Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Blog

Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Blog

Opioid Epidemic Revealed: 76 Billion Pills, 130 Deaths a Day

July 25, 2019 Opioids 0 Comments
close up of a group of white tablets with an out of focus prescription bottle in the background

Two years ago, opioids accounted for two-thirds of the 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the United States. More than 130 people died from opioid abuse each day, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

Thirty-six percent of opioid deaths involved prescription drugs like buprenorphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.

While more than 100,000 Americans died from an opioid painkiller overdose, manufacturers were busy increasing distribution by over 50 percent, pumping an additional 8.4 billion hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into commercial pharmacies. Newly released federal data analyzing the nation’s peak addiction crisis from 2006 to 2012 revealed that a total of 76 billion pills were distributed during this time period.

The distribution data is a key element of more than 2,000 lawsuits filed by state, local, and tribal governments looking to hold drug companies accountable for a largely preventable crisis that has spiraled out-of-control.

Drugmakers Role Put Into the Spotlight

“There’s been massive overprescribing, overconsumption of opioids in the United States,” explained Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Doctors have found themselves in the crossfire for years, but Dr. Kolodny told CNN the recently released data places the spotlight on the role distributors, retailers, and drugmakers have had in the crisis.

Roughly half the pills distributed from 2006 to 2012 were distributed by McKesson (14.1 billion), Walgreens (12.6 billion), and Cardinal Health (10.7 billion). More than two-thirds were manufactured by Actavis Pharma (26.5 billion) and SpecGx (28.9 billion). Purdue Pharma received a $635 million federal fine in 2007 for falsely claiming OxyContin was less addictive than other opioids, but their 2.5 billion pills accounted for just 3.3% of the overall market share.

Scott Higham, an investigator with the Washington Post, says the data confirms some of what we already knew – that West Virginia is the epicenter of the crisis. However, they were surprised to see the level of saturation in places like Nevada, Tennessee, South Carolina. “This is an epidemic that… knows no bounds, and it has just spread everywhere,” he explains.

Most tellingly, millions of drugs were being pumped into very small communities, where only two or three thousand people reside.

In rural Mingo County, West Virginia, pharmacies distributed 203 pills-per-person each year. Nearly every family has been affected by the opioid crisis in some way. They’ve lost high school friends, coworkers, neighbors, parents, and children.

Many doctors were misled by aggressive marketing tactics and false reassurance from pharmaceutical companies. Time and time again, drug-makers turned a blind eye to “suspicious activity” that led to the rise of pill mills and drug diversion. Now two dozen drug companies are faced with thousands of lawsuits, consolidated in the U.S. District Court of Cleveland.

First Opioid Trial Scheduled for October

While the nation grapples with questions of “how we got here,” the courts take on the monumental task of determining how far liability should extend and how similar suits should proceed. Attorneys from across the country are testing their legal strategies in Oklahoma, where a trial is expected to last for most of the summer. The central argument is that Teva Pharmaceuticals and Janssen violated the state’s public nuisance law by creating a substantial health harm in small communities. So far, the testimony has focused on manufacturers’ role in getting patients hooked on opioids through aggressive and often misleading marketing.

Purdue Pharma settled with the state for $270 million in March. Teva Pharmaceuticals settled for $85 million in June. Janssen continued on as the sole defendant, with parent company Johnson & Johnson losing a plea to drop the lawsuit this month. Larger federal litigation involving 1,900 lawsuits is scheduled for October.

Babies Born Addicted to Opioids

Part of the epidemic includes women who became addicted to opioids before becoming pregnant or while pregnant, and whose children, as a result, were born addicted. If your child was born addicted to prescription opioids, contact personal injury lawyer Bart Bernard for a free consultation.

No money is necessary upfront to pursue compensation through civil courts. You only pay for representation if you win your case and recover monetary damages. Call today to see if you qualify to file an opioid lawsuit.

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History of Acadiana and Lafayette, LA

June 3, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

Acadiana is the official term for the south and southwest regions of Louisiana. The area is roughly considered to contain the region west of the Mississippi River east to Lake Charles, LA. The northern boundary is considered to be Alexandria, LA. Lafayette, LA is regarded as the heart of Acadiana, which includes twenty-two parishes in total. Acadiana is also sometimes referred to as Cajun Country.

Acadiana riverboat in Lafayette, LA

Early History of the People

The name Acadiana is derived from the term Acadian, which refers to the people who left France in the 1600s seeking religious and cultural freedom. The Acadians settled in the French colony of Acadie (present-day Nova Scotia). Less than two centuries later after the colony was ceded to the British, the Acadians were again forced to leave their home after they refused to pledge allegiance to the British Crown and renounce their Catholic religion. This period, which began in 1755, is known as the Great Expulsion or the Grand Dérangement.

The resilient group of Acadians traveled south in waves with Joseph Broussard leading the first group to Louisiana in 1765. Many followed and the Acadians finally settled and flourished in the bayous, marshes, and prairies of what today is known as Acadiana.  

While the Cajuns are the most predominant population in Acadiana, the region is also home to people of Native American, Creole, German, and Spanish descent among others. Lafayette is one of Louisiana’s most cosmopolitan cities and the region’s diversity has contributed to its vibrant and unique culture.

Origin of the Acadiana Name

Although the Acadiana region has such a long storied history, the name Acadiana is actually a relatively recent development. Surprisingly, the term was an accidental invention, the result of a typo. The name was first used unofficially by local radio station KATC-TV 3 around 1963, according to the station’s general manager at the time. The station was locally owned by Acadian Television Corporation.

After an invoice addressed to the studio accidentally inserted an extra “A” at the end of Acadian, the studio decided to embrace the term and used it in its radio shows to describe the area that covered its broadcast signal. The station believed it to be the perfect combination between the words Acadie and Louisiana.

The station never copyrighted the term and people and businesses across the area began to adopt the name. Today there are dozens of businesses in the area with the Acadiana name. In 1971, less than ten years after its origination, the name became official when then Governor Edwin Edwards signed the bill designating the region Acadiana.

Your Acadiana Attorney

If you live in Acadiana or Lafayette and are looking for a personal injury attorney, call Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. The attorneys at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers are experts in personal injury law, including car, motorcycle, and 18-wheeler accidents. Call or visit our website to schedule your free, private consultation with The People’s Trial Lawyer™.

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Notable Cases From the Western District Court in Lafayette, LA

May 22, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

The Western District Court of Louisiana is the United States federal court with jurisdiction over the western portion of Louisiana. The Western District of Louisiana has five courthouses which are located in Lafayette, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Shreveport. The Lafayette Division serves the parishes of St. Martin, Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Mary, St. Landry, and Vermillion. Below are some notable cases from the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division.

Scales of Justice and a Gavel in the background in Western District Court in Lafayette, Louisiana.
  1. Lafayette Court Cracks Down on Cockfighting

Prior to 2003, thousands of roosters were shipped in and out of Louisiana every year as part of the cockfighting industry. But in 2003, the U.S. Congress passed a law that made it illegal to ship birds across state lines for cockfighting. The United Gamefowl Breeders Association, a national cockfighting group, challenged the law in the Western District of Louisiana arguing that it was an unconstitutional interference of commercial rights and was discriminatory against Cajuns, Hispanics, Filipinos, and others.

In May 2005, the District Court disagreed with the United Gamefowl Breeders Association and held that the law prohibiting the shipping of birds for cockfighting was constitutional. The case is UGBA v. Veneman, No. 03-970 (W.D. La. 2005). Cockfighting was later banned by the Louisiana State Legislature in 2008.

  • Lafayette Court Orders School Desegregation

On November 11, 2016, the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division issued a final Superseding Consent Order in a school desegregation lawsuit originally filed in 1965. The case is Thomas v. St. Martin Parish School District.

In the 1960s, the District Court held that St. Martin Parish had an intentionally discriminatory school system. Under the U.S. Constitution and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, St. Martin Parish is required to provide educational programs and services without discriminating on the basis of race.

Since that original ruling, the District Court has entered numerous desegregation orders, but the school never earned unitary status. Unitary status is a legal term which means the school is no longer providing a dual education based on race. Once unitary status is achieved, the school will no longer be subject to court oversight.  

The Superseding Consent Order set forth the remedial measures that must be taken by the St. Martin Parish School Board to eliminate the traces of the formerly segregated school system. In order to be granted unitary status, the school must eliminate discrimination in six key areas: student assignment, teacher assignment, principal assignment, transportation, facilities, and extracurricular activities.

  • Lafayette Court Awards Punitive Damages to Big Pharma

In April 2015, Takeda, one of Asia’s largest drug makers, and Eli Lilly & Co., its Indianapolis-based partner, were ordered by the Western District of Louisiana federal court in Lafayette pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages after they hid the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes medicine. The $9 billion jury award was the 7th largest in U.S. history at the time it was given. The W.D. of Louisiana court also found that the company destroyed evidence relevant to the lawsuit and acted in bad faith to preserve documents.

The $9 billion award was later reduced by the U.S. District Judge to $36.87 million because it was in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause. Under the Due Process Clause, punitive damage awards cannot be grossly excessive in relation to the state’s legitimate interests in punishment and deterrence.  The $36.87 million punitive award was still believed to be significant enough to deter such wrongful conduct by pharmaceutical companies in the future. The case is In Re:  Actos [Pioglitazone] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2299, No. 6:11/md-2299, W.D. La., Lafayette Div.).

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Food and Culture in Lafayette, Louisiana

April 30, 2019 News 0 Comments

Lafayette, Louisiana boasts a unique cultural blend of Cajun, Creole, French, and Southern hospitality. There is no better way to experience the vibrant culture of Lafayette than through its local restaurants that tie together food, music, art, and history.

Lafayette, LA accident lawyer shares food and culture favorites.

Food and Music

Experience the  Cajun “joie de vivre” while dining and dancing at Randol’s Seafood Restaurant. Here you can feast on local dishes like fried alligator, crawfish étouffée, and seafood gumbo. Randol’s raises its own crawfish and crabs on the property and serves fresh seafood from the Gulf.

Music, like food, is a major part of Lafayette’s culture and there is no better place to dance the two-step than at Randal’s. Acadiana’s finest Cajun and zydeco musicians perform nightly and the dance hall fills up as the fiddle, accordion, and triangle begin to play. Randal’s is located at 2320 Kaliste Saloom Rd. in Lafayette, LA.

Food and Art

At the Blue Dog Café, patrons are able to enjoy modern Cajun cuisine while surrounded by over 150 prints of the late local artist George Rodrigue. Rodrigue had great respect for his Cajun heritage and sought to preserve the Cajun culture through his paintings. The State of Louisiana appointed Rodrigue Artist Laureate in 2006 in recognition of his work. His most famous image, the Blue Dog, is inspired by the loup-garou – the Cajun legend of a werewolf.

Among the dishes offered at the Blue Dog Café includes shrimp and grits, seafood caught fresh from the Gulf, and fried shrimp po’boy. The restaurant also serves boudin balls,  a local favorite of sausage, made up of ground pork, cooked rice, onions, peppers, and seasonings, fried in small balls. The Blue Dog Café is located at  1211 West Pinhook Rd, Lafayette, LA 70503.

Food and Festivals

No matter the time of year, there is sure to be a festival happening in Lafayette. The festivals celebrate Lafayette’s vibrant culture, including its authentic cuisine. Some of the most popular food festivals include the Crawfish Festival, the Acadiana Po-Boy Festival, and the Scott Boudin Festival.

One of Lafayette’s largest festivals is the Festival International de Louisiane,  a five-day event in downtown Lafayette that celebrates the connections between the Acadiana and the Francophone world. Each April thousands of visitors come to Lafayette to experience the Festival. It is the largest international and arts festival in the United States. The Festival International de Louisiane features art exhibits, workshops, and musical performances along with authentic Lafayette cuisine, like jambalaya, crawfish, boudin, and po’boys.

Food and History

In the late nineteenth century, plate lunches were popping up across the United States to serve the hungry working-class. Plate lunches feature large portions and consist of a meat, a gravy-covered starch, a pair of vegetable sides, and a piece of bread—often served together on one plate. They are the perfect marriage between rustic, homestyle cooking and cafeteria style convenience. Lafayette has held on to the tradition of plate lunches with many restaurants serving hearty and affordable plate lunches daily.

Among the restaurants where you can enjoy a classic plate lunch includes Laura’s II Next Generation, a third-generation owned Creole restaurant. No matter what you order—fried pork chops, fried catfish, or turkey wings—Laura’s famous gravy, a strong and flavorful molasses-colored sauce covers everything. Laura’s II is located at 1904 W. University Avenue, Lafayette, LA 70506.

Hit Hard. Get Bart Bernard.™

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car, motorcycle, or 18 wheeler accident and are looking for a local Lafayette, Louisiana accident lawyer, call Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers can provide you with the help that you need to recover.

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Lafayette, LA High School Sports Information

April 24, 2019 News 0 Comments

Lafayette High School (LHS) is home to many successful sports programs. The Lafayette Mighty Lions are members of the 3-5A District. Tim Lemaire is the school’s Athletic Director. LHS’s address is 3000 West Congress Street, Lafayette, LA 70506. Below you will find information about each sport offered at Lafayette High School.

Lafayette, Louisiana school students.

Fall Sports

  • Football

The football team is head coached by William Pool. Season tickets are available to purchase in August. The team had a 3-7 overall record in 2018.

  • Volleyball

The volleyball team is head coached by Caroline Dufrene. In the 2018 season, the team went 18-10 and lost to Ponchatoula High School in the first round of the District playoffs.

  • Cross Country

The cross country team is head coached by Tim Lemaire. LHS offers both girls’ and boys’ cross country.

  • Swimming

The swim team is head coached by Thomas Clavier. Home swim meets are held at the Earl J. Chris Natatorium. The girls’ and boys’ swim teams participated in the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Swim Meet at the Spar Aquatic Center in Sulphur, LA.  

Winter Sports

  • Boys’ Basketball

The boys’ basketball team is head coached by Clifton Brown. The team had a successful 2018-2019 season with a 20-13 overall record. The Mighty Lions’ season ended on February 22, 2019 after losing to Hahnville High School in the District playoffs.

  • Girls’ Basketball

The girls’ basketball team is head coached by Tarunye Kanonu. The team had a record of 15-10 in the 2018-19 season.

  • Boys’ Soccer

The boys’ soccer team is head coached by Craig Minnick. The team was undefeated in District play during the 2018-19 season. The team lost in the second round of the 2019 LHSAA Class 5A Boys’ Soccer State Playoffs.

  • Girls’ Soccer

The girls’ soccer team is head coached by Joshua Saboe. The team lost to Saint Joseph’s Academy in the second round of the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls’ Soccer State Championship. The team had a 3-6-6 overall record in the 2018-19 season.

  • Wrestling

The wrestling team is head coached by Nash Barreca. The wrestling team placed 23rd at the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Wrestling Tournament.

  • Bowling

Lafayette High School has both a boys’ and girls’ varsity bowling team. The bowling matches are played at both Lafayette Lanes and Acadiana Lanes. The bowling teams participated in the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Bowling State Championship Tournament held at All Star Lanes in Baton Rouge, LA.

Spring Sports

  • Baseball

The baseball team is head coached by Sam Taulli. The 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Baseball State Tournament will take place on May 8–11 at McMurray Park in Sulphur, Louisiana.

  • Softball

The softball team is head coached by Chris Ortego. The 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Softball State Tournament will take place on April 26-27 at Frasch Park in Sulphur, Louisiana.

  • Track

The track team is head coached by Ron Baillargeon. LHS offers both winter and spring track. LHS competed at the Sugar Bowl Track and Field Classic on March 22–23, 2019 in City Park, New Orleans.

  • Golf

The golf team is head coached by Gregory Landry. The Louisiana high school golf state tournament will be held on April 29-30th at the Wetlands Golf Course at 2129 N University Avenue, Lafayette, Louisiana 70507.

  • Tennis

The tennis team is head coached by Duane Simon. The Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Tennis Tournament will take place on April 23– April 27, 2019 at the ULM Tennis Center, Forsythe Park, Bayou Desiard Country Club, Monroe, LA.

Your Lafayette, Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney

If you need to talk to a personal injury attorney in Lafayette, Louisiana, call Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. The experienced attorneys at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers handle a wide range of personal injury matters, including car, motorcycle, and truck accidents. Call us at (337)-900-9000 or contact us through this website.

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Things To Do In Lafayette, Louisiana

April 8, 2019 News 0 Comments

Whether you are looking to explore history and culture, listen to great music, dine on local foods, or enjoy the natural wildlife, Lafayette, Louisiana has something for you.

Lafayette, LA on a map with a red place marker pin.

Vermilionville

Vermilionville is a living history museum and folklife park located on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion. It includes a historic village that showcases the Acadian, Creole, and Native American cultures from 1765 to 1890.

Visitors are transported back in time as they walk through the restored historic homes and gardens and witness local artisans demonstrating the same crafts that were performed by the early settlers.  

Directions

From SW Evangeline Highway: Turn left on LA 728-8. Proceed 0.5 miles to Fisher Road. Turn left on Fisher Road. The parking lot will be on the right. 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette, LA 70508.

Children’s Museum of Acadiana 

The Children’s Museum of Acadiana (CMA) in downtown Lafayette provides hands-on learning and discovery for kids through interactive exhibits, performances, and workshops. Children can experience a bubble factory, a kid’s television station, and a play grocery store among other exhibits.

Directions

From SW Evangeline Highway: Turn right on Jefferson Street and proceed to Garfield Street. Turn left on Garfield Street; travel 2 blocks and turn right on Taylor Street. CMA will be 1 block on the right; enter parking lot from Taylor Street. 201 E. Congress Street, Lafayette, LA 70501.

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

The historic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist was completed in 1916 in the architecturally impressive Dutch Romanesque Revival style. The land for the cathedral was donated in 1821 by Jean Mouton, the founder of Vermilionville. Inside St. John’s Cathedral are original stained glass windows and elaborate oil paintings.

Directions

From SW Evangeline Highway: Turn right on E. 2nd Street. Continue onto W. Congress Street. In 0.2 miles turn left on St. John Street. In 0.3 miles turn right on Cathedral Street. The cathedral will be on the left. 515 Cathedral Street, Lafayette, LA 70501.

Alexandre Mouton House

The historic Alexandre Mouton House was built by Jean Mouton, the founder of Vermilionville, around 1800. From 1825 to 1836, his son Alexandre Mouton resided in the home with his family. Alexander Mouton was the first Democratic Governor of Louisiana from 1843 to 1846.

Directions

From SW Evangeline Highway: Turn right on E. 2nd Street. Continue onto W. Congress Street. Turn left on Lafayette Street. The Alexandre Mouton House is 0.4 miles on the right. 1122 Lafayette Street, LA 70501.

Blue Moon Saloon

The Blue Moon Saloon is one of the premier venues for roots music in America. Here you can enjoy a cold beer or tropical cocktail while dancing to local Cajun, zydeco, swamp pop, and national roots acts.

Directions

From SW Evangeline Highway: Turn right on Johnston Street. Continue for 0.6 miles and turn left on E. Convent Street. The Blue Moon Saloon will be on the left. 215 East Convent Street, Lafayette, Louisiana 70501.

Cypress Island Preserve

Birdwatchers, boaters, and fishermen should be sure to visit the Cypress Island Preserve on Lake Martin. The Preserve is one of the largest wading bird rookeries in North America. 20,000 egrets, herons, ibises, roseate spoonbills, and other species nest in the 2,800-acre swamp each spring. The 2.5-mile walking trail is open from fall to the spring and is suitable for children.

Directions

The Cypress Island Preserve is located between Breaux Bridge and Lafay. Parking is available at the Visitor Center where Rookery Road meets LA Highway 353. 1264 Prairie Hwy, St Martinville, LA 70582.

Bon Temps Grill

Chow down on delicious and authentic Cajun and Creole food in a relaxed atmosphere at Bon Temps Grill. Enjoy unique dishes like crawfish pie, grits and shrimp, and Cajun jerk chicken. Feel free to bring your kids along to this family-friendly restaurant.

Directions

From SW Evangeline Highway: Turn right onto E. Verot School Road. Continue 2.1 miles and Bon Temps Grill will be on your right. 1312 Verot School Road, Lafayette, LA 70508.

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History of Lafayette, Louisiana

April 5, 2019 News 0 Comments


Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana, the heart of Cajun and Creole country, has a deep and colorful history

Early History

The earliest settlers in the Lafayette area were the Atakapa-Ishak Indians. The name “Atakapa” means “man-eater” in Choctaw and according to legend this tribe engaged in cannibalism and ate their prisoners of war.

Acadian Migration

Acadians, who arrived in the Lafayette area between 1765 and 1785, were the first great wave of immigration. Acadians were the decedents of French colonists who settled in Nova Scotia in 1604 and established the colony Acadie. After the War of the Spanish Succession ended in 1714, Acadie was ceded to the British, and the Acadians were forced to pledge allegiance to the British crown and renounce their Catholic religion. They refused. Beginning in 1755, the British governor of Acadie exiled Acadians during a period known as the Great Expulsion or the Grand Dérangement.

The King of Spain extended an invitation to the Acadian refugees to come to Louisiana. Many settled in the area that is now Lafayette because they could live according to their own Roman Catholic beliefs and traditions. The Acadians formed what is today referred to as the Cajun culture.

After French Revolution in 1789, the French presence in Lafayette continued to grow as many French loyalists fled to Louisiana to settle. Louisiana, including the Lafayette area, became the property of the United States in 1803 through the Louisiana Purchase and Americans searching for inexpensive fertile land immigrated to the area.

Founding of Vermilionville

The original village, which later became Lafayette, was given the name Vermilionville in 1821 when Jean Mouton (an Acadian) donated land for the construction of St. John’s Catholic Church. A settlement grew around the church and Mouton made a second land donation for a courthouse. The villagers laid out the cross-grid town with streets named for U.S. presidents.

The fertility of the land gave rise to great sugar and cotton plantations, along with smaller rice plantations. Slave labor from West Africa operated the plantations and by 1860, fifty percent of the population was enslaved.

Lafayette Name Change

The name of the city changed from Vermilionville to Lafayette in 1884. The city was named after French General Marquis de Lafayette who was a hero in French and American Revolutions. By 1884, Lafayette had a railway stop and a growing population. The arrival of the railroad helped propel the town from an agricultural village to a center of commerce and trade. In 1901, the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (SLII), now UL Lafayette, opened its door to students.
Oil Boom

In the 1940s, oil was discovered in Lafayette and the petroleum and natural gas industries became dominant growing the local economy. The Heymann Oil Center was established in 1952 to provide commercial office space for the oil and gas industries. The oil industry in Lafayette has continued to expand and Louisiana is now one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas in the country.

Your Lafayette, Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney

Bart Bernard is an experienced personal injury and car accident attorney serving clients throughout Louisiana, including Lafayette. If you’re an area resident and looking for a Lafayette personal injury attorney, call Bart today and get the help that you need.

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