Posts in Auto Accidents

Auto Accidents

When Should You Sue After a Car Accident?

November 8, 2019 Auto Accidents, Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

If you suffered a serious injury after a car accident, it is natural to want to take time to heal before seeking legal advice. Although focusing on recuperation is critical, you do not have the luxury of waiting too long before filing a personal injury lawsuit. That is due both to Louisiana law and the fact that an accident investigation should begin as soon as possible.

To protect your rights, obtain legal counsel promptly. A Bart Bernard Lafayette Personal Injury lawyer will fight for your rights while holding those responsible for your injuries accountable.

Louisiana Statute of Limitations

Unfortunately, Louisiana’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident is one of the shortest in the country. If it is not filed within one year of the accident date, the court will not allow it to go forward.

If other vehicles involved in the accident belonged to a municipal, parish, state, or federal agency, the statute of limitations is even more limited. While Louisiana does not put a cap on damages for standard car accidents, when a government agency is involved, the limit on compensation is $500,000.

Evidence Collection

A successful personal injury lawsuit depends on evidence. In the aftermath of a car accident, evidence can disappear quickly. The sooner you engage an attorney, the faster the process of collecting evidence and building a case can begin.

Evidence in personal injury lawsuits resulting from car accidents may include:

  • Photos or videos of the scene
  • Police reports
  • Medical reports
  • Eyewitness accounts

Totaling your expenses relating to the car accident is also imperative. In addition to medical bills, include time lost from work, property damage to your vehicle, the need to hire caregivers or household help after your injury, the cost of transportation to and from healthcare provider appointments, rental vehicle fees, and the like. These are known as economic damages.

Non-economic damages also play a role in compensation. Such damages take into consideration:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship or affection

Figuring out the value of non-economic damages is more complicated, and a lawyer can best determine the amount for the individual client. Once you add up these costs, you will have a better idea of whether it makes sense to file a personal injury lawsuit, or whether you should file a claim with the insurance company.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

Perhaps you think that just letting the insurance companies handle the particulars of the accident is a good way to proceed. Unfortunately, that often means a lowball settlement offer. Insurance companies are in the business of paying a little as possible for claims.

To the layperson, what sounds like a reasonable settlement offer proves inadequate. At the least, a lawyer will negotiate aggressively with the insurance company to ensure the client’s compensation pays for present and future accident-related needs.

There is another crucial reason to let a lawyer handle insurance negotiation. The injured person could inadvertently make a statement to the insurance company that the insurer will then use against them to deny or significantly reduce the claim. When an insurance company knows that an accident victim has retained an attorney, they are more willing to negotiate.

Maximum Medical Improvement

While the short statute of limitations in Louisiana governs part of the decision-making process when filing a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party and the lawyer should know whether the person had reached “maximum medical improvement” before filing the lawsuit. That means the person has improved as much as can be expected based on their injuries. If maximum medical improvement leaves the person with permanent or long-term impairment, their ongoing financial needs become clearer.

Contact a Lafayette Personal Injury Lawyer

After suffering injuries in a car accident because of another driver’s reckless or negligent actions, you need the expertise of a personal injury attorney.  We will review your case and advise you of your options going forward.

A Lafayette car accident lawyer at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. Call us 24/7 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Most cases are settled, but we will go to trial if the insurance company does not agree to a fair settlement amount.

Delayed Injuries After a Car Accident

March 22, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

car accident head injury victim

The traumatic impact of a vehicle collision can injure any part of a person’s body. Some auto accident injuries are highly visible, like lacerations caused by broken windshield glass. However, other injuries are hidden and might not be felt right away. It’s possible for the symptoms of a car crash injury to show up a couple of days after the accident. Concussions and whiplash are a couple of common examples.

The delayed symptoms of a concussion

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. It’s commonly thought that the head needs to strike an object for a concussion to develop. However, a concussion actually happens when the brain shifts within the skull, striking the interior wall of the skull. This can occur even if the head itself doesn’t strike the dashboard, side window, or other object.

The symptoms of a concussion can develop days after the crash. During the coming weeks and months, patients may experience new or worsening symptoms. Some possible indicators of a head injury include the following:

  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Anxiety, irritability, and fatigue
  • Loss of concentration, and problems with memory and learning
  • Behavioral and personality changes (including aggression or hostility)
  • Sensitivity to light or noise

Watch out for the symptoms of whiplash

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that affects the neck. Victims of rear-end accidents are at a high risk of whiplash. It usually won’t show up right away after an accident. During the next couple of days, patients may begin to experience neck pain, soreness, and stiffness. They might also experience upper back discomfort, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and limited range of motion in the neck. Headaches are often reported. These usually originate at the base of the skull. Whiplash can sometimes become chronic, and so it’s important for patients to seek medical care right away to reduce this possibility.

Keep track of signs of psychological distress and PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often associated with combat veterans. But in fact, it can happen to anyone who experiences a traumatic event, including a motor vehicle crash. A car accident survivor with PTSD might suffer from nightmares and flashbacks about the accident. Survivors might have severe anxiety. They also may find themselves unable to climb back into a car, either as a driver or passenger. It can take intensive therapy to recover from car accident-induced PTSD.

What to do after a car accident in Louisiana

To improve your chances of securing maximum compensation, it’s important to document everything in the wake of a car accident. Take pictures of the accident scene, write detailed notes about your auto accident injuries and recovery, and make sure that, in your medical records, the doctor notes that a car accident was the cause of your injuries. If you do experience delayed symptoms, you should return to the hospital for another exam. Keep an updated list of all of your symptoms and diagnoses, as well as your medical expenses.

In addition, you should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, located in Lafayette, Louisiana, works with clients from all over the state to help them get the compensation they deserve. Call today to request a case review. Click Bart First, Call Bart First.™

Additional resources for car accident survivors

Are Car Accidents Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

March 11, 2019 Auto Accidents, Workers Comp 0 Comments

Workers Compensation

You may already know that you’re likely covered by workers’ compensation if you’re hurt while on the job. But what exactly is workers’ comp? And what happens if you’re injured in an auto accident during the course of your work duties? Simply put, workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that certain employers are required to purchase for their employees. If you qualify, workers’ comp will pay for all of your related medical expenses, as well as a portion of lost wages if you’re out of work for a certain length of time. But does worker’s comp cover auto accidents? Here’s a breakdown of the issues involved.

When are car accidents covered by workers’ comp?

A car accident may be covered by workers’ comp regardless of whether the employee was driving a company car or their own vehicle. The main qualifying factor is that the crash happened while the employee was carrying out job-related duties. These might include making a delivery, traveling between worksites, transporting another employee for work-related reasons, or completing any work-related errand. It also includes travel for any work-related purpose for which the employee is being compensated. In other words, if you were on the clock, you’re covered.

The same applies to employees who are considered professional drivers, such as taxi drivers and commercial (CDL) truck drivers. If the accident occurred while the driver was on the job, that driver may be covered.

When are car accidents not covered by workers’ comp?

If you were involved in a minor accident and did not sustain injuries, then you won’t be covered by workers’ comp, since there are no resultant medical bills or lost time from work to recover.

Workers’ compensation also won’t cover injuries stemming from accidents that occurred outside of the scope of employment. For example, this includes accidents that occur during a lunch break, a normal commute between home and work, and during any activities that are not work-related.

What happens if the employee caused the auto accident?

Workers’ compensation is based on no-fault principles. Even if you were the driver who caused the accident, you can still receive compensation if you otherwise qualify for workers’ comp.

Circumstances in which a personal injury lawsuit may be filed

Generally speaking, people who receive workers’ comp are usually not eligible to file a lawsuit. This is designed to protect employers who are on the hook for providing no-fault workers’ comp insurance. However, it may still be possible to file a lawsuit against the other driver. A personal injury attorney will take a close look at the liability issues. If the other driver was at fault for the crash, the injured employee may be able to recover compensation for additional damages that would not be paid by workers’ comp, such as compensation for pain and suffering.

Discuss your case with a seasoned attorney today

Workers’ compensation and auto accident cases can both be complex. When they intertwine, you need legal guidance you can count on from an attorney with experience in both areas of the law. Contact the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers in Lafayette, Louisiana to request a review of your auto accident case. Our skilled legal team can sort through complicated cases to determine the compensation you could be entitled to receive. Veteran workers compensation lawyer Bart Bernard provides aggressive legal representation in and out of the courtroom. Get the help you need today and Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™.

Additional resources on workers’ compensation and auto accidents:

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

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?

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?