Bart Bernard Law Firm Blog

Bart Bernard Law Firm Blog

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 law firm of Bart Bernard. 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 http://www.columbianeurology.org/neurology/staywell/document.php?id=33918
  2. Synpase.org. The Many Effects of Brain Injury https://synapse.org.au/information-services/the-many-effects-of-a-brain-injury.aspx
  3. Mayo Clinic, Traumatic Brain Injury https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20378557
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Mardi Gras and Auto Accidents

February 28, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments
new orleans french quarter mardi gras

Mardi Gras! It’s a 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 safer 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 Personal Injury Law Firm 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. Nola.com. October 21, 2016. https://www.nola.com/crime/2016/10/man_nets_13_year_sentence_in_m.html.
  2. Rhoden, Robert. Man racks up 5th DWI arrest after Mardi Gras hit-and-run accident in Mandeville. Nola.com. Feb. 19, 2015. https://www.nola.com/crime/2015/02/man_racks_up_8th_dwi_arrest_af.html.



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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 Personal Injury Law Firm, 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. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2018/02/15/national-safety-council-traffic-deaths/340012002/.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. How Is the U.S. Doing? https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/index.html.
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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.

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Vets File Lawsuits Against 3M, Alleging Permanent Hearing Loss

February 16, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments
American Soldiers and US Flag. US troops

At least 11 U.S. veterans have filed lawsuits against 3M so far this year. They allege that permanent hearing loss resulted from the defendants’ defective earplugs, which were supplied to the U.S. military. 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) were issued to multiple branches of the armed services between 2003 and 2015. Those particular earplugs were discontinued in 2015. Experts familiar with the case suspect that hundreds, perhaps thousands of 3M military ear plug lawsuits will be filed in the coming months and years as the alleged connection between defective earplugs and hearing loss becomes more widely known.

The trouble with 3M earplugs

Military servicemembers are routinely exposed to high levels of noise, stemming from causes like gunshots, mortar explosions, and high concussion equipment. The military issued earplugs to servicemembers in an attempt to protect them from noise-induced hearing loss. However, the selective attenuation earplugs manufactured by Aearo Technologies—a company acquired by 3M—were too short. The dual-ended earplugs could gradually loosen in the ear or slip out of the ear canal entirely, and these problems were not necessarily detected by servicemembers at the time, leaving them exposed to piercing noises.

Some veterans have already announced their intentions to file lawsuits and join the tide of litigation expected against 3M. Kevin Cronin, a veteran from Washington state, told reporters that he expected to file his lawsuit very soon. Cronin was an active duty servicemember in the Army from 2012 to 2015. In 2014, he was deployed to Afghanistan. “I went into the military with great hearing and left active duty with drastic hearing loss and tinnitus,” said Cronin. He must now wear hearing aids.

3M has already agreed to pay millions in a settlement

The news that the 3M earplugs were defective first came to light when a whistleblower lawsuit was filed in 2016. That lawsuit was filed by Moldex-Metric Inc., a manufacturer that produced competing earplugs. The claim alleged that the contractor knowingly sold the defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency, and did not provide warnings that the earplugs were too short to provide adequate hearing protection.

“Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler. In a settlement, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve the allegations. The settlement agreement is not an admission of wrongdoing, nor does it prohibit affected veterans from filing product liability lawsuits against 3M to recover compensatory damages for their losses.

Are you a veteran with hearing loss?

Veterans have already sacrificed so much for this country. They shouldn’t have had to sacrifice their hearing too. Injury attorney Bart Bernard is currently investigating 3M hearing loss claims on behalf of veterans and their families. If you were issued 3M earplugs between 2003 and 2015, and you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus, call The Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm to request your case review. Our legal team proudly serves veterans throughout Louisiana, including Lafayette and Baton Rouge.

Get it Done Right™

Additional resources on 3M lawsuits:

  1. Military Times, Hundreds of vets are suing over these defective combat earplugs, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/02/14/hundreds-of-vets-are-suing-over-these-defective-combat-earplugs/
  2. Military Times, Company to pay $9 million after allegedly selling defective combat earplugs to US military, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/07/26/company-to-pay-9-million-after-allegedly-selling-defective-combat-earplugs-to-us-military/
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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 Personal Injury Law Firm 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. https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/14/health/opioid-deaths-united-states-surpass-road-accidents/index.html
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/index.html.
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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. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2018/02/15/national-safety-council-traffic-deaths/340012002/.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. How Is the U.S. Doing? https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/index.html.
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