Posts by Rita Williams

Mardi Gras and Auto Accidents

February 28, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

new orleans french quarter mardi gras

Mardi Gras! It’s a point in time to party big. Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday,” is one of the best-known parties in the world, with a carnival atmosphere, parades, and a good time had by all.

Except Mardi Gras has long been known as the deadliest state holiday in Louisiana. Why? Because where there is partying and alcohol, there are car accidents. Often deadly car accidents. During one recent Mardi Gras season, from the Friday before Mardi Gras to the end of Tuesday, there were 600 car crashes. Ten deaths resulted, and numerous injuries. Alcohol was involved in more than 150 of the accidents.

Just as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day can be deadly holidays, Mardi Gras be deadly too.

Mardi Gras arrives this year on March 5. Let’s make it a festive holiday but not a deadly one. Take these safety steps.

  • Don’t drink and drive

It’s fine to enjoy yourself on Mardi Gras. But if it involves alcohol, even if it’s only one drink, don’t drive. Take an Uber, or designate a friend or family member to do the driving.

  • Be a defensive driver

Even if you don’t drink and drive, realize that inevitably some people will. To the best of your ability, drive defensively. If you see vehicles going over the speed limit or weaving, avoid them. Obey all traffic and speed laws yourself.

If you are driving near a Mardi Gras parade, realize that there may be delays due to the crowds and parades. Don’t become impatient. Don’t try to make stop lights you aren’t going to make. Don’t try to drive through the crowds too quickly.

  • Consider public transportation

Consider skipping driving altogether during the Mardi Gras holiday if you’re near the festivities. Public transportation may be the safest option.

  • Walk defensively

Danger during Mardi Gras is not limited to those behind a wheel. Drunk drivers often hit pedestrians in the street. Accidents have occurred when drivers drive into crowds. You can also be hit as a pedestrian by drunk, distracted, or even angry drivers, who are growing impatient with the crowds.

Be very careful when walking. When crossing the street, make sure no cars are coming from any direction. Make sure you can make it safely across the street before crossing.

If You Need to Talk to a Louisiana Car Accident Attorney

If you need legal advice on car accidents or driving while intoxicated (DWI), the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers can help. We have decades of experience in Louisiana car accident and DWI law. Our attorneys will fight for your rights, and make sure you receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.

Bart Bernard has offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, and many locations in Louisiana. Call for a free, confidential consultation. We’re here to help you when you need it most. And there’s never a charge unless we win your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. Man gets 13-year sentence in Mardi Gras day fatal hit-and-run. October 21, 2016.
  2. Rhoden, Robert. Man racks up 5th DWI arrest after Mardi Gras hit-and-run accident in Mandeville. Feb. 19, 2015.

Hidden Injuries to Watch Out for After a Car Accident

February 21, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

car accident injury

If you’ve been in a car accident, some injuries are very clear. If you’ve broken a bone or suffered lacerations, you know you are injured and will seek medical attention.

Unfortunately, though, there are many types of injuries that you can sustain in a car accident where symptoms may not appear for days or weeks. The symptoms could be headaches, neck pain, back pain, or joint pain, and you might assume these injuries ‘just happened,’ but may actually have resulted from your car accident.

It’s important to be vigilant about these hidden injuries. They can cause permanent impairment. Here are a few of the most common – and potentially most dangerous.

1. Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can occur if you brain has impacted the inside of your skull due to the injury. An accident that causes an abrupt back and forth movement of your head or your entire body can cause TBI.

TBI can result in headaches, fatigue, confusion, and loss of memory. It can also result in personality changes. If your head was impacted in an accident, consult a doctor to be checked out for concussion or TBI.

2. Herniated discs

A crash can cause a disc between the vertebra to rupture, and extrude outward. A disc herniated in this way can put pressure on the spinal nerves and inflame them, causing leg pain, arm pain, and severe back pain.

Warning signs of herniated discs can be tingling in the fingers and toes, numbness and weakness in the extremities.

3. Knee injuries

Sometimes a victim of a car accident will hit their knees on the dashboard of the car. A knee injury can be obvious, such as a shattered kneecap, but others can be hidden. The cartilage can be damaged and the meniscus slightly torn. A slightly torn meniscus can start off with mild pain, and later cause difficulty walking. It may take a weeks to manifest, and there’s a danger it won’t be associated with the car accident.

Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney

If you suspect a mild injury may have resulted from your accident, see an experienced car accident attorney immediately.

At Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, we can help find the right doctors to evaluate your injuries, and determine if you are entitled to damages.

An initial consultation with Bart Bernard is free and confidential. When you need an experienced car accident lawyer, call Bart today. Get the help you need when you need it most.

Click Bart First, Call Bart First™

Additional Sources:

  1. Bomey, Nathan. “U.S. vehicle deaths topped 40,000 in 2017, National Safety Council estimates.” USA Today. February 15, 2018.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. How Is the U.S. Doing?

Steps To Take When Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

February 21, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

justice engraved on a courthouse

If you are injured by another party due to wrongdoing or negligence, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim in court. Personal injury claims can compensate you for damages, including medical bills to treat the injury, pain and suffering, lost wages, even retraining for a new job if the injury left you unable to perform a former job, and more.

Personal Injury Can Encompass Many Things

Personal injuries come in many forms. If a driver was driving under the influence of alcohol and caused an accident, it can be grounds for a lawsuit. If you or a loved one was injured by a defective product, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer. If you slipped and fell because a landlord or a store owner didn’t maintain safe property, he/she could be liable for your injuries. If a doctor or hospital is responsible for an injury, you may have grounds to file a claim.

But how do you begin a lawsuit? Gather evidence.

You need evidence of your injury and the conditions in which it occurred. Legal cases need evidence to support claims made.

  • Take notes as soon as you can after the injury. Describe your injuries and any impairment you suffered as a result. Describe the environment in which the injury took place and any circumstances that caused the accident and injury. Include the date and time, and anyone you spoke to.
  • Take pictures as soon as possible. Pictures of your injuries before they have healed or faded are important in establishing the severity and nature of the injury. Take pictures of the scene of the accident if you have a cell phone. If not, draw a diagram of the scene as soon as possible to keep your memories and facts straight.
  • Keep a log of any trips to seek medical attention for your injuries. If you had to take time off of work, document the times and discussions you had with your supervisor.
  • If possible, get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

Contact an Attorney

Once you have your facts straight, it’s time to contact an attorney to discuss your case. Accident attorneys will provide a free initial consultations that doesn’t require payment from you at all. They will ask you about what happened, what caused your injuries, and what the extent of your injuries are. They will give an opinion of whether you have grounds to bring a lawsuit.

It’s important to find a qualified personal injury lawyer to help you. Many accident lawsuits can be complex, involve multiple parties, and end up going to trial. You need a lawyer who is qualified to do it all.

If You Need a Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer, call Bart Bernard. Bart understands the complexities of personal injury, and can help you when you need it most. Insurance companies know Bart will take them to trial if you don’t receive the compensation you deserve. That’s why they offer his clients higher settlements.

Initial consultations are confidential, and always free. Call today, we’re here to help.

Opioid Deaths Surpass Road Accident Fatalities

January 24, 2019 Opioids 0 Comments

Premature newborn baby girl in the hospital incubator after c-section in 33 weekThe chance of dying from an accidental opioid overdose in the United States is now higher than dying in a car accident, according to a mid-January report from the National Safety Council.

Deaths from Preventable Accidents Have Increased 96% Since 1992

The opioid crisis has hit a new high. Currently, over 32,000 fatalities in car accidents occur per year – a rate that is more than 100% higher than the average of other countries with relatively high incomes. Car accidents are already at very high levels, in other words, and for opioid overdoses to have surpassed them illustrates how much it is ravaging the country.

Approximately 70,000 people died from overdoses in 2017. In the four years leading up to 2017, deaths from overdoses rose in 35 states and Washington, D.C. Large increases in deaths from opioids were reported in 15 states.

A person’s odds from dying of an opioid overdose are now higher than the risk of dying from falls, pedestrian accidents, drowning, and fire.

Deaths from preventable injuries, a category that includes both opioid overdoses and car accidents, hit nearly 170,000 in 2017, a more than 5% rise from 2016 levels. More shockingly, this is an increase of nearly 96% from the number registered in 1992.

Life Expectancy Declining

Unintentional injury is in fact now the leading cause of death in the U.S. among people 1 to 44 years old. In 2016, 61,000 died from unintentional injury, and the top two categories are deaths from car accidents and unintentional poisonings, of which opioid deaths are a part. That’s more fatalities than are caused by cancer or heart disease.

A rising number of victims, unfortunately, are children and teenagers.

The extent of the opioid crisis, and drug overdoses overall, have led to a decline in overall life expectancy.

Unborn children are affected as well. The opioid crisis has led to a syndrome that affects babies, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). It occurs when babies have been exposed to opioids in their mother’s wombs, and then go through withdrawal when they are born. The symptoms include seizures, fevers, convulsions, poor feeding, and diarrhea or vomiting.

Get it Done Right™ with Bart Bernard

If you need legal advice on either car accidents or opioid addiction in newborns, the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers can help. We have decades of experience in Louisiana car accident law. We also fight for justice for babies who have been born addicted to opioids.

Bart Bernard has offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. Get it Done Right™. We are seasoned professionals who offer a free initial consultation. Call today for a free case review!

Additional Resources:

  1. Flower, Kevin and Meera Senthilingam. Odds of dying from accidental opioid overdose in the US surpass those of dying in car accident. CNN. January 14, 2019.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths.

5 Ways a Car Accident Can Change Your Life

January 14, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Standard manual wheelchair standing in empty hospital corridor

Every year, roughly 2 million people are injured as a result of motor vehicle collisions. In 2017, the latest year for which figures are available, an estimated 40,100 people were killed in car accidents.

A car accident can change your life in multiple ways, from lasting physical pain and disability to emotional damage. Here are some of the ways in which a car accident can change your life.

1. You will need transportation.

If your car is damaged, it will have to be repaired. If the damage is large enough, the car may be a total loss (cost more to repair than it is worth). You may then need to get a new car. While it is being repaired, or while you look, you will need other transportation.

2. Your insurance premiums are likely to rise.

If you’ve been in a car accident, whether you were at fault or not, your insurance premiums are likely to go up.

3. You or a loved one may be injured.

Car accident injuries can range from cuts and bruises that heal fairly quickly to serious trauma, such as broken limbs, head injuries, or even spinal cord injuries, which can cause lasting problems with mobility and even paralysis. You may be dealing with doctors and other medical personnel, hospitals, physical therapy, and more as a result of the injuries.

Injuries can leave lasting emotional scars as well as physical ones. You also may incur high medical bills and, depending on the nature of the injury, lose time and wages from work.

4. A loved one may have been killed.

If a loved one has been killed in an accident, you will suffer profound emotional loss. If your loved one was the breadwinner for the family, you may be suffering financial uncertainty as well.

5. You may suffer emotional damage

Many people who have been in car accidents, whether they were physically injured or not, suffer lasting emotional damage. They may experience post-traumatic stress disorder, reliving the frightening incidents over and over again, or they may become fearful of driving. People who are dealing with serious injuries are often known to experience depression as well.

If You Need a Louisiana Car Accident Attorney

As you can see from this list, car accidents can have multiple negative impacts on victims and their loved ones. You may suffer grief and trauma. You may be paying for a damaged vehicle, medical bills, therapy, and more. You may have lost your family’s primary earner or become unable to work yourself.

If the other driver was at fault, it may be possible to recover money damages by filing a lawsuit.

Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident lawyer Bart Bernard will handle your case with the utmost care and concern. The initial legal consultation about your potential case is free. Call today to see if you are eligible to seek monetary compensation for your losses by filing a lawsuit.

Click Bart First, Call Bart First™

Additional Sources:

  1. Bomey, Nathan. “U.S. vehicle deaths topped 40,000 in 2017, National Safety Council estimates.” USA Today. February 15, 2018.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. How Is the U.S. Doing?

Calculating Vehicle Damage After an Accident

January 7, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

traffic fatalitiesHow do you calculate the dollar amount of damage to your car after an accident?

The first step is to get an estimate from a car repair shop. Be sure to check and see if your repair company is covered by your insurance, since not all insurance companies work with all repair shops. Get an estimate before you take it in for repairs.

Be sure to save all the bills from the repair company you take the car to. If the car needs to be serviced in more than one shop, make sure you retain the bills from each location. Any costs related to the damage, such as paying to have it towed, should be included.

Diminished Value

There are times when the vehicle damage calculation becomes a bit complicated. That’s because vehicles that have been in accidents have “diminished value.”

Diminished value refers to the fact that, even though a car has been completely repaired, it doesn’t retain the same value as a car that has never been in an accident. Even if there is no visible or structural damage, many buyers will consider a car that has been damaged in a collision structurally weaker and less sound than one that has never been in an accident.

As a result, buyers usually are not willing to pay as much for a car that’s been in an accident as they are for one that’s accident-free. Your car’s value, therefore, has been diminished by the fact of the accident. Many of the reports that used car buyers look at, such as Carfax and similar services, will reveal whether a car has been involved in an accident, including the date.

Either the insurance company or the party responsible for the accident should compensate you for the diminished value of your car.

What if Your Car Is a Total Loss?

If a car would cost more to repair than it would be worth at resale (using a reputable site like Kelley Blue Book or Edwards), the insurance company will likely declare it a total loss, no matter the amount of damage.

In other words, a total loss depends as much on the value of your car as on the nature and extent of the damage to it. If the value of the car is less than the repair cost, a total loss could be declared even if the damage doesn’t look that bad to observers.

Call a Respected Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a crash, call seasoned Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident lawyer Bart Bernard today. Your initial consultation with Bart will cost you nothing, and you owe no fees unless we win your case. Call today, and Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™!

Additional Resources:

  1. Araujo, Mila. Diminished Value After a Car Accident: Will Your Car Insurance Pay? The Balance. October 25, 2018.
  2. Accident Guide in Louisiana.
  3. Kelley Blue Book.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Lawyer After a Truck Accident?

January 4, 2019 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Truck on freewayIn the aftermath of a truck accident, you may find yourself burdened with injuries, medical bills, lost time from work, and, in the tragic case of the loss of a loved one, funeral costs. If the insurance company is dragging its heels or pressuring you to accept a lowball offer, you may also be considering hiring a lawyer. But how much does hiring a lawyer cost?

Lawyers Don’t Always Get Paid Upfront

There is no charge for your first meeting with Louisiana truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard. Bart will discuss the circumstances of your accident, the nature of your injuries and losses, and whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit to seek monetary damages from the liable party or parties.

Bart Bernard works for his clients on a contingency fee basis. “Contingency” means that your lawyer will take a certain previously agreed upon percentage of any compensation you receive as payment, once the case is over. This percentage may include costs incurred during the investigation and litigation of your case.

So, how much does it cost to get a lawyer after a truck accident? When you work with renowned truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard, the answer is nothing. You owe us no money unless we win money damages for you in a settlement or trial verdict.

Don’t Handle the Accident Alone

Truck accidents can result in serious damage to both people and property, and can be complicated to litigate. An experienced truck accident lawyer can make all the difference in the world to the outcome of your lawsuit.

Why? Because several parties and a whole chain of events may have contributed to the crash. The accident may have been caused by the condition of the truck, which may mean that the owner or the maintenance company is on the hook for liability. It could have been caused by the state of the road, which means that the local municipality could be responsible. It could have been caused by improper loading of the truck, which means the loading company could be at fault. It could have been caused by another driver or the driver of the truck itself. The driver may have been operating without sufficient sleep, or he or she could have felt pressured to keep driving despite suffering extreme exhaustion.

Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes pressure injured parties to accept a low-ball settlement, or even deny a settlement. Attorney Bart Bernard and his team of experts and investigators can help establish who is at fault and build a strong case to help injured parties get fair and full compensation for their losses.

How Bart Bernard Can Help in Louisiana Truck Accidents

Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard has years of experience helping victims of big rig crashes in Louisiana. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum, with a strong history of obtaining top results for truck accident victims.

Contact us today to discuss your case. All initial consultations are complimentary. Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™ !

Additional Resources:

  1. U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service. October 2016.
  2. Rhee, Joseph and Alexa Valiente. “The Danger of Forcing Truck Drivers to Drive Sleep-Deprived Exposed.” ABC News. September 18, 2014.