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Migraines
  • Nausea
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Weakness or tingling in the extremities
  • Emotional changes
  • Irritability
  • Slow response times

With prompt diagnosis and swift treatment, your doctor may be able to prevent permanent physical or cognitive impairments associated with concussions or nerve damage. Nerve injuries can ultimately contribute to problems with motor control, balance, and cause numbness or weakness in the extremities.

Radiculopathy tests and treatment

Electromyograms, CT scans, X-rays, MRIs and other tests can identify if nerves in the root of the spinal column are pinched or compressed – a condition known as radiculopathy. Nonsurgical treatment may consist of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, steroid injections and physical therapy. If these measures do not work, some people may need surgical intervention to widen the space in the spinal column where the nerves exit, relieving pressure.

Early detection and treatment of neurological issues may help reduce likelihood of future problems, which is why it’s essential to seek medical treatment and pay extra attention to your health after any type of motor vehicle accident.

Skilled auto accident attorney in Louisiana

If you were involved in a car accident and need expert legal representation, you can count on the personal injury Bart Bernard Personal Injury Lawyers. The effects of brain injury or neurological damage can take many months to resolve, and place extreme financial burdens on your family.  If the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver or party, you have the right to seek monetary damages. Call our Lafayette offices to arrange a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer Louisiana residents trust. Get it Done Right™.  Call Bart Bernard today!

Additional Resources:

  1. Columbia Neurology, Head Injury
  2. The Many Effects of Brain Injury
  3. Mayo Clinic, Traumatic Brain Injury

Can the Insurance Company Force You to Total Your Car?

January 10, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Car That Has Been In A Front End Collision.You were in a car accident and your vehicle suffered significant damage – now what? Do you take it to the body shop for repairs or consider buying a new car?

In most accident situations, this decision is left up to your insurance provider. If the vehicle damage is extensive, the insurance company may “total” your vehicle. In layman’s terms, this means the cost of repairs are more than the value of the vehicle. In cases like these, the insurance adjustor will write it off as a total loss.

How do insurers calculate total loss?

For example, let’s say you wrecked a 15-year-old Honda Accord. Your insurance company may decide the car is a total loss, even if it is still technically functional, because the car’s value is already so low, and the cost of repairs would be expensive.

In the state of Louisiana, a truck or automobile that has suffered damages equivalent to 75% or more of the current market value is declared a “total loss.” This market value is established by the most recent edition of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Handbook.

If the insurer declares your car totaled, it should pay you the vehicle’s cash value, less your deductible. In most cases, the car is then taken to a salvage yard where it will be sold for parts.

It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to look to other valuation sources when placing a monetary figure on a total loss claim. For this reason, it’s important to know what your car is worth according to the NADA handbook and speak to a reputable car accident attorney about your claim.

What to do when insurance totals your car

Insurance companies seemingly hold the power in these situations, but you are able to dispute a total loss claim if you feel the adjustor has undervalued the worth of your vehicle. It is possible to negotiate a total loss settlement with the aid of an experienced lawyer. If you have valid reason to question the settlement that is proposed, your policy may allow you to hire an independent appraiser who can provide a second opinion.

If you and the insurer fail to agree on the assessment of the vehicle, that doesn’t necessarily mean a lawsuit, but it may entail more aggressive negotiations or arbitration.

In addition, Louisiana places time limits on paying out total loss claims. If the insurance company fails to pay the agreed upon settlement within 30 calendar days, they may face attorney’s fees and penalties.

How a car accident lawyer can help

Securing a fair settlement for your car accident claim in Louisiana is not without its challenges. In accidents involving significant damage or personal injury, it pays to retain a skilled car accident attorney who can ensure your rights are fully protected. If your insurance totaled your car and you feel taken advantage of, reach out to the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers today.

Representing clients throughout Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Acadiana, Baton Rouge car accident lawyer Bart Bernard stands ready to help you fight for the money you deserve.  Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™ — call today to arrange a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Auto Trader, Crash Course for Coping With a Totaled Car
  2. The Balance, What to Do After a Total Loss Auto Accident?

How to Stay Safe on the Roads on New Year’s Eve

December 27, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Blue flasher on the police car at night.The holiday season is cause for celebration, and New Year’s Eve festivities are right around the corner. No matter how you plan on ringing in the New Year, one thing remains certain – December 31st is one of the most dangerous nights to be on the road (for motorists and pedestrians alike). Whether you’re driving to a friend’s party or hitting your favorite club, motorists can expect to see an increased presence of police check points thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Drive Sober campaign.

It goes without saying that you should never drink and drive or operate a vehicle while impaired. Even if you have a designated driver or take taxis, you’re likely to come across impaired revelers behind the wheel this New Year’s Eve. According to the NHTSA, drunk driving accidents claimed almost 11,000 lives last year in the U.S., and December is one of the deadliest months of all.  Some 885 people lost their lives in crashes involving a drunk driver last December.

Tips for road safety this holiday season

So how can you stay safe on the roads this New Year’s Eve? The NHTSA offers these practical tips.

  • Designate a sober driver – One of the best ways to enjoy the evening’s celebrations is by asking a friend or family member – or a companion who is not drinking – to drive you back home safely. With a sober, alert driver at the wheel, there are fewer chances of being hurt in an alcohol-related accident
  • Always buckle up – Using a seat belt is one of the best defenses to keeping you safe in the event of an accident with an impaired driver.
  • Use public transportation – Trains, taxis and buses are an excellent option for getting around town safely. If public transport isn’t available, consider using a ride hailing service instead.
  • Download the SaferRide mobile app — Before heading out for the night, you can download a free SaferRide app, provided by the NHTSA. The app is available on Android and Apple smart phones and lets you share your location and arrange a sober driver to pick you up.
  • Stay distraction free – Alcohol and drugs aren’t the only concern on New Year’s Eve. Stay alert for distracted drivers and call 911 if you see a motorist who driving erratically or seems impaired.
  • Prepare to stay overnight – If you indulged in one too many drinks, it’s better to stay off the roads completely. This could mean getting a hotel room or staying at a friends’ house. The app Hotel Tonight (available on iOS and Android) finds cheap, last-minute deals on nearby hotels and lets you book them on the spot.

Even if you refrain from drinking, that doesn’t mean the streets are safe. If at all possible, try and avoid being on the roads after 9 PM, and if you must be, plan well in advance.

Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™

On behalf of the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, we hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve with friends, loved ones and family.  By taking a few precautions, you can help ensure your celebrations aren’t marred by tragedy.  In the event of an accident, it’s important to take swift action to protect your legal rights.

For years, Louisiana residents have relied on the dedication and results offered by car accident lawyer Bart Bernard. To arrange a free case evaluation, call us today.

Our injury attorneys represent victims in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Acadiana and all Louisiana.

Additional Resources:

  1. NHTSA, NHTSA Reminds Motorists to Drive Sober this Holiday Season
  2. Northwestern Medicine, 5 Tips for New Year’s Eve Safety

Bart Bernard Named One of Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Louisiana

November 20, 2018 News 0 Comments

National Trial LawyersBart Bernard was selected for membership in The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers for Louisiana 2018 – a prestigious accolade bestowed on the nation’s most accomplished courtroom advocates.

This honor is extended to a select group of civil attorneys who exemplify superior qualifications, leadership skills and outstanding results as a trial lawyer – distinguished achievements that many attorneys are incapable of claiming.

Bart Bernard – Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Louisiana

Membership in this premier organization is by invitation only and limited to the top 100 trial attorneys who have demonstrated excellence in their respective state or region. Bart Bernard, a respected Lafayette personal injury lawyer, is proud to join the ranks of this elite group of trial attorneys and considers it a privilege to provide effective, results-driven advocacy.

Attorney Bart Bernard was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Louisiana and his J.D. from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center, he clerked for U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gerald H. Schiff and then joined the legal department at the New Orleans branch of Harrod’s Casino. In 1997, he founded the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers in Lafayette, advocating for clients injured in motor vehicle accidents, offshore and maritime accidents and cases involving industrial workplace injuries.

With millions of dollars in jury verdicts secured for his clients, Bart Bernard has the skills and expertise to be successful in the courtroom. His numerous trial wins have earned him inclusion in the Elite Lawyers of America as well as the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

About the National Trial Lawyers

The National Trial Lawyers is a professional organization that provides accreditation to distinguished lawyers based on a rigorous, multi-phase selection process. The criteria used to evaluate prospective members includes:

  • Year’s verdicts and settlements as a trial attorney
  • Outstanding reputation among peers, the public and the judiciary
  • Leadership skills and inclusion in other trial lawyer associations
  • Peer nominations from top trial lawyers, and current members of The National Trial Lawyers
  • Consistently high ratings and rankings by established legal organizations

Bart’s passion for helping people, especially those in the local communities of Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, is the driving force in his illustrious career.

To schedule a private consultation with Louisiana personal injury lawyer Bart Bernard, please call today. Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™.

5 Facts about Roundup Cancer Litigation

October 5, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

roundup sprayThe weed-killing chemical marketed as Roundup is at the heart of growing litigation concerning allegations that it causes cancer. Claimants around the country argue that manufacturer Monsanto failed to adequately warn about the carcinogenic risks associated with glyphosate – the key ingredient in the popular herbicide.

Just last month Monsanto was hit with a $289 million verdict in one of the first Roundup cancer lawsuits to go to trial. The plaintiff, a former school groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after years of using the weed killer, prevailed in a California trial after just three days of deliberations. The trial marks a significant victory for other plaintiffs with similar allegations against Monsanto, who await their day in court.

This lawsuit is just the first phase in what will likely be a massive legal battle over glyphosate and its current product labeling and approved uses in the United States.

Here are five important facts about Roundup cancer litigation.

More than 4,000 complaints are pending

Johnson’s case is joined by more than 4,000 other Roundup claims alleging the product causes cancer. Many of these suits are pending in states like Missouri, Montana, Delaware, Arizona and Nebraska. Hundreds more have been consolidated in San Francisco Superior Court before Judge Vince Chhabria.

CA verdict bodes well for future Roundup cases

Jurors awarded Johnson, who was not expected to live through the end of trial, $39 million for compensatory damages and another $250 million to punish Monsanto for willfully failing to warn of Roundup’s risks. While Monsanto is appealing the judgement, this verdict sent a powerful message to the agrochemical giant.

Juries are not asked to determine if Roundup causes cancer

Jurors are not tasked with determining if glyphosate exposure causes cancer. They are instead asked to determine if Monsanto had scientific knowledge of the product’s risks and if they failed to caution consumers about these dangers.

The next Roundup trial is scheduled for late October

The next Roundup trial is slated for later this month and will take place in Missouri state court. By that time, the Monsanto brand will be retired from the markets. Bayer acquired Monsanto this summer for a reported $60 billion and will be assuming all liability in Roundup cases moving forward.

Glyphosate health risks

For decades, Roundup has been used to kill weeds on major agricultural crops, lawns, golf courses and private gardens across the globe. Some studies have shown that glyphosate-based products have been tied to cancers such as hairy cell leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. As ongoing research uncovers more information about the level of glyphosate exposure needed and who is most at risk, there remains substantial concern that the weed-killer is not as safe as Monsanto would have the public believe.

Protect your rights – call Bart Bernard today

If you or a family member developed cancer after using Roundup weed-killer, it’s important to know your rights. You may be eligible for legal compensation to account for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™! Don’t take chances with just any Louisiana personal injury attorney. Call today to see if you are eligible to file a Roundup cancer lawsuit. Bart Bernard is not intimidated by complex injury claims against corporate defendants and will fight to win maximum compensation. Schedule your free case review by calling 888-GET-BART today.

Additional Resources on Roundup Cancer Lawsuits:

  1. Fox News, Can using weed killer give you cancer?
  2. Business Insider, A common weed-killer chemical is at the heart of a $289 million cancer lawsuit
  3. CBS News, Weed-killing chemical linked to cancer found in some children’s breakfast foods
  4. Fortune, Monsanto Has to Pay $289 Million in Damages in First Roundup Cancer Trial

5 Talcum Powder Alternatives for Personal Hygiene

May 8, 2018 Talcum Powder Litigation 0 Comments

baby powder talcumIn light of the growing litigation against Johnson & Johnson, more women are becoming aware of the connection between using talcum powder for personal hygiene and the increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Manufacturers continue to maintain that their talc-containing products – such as Shower to Shower and J&J’s iconic Baby Powder — are perfectly safe for their intended purpose, but several juries have ruled that consumers were not properly warned about potential health risks, particularly when the powder is applied near the genital area.

With summer just around the corner and temperatures warming up in the South, now is a great time to consider talc-free alternatives to keep the skin soft and dry.

Here are five safe substitutes for talcum powder that help absorb moisture, reduce friction and keep you feeling fresh throughout the most humid of days.

#1: Arrowroot-based powder

Arrowroot is a natural herb that is finely ground, mixed with cornstarch and baking soda to create a gentle, 100 percent vegan body powder that fights odor well. You can make your own or look for products by HoneyBee Gardens, which makes a talc-free and aluminum-free deodorizing powder based on arrowroot.

#2: Cornstarch

Found in any supermarket, cornstarch is another great alternative to talcum powder for feminine hygiene uses. Made from corn kernels, cornstarch is totally natural, highly absorbent and helps keep skin cool and dry. Cornstarch particles are slightly larger than talc and have no known side effects or health risks.

#3: Baking soda & tapioca starch

Baking soda – sodium bicarbonate – is incredibly versatile and has dozens of uses. When combined with tapioca starch (derived from the Cassava plant) this common pantry item transforms into a gentle, fragrance-free dusting powder that soothes, absorbs perspiration and keeps rashes at bay.

#4: DIY Body Powder

Create your own body powder using a base of cornstarch, rice powder, tapioca starch, or baking soda.  For a light floral scent, consider adding crushed lavender buds or chamomile leaves.

#5: Commercial talc-free baby powders

These are some of the top talc-free alternatives that you can pick up at your local drugstore or retail outlet:

  • Silky Underwear Dusting Powder by LUSH – 100 percent talc-free, this feminine dusting powder is made with cornstarch and ground cocoa butter and scented with vetiver and jasmine.
  • Burt’s Bees Baby Dusting Powder – This highly rated body powder is made with powdered slippery elm, cornstarch and kaolin clay. It is hypo-allergenic, completely natural and keeps skin soft and dry.
  • Ora’s Amazing Herbal Body Powder – Ideal for feminine hygiene use, this powder contains natural odor-fighting, antibacterial and antifungal ingredients and is available in unscented or aromatherapy scents of lavender, clary sage, vanilla and vetiver.

Several studies have suggested that talc-based powders, when put in undergarments and feminine hygiene products, can lead to ovarian cancer.  Several years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that talcum powder used around the genital area was “possibly carcinogenic” to humans.

Talcum powder cancer lawyer in Louisiana

With hope, more women will switch to talc-free body powder alternatives and avoid potential health risks. To learn more about talcum powder lawsuits and whether you’re eligible to file a claim in Louisiana, reach out to the law offices of Bart Bernard.

Bart Bernard is a dedicated talc cancer lawyer who believes in hard work and providing superior advocacy to all of his clients. For a free case review in Lafayette, Baton Rouge or the Lake Charles area, please call today.

Additional Resources on Talc Alternatives:

  1., 7 All Natural Talc-Free Powder Alternatives
  2. Organic Spa, Natural Alternatives to Talcum Powder
  3. Mother Nature Network, 5 alternatives to talc powder