Posts in Auto Accidents

Auto Accidents

Your Car Accident Coverage May Not Be As Good As You Think

October 19, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Couple Reading Letter About Husband's InjuryDo you trust your insurance company to cover you fully in the case of a car accident? After a crash, with medical bills and other losses piling up, some drivers have discovered that their trust in the insurance company was misplaced. Remember that insurance companies are running a business. They have every incentive to minimize their payouts to you, because it means more profits for them and their shareholders.

An Experienced Lawyer Can Help with Insurance Company Negotiations After a Crash

When negotiating with an insurance company after an accident, having an experienced attorney on your side can prove to be a valuable asset. A good lawyer will know the kinds of strategies insurance companies use to minimize payments to you — in other words, what they do to get you to accept less than you deserve.

Insurance companies might try the following strategies.

  1. Shifting blame – If a party other than their insured is to blame for an accident, the insurance party may not have to pay. They are skilled in attempting to shift blame, either to you or to another party. They may also try to prove that you bear a greater responsibility of an accident than you do.
  2. Getting you to admit fault – In the aftermath of an accident, people may be shaken or uncertain of just what happened. Insurance companies may ask questions that make you admit to more fault than you are responsible for — and you may not realize the import of these questions until it’s too late. They may demand statements that will later be used in court to argue that you were responsible.
  3. Minimizing or lowballing medical conditions – Insurance companies may try to minimize the significance of injuries or conditions caused by the accident, or underestimate the amount of treatment needed. They may also lowball the dollar amounts needed for treatment.
  4. Delay the claims and payments – Insurance companies sometimes gamble that if they take a very long time to process and pay out claims, people will forget, or become willing to settle for less.

Why You Should Have an Attorney Represent You

If you have been injured in a car accident, call Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. Bart Bernard is a LA car accident lawyer who knows how to play tough with deep-pocketed insurance companies and their low-ball settlement offers.

We have offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. Our initial consultation is free of charge and confidential. Call today or contact us online today. Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™!

Additional Resources:

  1. How to Negotiate Your Car’s Value with an Auto Insurer after an Accident. ValuePenguin.
  2. Tips for Settling a Car Insurance Claim.

Halloween Safety Tips for Parents

October 17, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Little children in Halloween costumes trick or treatingAs fall weather finally begins to settle into Louisiana, children and adults alike are preparing their costumes and decorations for Halloween. As you gear up for Halloween, keep in mind some often-overlooked risks and consider taking a few important safety precautions.

Halloween risks

Halloween is the only time of the year when parents are likely to dress their children in dark clothing and send them out in the neighborhood after dark, often unaccompanied. Accident statistics show that this puts children at risk for accidents, especially accidents involving cars.

Some of the factors that can lead to danger include:

  • Ill-fitting costumes and masks that obstruct a child’s vision
  • Dark-colored clothing
  • Trick-or-treating during evening hours, with low visibility
  • More than 10% of parents allow children age 5 or younger to trick-or-treat alone

Halloween pedestrian accident statistics

An often-cited statistic is that children are twice as likely to die in a pedestrian crash on Halloween than at other times of the year. However, a historic study released by the CDC puts the risk much higher – children are four times as likely to die in a pedestrian crash on Halloween – while its editorial notes explain that the results likely underestimate the true risk.

The CDC study analyzed FARS data from 1975-1996 and found that during that time period, from 4 p.m to 10 p.m. on October 31st, there were a total of 89 deaths of pedestrians ages 5-14, for an average of four deaths per Halloween evening. There were a total of 8846 deaths for all other evenings, averaging one death per evening. However, the risk could actually be higher because:

  • FARS data only counts on-road accidents, and does not include likely Halloween accident sites like driveways
  • Many communities hold trick or treat festivities on days other than October 31
  • Some Halloween festivities occur after 10 p.m.

Prevent pedestrian accidents on Halloween

If you are a parent, take the precautions to help kids stay safe:

  • Choose face paint instead of a mask, which can limit vision
  • Put reflective tape on costumes and treat bags
  • Equip kids with flashlights loaded with fresh batteries
  • Accompany kids under the age of 12
  • Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street
  • Remain on sidewalks and if there is none, then walk facing traffic on the farthest edge of the road

If you will be driving on Halloween or another night when there may be trick or treating:

  • Keep watch for children crossing the street and even in driveways
  • Do not assume that once a child has crossed the street it is safe to go; there may be another child or group following
  • Drive slowly and anticipate kids acting unexpectedly
  • Eliminate distractions

Get help from a Baton Rouge pedestrian accident lawyer

Halloween can and should be safe fun for the whole family. In the tragic case of an accident, you need a skillful and compassionate advocate. Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident attorney Bart Bernard understands the emotional and financial impact that a pedestrian accident can have on victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, call today for a free consultation. Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™!

Additional Halloween safety resources:

  1. National Safety Council, Halloween Safety On and Off the Road,
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics, Halloween SafetyTips from the American Academy of Pediatrics,
  3. Centers for Disease Control, Childhood Pedestrian Deaths During Halloween — United States, 1975-1996,

Teens Texting and Driving: A Growing Epidemic

October 11, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

teens texting and drivingA recent study shows a disturbing trend about teenagers and their driving habits. Nearly 38% text while driving. Not only that, but they do it frequently enough that 64% of those who do have done it at least once a month.

Teens Text More Where the Driving Age Is Lower

Thirty-five of the 50 U.S. states were covered in the study, which shows that in some states, many more teens text or e-mail while driving much more than the national average. In South Dakota, for example, 64% are engaged in texting and driving; in North Dakota, 58%; and in Montana, 55% are doing it. (Louisiana was not covered in the survey.)

According to the study, teenagers were more likely to text in states where the driving age was lower. White teenagers were 19% likely to text and drive, compared with 12% of African-American teenagers and 11% of Hispanic teenagers. Driving in a car with an adult decreased the chances of texting and driving.

Perhaps most sobering of all, in nearly all the states where teen driving and texting was surveyed —34 out of the 35 — texting and driving is against the law. Texting while driving has been proven to increase the chances of an accident up to 9 times.

What Can Parents Do?

Teens texting or e-mailing while driving presents a hazard not only to themselves, but also to other passengers in the car, and other motorists on the road.

It’s not enough to simply be concerned. Parents should consider the following steps to deter their children from texting and driving.

1. Don’t Text While Driving

The biggest thing parents can do is to set an example. If your children see you texting and driving, they will be more inclined to do it themselves. Put your phone away while driving. Make it clear that phones on and driving are two activities that don’t mix — any more than drinking and driving do.

2. Discuss the Dangers of Texting and Driving

Have a discussion with your teenagers about the specific perils of texting and driving. It may seem to them that their eyes are off the road for just 2 seconds. But remind them that it only takes 2 seconds for a car to pull out in front of them, or a child to walk in front of them. It’s enough time to cause a serious car accident that could even kill them or their passenger friends.

3. Use an App to Make Texting and Driving Impossible

Several apps are available that interface with the car’s GPS to make texting and driving impossible. You can monitor your kids’ phones to see if they’ve been disabled as well. An app like this may be a wise choice for your family.

Accident Caused by a Driver Who Was Texting? Call Bart Bernard to Discuss Your Legal Options

If you or a loved one needs a lawyer after a crash caused by a texting driver, call the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, with offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Call today to speak with Bart Bernard, an experienced Louisiana texting and driving accident lawyer who will fight for maximum compensation under the law. Consultations are free and we do not charge legal fees unless we win compensation on your behalf. We look forward to hearing from you!

Additional Resources:

  1. Li, M.S., et al. Texting/Emailing While Driving Among High School Students in 35 States, United States, 2015. Journal of Adolescent Health, August 20, 2018.
  2. Young, Sarah D. “Nearly 40 percent of teens text while driving, study finds. Consumer Affairs. August 20, 2018.

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,

What To Do If You’re Hit By a Driver with No Insurance

March 19, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Two Drivers Arguing After Traffic Accident looking at damageRoughly 1 in 7 drivers throughout the United States drive without insurance. This occurs despite the fact that many states require drivers to purchase insurance, including Louisiana. Drivers may be licensed in states that don’t require it, may be in a period without insurance coverage, or be in other circumstances where are behind the wheel without insurance.

What do you do if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance?

It’s an excellent question, because in most cases, injuries and damages caused by a vehicle collision are paid for by insurance companies.

If you are hit by a driver without insurance, you may not be able to get medical bills or repair of your vehicle covered — things that are paid for routinely if the other driver is at fault and has insurance.

Purchasing Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Is the Best Way to Protect Yourself

Frankly, the best way to protect yourself from a driver with no insurance is to follow the state requirement. Louisiana state law mandates that everyone who buys a car insurance policy include coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists (UIM).

It is part of the general requirements for vehicle owners, who are mandated to purchase liability insurance as well. This is done so that drivers have protection against claims by people who might be injured in a car crash.

Now, under Louisiana law you may decline UIM coverage. You must do so in writing, officially.

But doing so leaves you vulnerable to those 1 in 7 drivers without insurance. The UIM coverage that’s part of your own policy will help you if you or a family member is injured in a car accident, the other driver is at fault, and either has no insurance or carries too little insurance to coverage your damages.

Yes, UIM policies may cost a little more. But considering that hospital stays and lost wages from injuries can add up to thousands and even millions of dollars, it is worth it.

Personal Injury Claims Depend on Assets

We are sometimes asked if suing the at-fault driver for personal injury is a possibility.

Yes, it is a possibility if personal injury was caused by that driver’s negligence. But a personal injury claim needs, ultimately, to be paid for from the assets of the defendant. If your damages from an accident are significant, the other driver’s assets may not cover them. This is especially so since medical bills and hospital stays can outstrip even the price of a house and savings.

Ultimately, there is no guarantee that another driver will have any significant assets. The less risky strategy is to sign up for UIM insurance.

It is a good idea to consult an attorney if you have been in a collision where the other driver had no insurance.

When You Need a Louisiana Attorney

If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in an accident, Lafayette and Baton Rouge car accident attorney Bart Bernard can help. Bart has enormous expertise in cases where the other driver has no insurance.

Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. For a free consultation, call 337-989-BART (Lafayette) / 225-275-BART (Baton Rouge) or contact me online today.

More information on accidents with no-insurance drivers:

  1. Brinson, Linda C. What happens if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver? How Stuff Works.
  2. State of Louisiana. Louisiana Department of Public Safety, Office of Motor Vehicles. Required Proof of Liability Insurance Prior to Registration of Vehicles,

Roadside Safety Tips for Breakdowns & Accidents

March 14, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Man upset next to wrecked carThe tragic scenario is all too common: a motorist whose car has broken down is struck by another vehicle as he tries to inspect the problem. Whether you’re in a minor fender bender or are experiencing engine troubles, it’s important to remember some basic tips to prevent injury and keep safe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 15 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur on highways, where fast-moving traffic is the norm.

In the event of a collision or vehicle breakdown, you can avoid becoming another unfortunate statistic by following these guidelines.

Preparedness and Prevention

  • Routine maintenance can help ensure your vehicle is in good working condition. Always check your lights, brakes, windshield wipers, belts and ensure your oil is topped off.
  • Have emergency contacts programmed in your phone, whether it’s a friend, family member or your roadside assistance provider.
  • Keep a cell phone charger in your vehicle
  • Equip your vehicle with a basic safety kit including: jumper cables, reflective triangles or orange cones, a car jack, rope, first aid kit and an instant tire inflator.

Call for Assistance

If your car is seriously damaged in a collision or won’t run, call for help as soon as possible. If you are in a dangerous neighborhood and don’t have emergency roadside assistance, call the police and remain in your vehicle.

Make Yourself Visible

Visibility is essential to staying safe, especially on busy highways where the average speed is 70mph. Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights and activate emergency flares if you have them.

Moving to Safety

Try and move your vehicle off the road and as far away from traffic as possible. This may be an emergency lane, or the very far side of the shoulder. If you are on a heavily trafficked interstate or freeway, try and make it to the nearest highway exit. If you are unable to move your vehicle away from traffic and worry that you may be struck from behind, carefully exit the car and move to a safer locale. Open the car hood so police or tow trucks will know roadside assistance is needed.

Roadside Personal Safety

Standing next to, in front of or behind a broken-down vehicle is a recipe for disaster, warn AAA experts. If there is no danger of another vehicle striking your own, it is safer to remain inside until help arrives—especially when you’re surrounded by fast-moving traffic.

Collecting Information

If you were involved in an accident, remain with the vehicle until the police arrive. Be sure to gather information from other motorists involved, including their full names, address, policy number and license plate numbers.

How an Auto Accident Attorney Can Help

No matter what the circumstances, car crashes and breakdowns can be frightening, stressful situations. If you were hurt because of another driver’s reckless or negligent actions, you may have a claim for monetary damages. Louisiana attorney Bart Bernard is dedicated to achieving the best possible results for his clients. To schedule a free, no-obligation case review with a skilled car accident lawyer in Lafayette or Baton Rouge, please contact our offices today! 

Additional Resources on Roadside Safety: 

  1. AAA, What To Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down
  2. Nationwide, Allied Insurance roadside safety tips
  3. AutomotiveFleet, What to Do (And Not to Do) After a Highway Breakdown

The Most Dangerous Highway in Louisiana

March 2, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

semi tractor trailer driving on the highway in the eveningA recent study found that that the most dangerous highway in Louisiana was U.S. 90 in the southern part of the state. It also holds the #13 spot among the most dangerous roads across the United States.

U.S. 90 = Average of 27 Fatal Collisions Each Year

Geotab, a consulting company, compiled data from two government sources, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration, to determine the yearly tally of fatal vehicle accidents on every highway. It then compared those results to the average amount of traffic the roadway gets. The resultant figure is called the “Fatal Crash Rate.”

According to the data, an average of 27 fatal vehicle accidents occur yearly on U.S. 90. U.S. 90 at Exit 202 to Houma generally has approximately 20,000 vehicles traveling in both directions daily.

Most fatal crashes on U.S. 90 occurred in in St. Mary, St. Charles, and Iberia parishes during 2017.

Multiple Access Points an Issue; Would an Upgrade Help?

Local officials noted that these areas have multiple access points to the highway. Most accidents happen as people enter the freeway, with collisions occurring with drivers already on the roadway or directly behind the entering car.

To make travel safer in the corridor between Lafayette and New Orleans, U.S. 90 could be upgraded to interstate standard, which would result in fewer defined access points, and thus likely fewer accidents. The new highway would be called I-49 South. Local politicians and businesses have wanted the upgrade for years.

However, money has been a sticking point. Regional Economic Models and CDM Smith for the Community Foundation of Acadiana estimated that the road from Raceland to Des Allemands would cost about $150 million (assuming a 2023 completion date) and that the road from Des Allemands to Interstate 310 would cost of $838.5 million in St. Charles Parish (assuming a 2021 completion date).

Neither the state nor the Federal government has come up with money for upgrading the road.

However, J-turns are being implemented in the stretch of U.S. 90 that runs through St. Mary Parish. Officials believe that these will lead to a downturn in the number of collisions, as they will make access to U.S. 90 safer.

Still, the same officials believe that Federal freeway access routes, such as on-ramps and acceleration lanes, would be the optimal solution. J-turns will help, but not as much as freeway traffic control methods.

Road Accident? Call Bart Bernard Today!

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident in the state of Louisiana, attorney Bart Bernard is here to help. He and his team of investigators can determine the causes of your accident and gather strong evidence to prove who was at fault. Statutes of limitation restrict the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit, so please contact Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident attorney Bart Bernard today for a free case review!

More information on the dangers of U.S. 90 in Louisiana:

  1. Boudreaux, Dan.  “U.S. 90: Louisiana’s most dangerous highway?” Houma Today. July 17, 2017.
  2. Geotab. The Most Dangerous Highways in America.