Bart Bernard Law Firm Blog

Bart Bernard Law Firm Blog

What Should You Do If You’re Pregnant and Addicted to Opioids?

October 31, 2018 Opioids 0 Comments

Many people in Louisiana and through the nation are being ravaged by opioid addiction. But it’s even worse if you

Thoughtful pregnant woman looks out the windowMany people in Louisiana and through the nation are being ravaged by opioid addiction. But it’s even worse if you are pregnant and addicted to opioids.

Why? Because opioid addition can cause multiple health and behavioral problems for your baby. Your baby may be born with a syndrome called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which causes both health and behavior difficulties. Your baby may be born prematurely, which can also lead to health complications.

Don’t Go Off Opioids During Pregnancy If You’re Addicted

So what should you do if you’re pregnant and addicted to opioids? You might think quitting is the best choice. Don’t, without talking to your doctor or another health care provider. Going cold turkey, as quitting abruptly is called, could cause even more problems for the baby. Babies who have been exposed at all in your womb can go through withdrawal if you quit, and they are tiny and defenseless.

So what should you do? The first step is talking to a qualified health care provider.

Therapies

The providers may recommend therapies. There are two predominant therapies for addicted people. One is called medication-assisted therapy (MAT) and one is known as opioid-assisted therapy (OAT).

Both involve taking prescribed opioids that are long-lasting during your pregnancy and even after the baby is born. These opioids will decrease your need for opioids, but are safe during pregnancy. They do not produce euphoria the way that opioids do.

The drugs you are prescribed could be methadone, buprenorphine, or naloxone. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the dosage you need and tell you how to use it.

Counseling

Another step if you’re pregnant and addict is counseling. Your health care provider may recommend individual or group drug counseling, or both.

Counseling can help you overcome the desire to take drugs and provide skills in learning how to manage pregnancy and other life events.

Importantly, counseling involves talking through how to manage or eliminate situations that make you want to take drugs, or be more likely to take them.

Consult Attorney Bart Bernard About Filing an Opioid Addiction Lawsuit

Opioid addiction often occurs as a result of opioid manufactures not warning mothers, mothers-to-be and their doctors about the risks of addiction. Bart Bernard is an experienced Louisiana attorney who has assisted opioid-addicted mothers and their families who children have been born with NAS or other difficulties related to addition.

At Bart Bernard, we will handle your situation with care and concern. We are experienced in recovering damages from medical injury.

Our initial consultation on your case is free and we have two offices in the state for your convenience.  “Click Bart First, Call Bart First™”!

Additional Resources:

  1. March of Dimes. Prescription opioids during pregnancy. https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/prescription-opioids-during-pregnancy.aspx
  2. SAMHSA. Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
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How to Choose the Right Injury Lawyer

October 25, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

If you or a loved one have been injured by another party, you may be considering bringing a lawsuit for

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtIf you or a loved one have been injured by another party, you may be considering bringing a lawsuit for damages suffered, such as medical expenses and lost wages from work. Or, you may be wondering what one needs to bring a legal case in terms of the other party’s liability and evidence.

It’s an excellent idea to talk to a personal injury lawyer. But how can you make sure you choose the right one?

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer

Finding a referral to a lawyer takes a bit of legwork. It’s a good idea to interview several lawyers before making a decision. Finding names of experienced personal injury lawyers is somewhat similar to finding the name of a good doctor or real estate agent: you ask people who know and go to a professional association.

1. Talk to friends and family

If you have a friend or family member who has used a personal injury lawyer, ask if they felt the service they received was good. Were the comfortable talking to the person? Were the explanations about their case clear and easy to understand? Was it convenient to get in touch with the lawyer?

Also ask friends and family who have worked with another type of lawyer and been happy with the service, such as a divorce/family lawyer. Lawyers often work together, but have different specialties. A good one is one area is highly likely to know a good one in another area.

2. Contact the local bar association

Lawyers generally belong to the leading professional association for their profession, the local bar association.

Most bar associations maintain referrals services, such as directories categorized by their specialty area.

What to Ask During the Initial Consultation with an Injury Lawyer

Once you have several names of lawyers, you want to schedule an initial consultation about your questions/your case.

It’s important to note that, while most lawyers see potential clients for the initial consultation at no charge, some do charge. Be sure and ask whether there is a charge before you make the appointment. Good attorneys will not charge you for the first session, because it is simply to discuss the case, not work on it.

It’s also a good idea to bring documentation about the case. This will help the lawyer answer your questions. If, for example, you have medical records about your injuries, police reports about the accident, or correspondence with an insurance company about claims, that is all helpful. So is information about any lost wages the injuries may have cost you.

Then, you want to ask the lawyer about their experience.

Find out how many years they have been practicing personal injury law. Ask what percentage of their cases are personal injury-related. It’s also important to ask whether they specialize in injury law for the plaintiff (the person injured) or the defendant (the party accused of the injury).

You want a lawyer who is experienced, who handles a high percentage of personal injury cases, and who tries cases for the same type of client you are, whether plaintiff or defendant.

Once you have a good sense of these issues, discuss what your goals in a settlement are. Clients and their lawyers should be in agreement about these goals, or the relationship is unlikely to be a good one.

Generally speaking, there are 3 broad potential goals. There’s no right or wrong goal, but it’s good to have yours in mind, and get advice from the injury lawyer about whether your goals are realistic.

  1. The first potential goal is to obtain a reasonable settlement for you, with minimal cost and little, if any, time in court. Sometimes, a defendant will settle out of court, if a plaintiff’s case is very strong.
  2. The second potential goal is to receive an amount higher than what the insurance company was willing to pay, as soon as possible.
  3. The third is to receive the highest damage compensation possible, regardless of time.

Call Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer Bart Bernard Today

If you’re looking for a seasoned Louisiana personal injury attorney, look no further than the Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm. We have offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, for our clients’ convenience.

Our initial consultation on your case is free and comes with no obligation. Call or contact Bart Bernard online today.

Additional Resources:

  1. Louisiana State Courts, https://courts.uslegal.com/state-courts/louisiana-state-courts/
  2. Justia, Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 2323 — Comparative fault, https://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/cc/cc2323
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Your Car Accident Coverage May Not Be As Good As You Think

October 19, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Most people purchase insurance so that they are protected in case of accidents and injuries. If they are injured or

Couple Reading Letter About Husband's InjuryMost people purchase insurance so that they are protected in case of accidents and injuries. If they are injured or their property damage, an insurance company pays for medical attention and hospital care and to repair or replace the property. If you injured someone or damaged someone’s property, insurance pays for for these things for the other party, if you are deemed at fault. Insurance is designed to protect people from having to pay for injuries or property damage out of pocket, because paying out of pocket could be catastrophic financially — and not being able to pay could be catastrophic in other areas.

People also tend to trust insurance companies. But after an accident, that trust could be misplaced.

After all, insurance companies are running a business. They have every incentive to minimize the payments to you, because it means more profits for them and their shareholders.

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

As a result, people need to be careful when dealing with an insurance company after an accident. In fact, it’s a really good idea to have an attorney present when negotiating with an insurance company. Attorneys are skilled negotiators with long experience dealing with the aftermath of accidents. They 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 might have — 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 prove you were responsible or to blame.
  3. Minimizing or lowballing medical conditions – Insurance companies may try to minimize the injuries or conditions caused by the accident, or minimize the amount of treatment needed. They may also lowball the dollar amounts needed for treatment.
  4. Delay the claims and payments – Delaying claims and payments is, unfortunately, a tried-and-true method. Companies 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 Personal Injury Law Firm. 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, for your convenience.

Our initial consultation on your case will happen at no cost to you. Call today or contact us online today.

Additional Resources:

  1. How to Negotiate Your Car’s Value with an Auto Insurer after an Accident. ValuePenguin. https://www.valuepenguin.com/how-negotiate-auto-insurance-company-after-accident.
  2. Tips for Settling a Car Insurance Claim. https://www.dmv.org/insurance/tips-for-settling-a-car-insurance-claim.php.
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Halloween Safety Tips for Parents

October 17, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

As fall weather finally begins to settle into Louisiana, children and adults alike are preparing their costumes and decorations for

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 times 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. If the fun has turned tragic, you need a skillful and compassionate advocate. Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident attorney Bart Bernard understands the impact that a pedestrian accident can have and is here to fight for the rights of those affected. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, call today for a free consultation.

Additional Halloween safety resources:

  1. National Safety Council, Halloween Safety On and Off the Road, https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics, Halloween SafetyTips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx
  3. Centers for Disease Control, Childhood Pedestrian Deaths During Halloween — United States, 1975-1996, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00049687.htm
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Teens Texting and Driving: A Growing Epidemic

October 11, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

A recent study shows a disturbing trend about teenagers and cars. Nearly 38% text while driving. Not only that, but

teens texting and drivingA recent study shows a disturbing trend about teenagers and cars. 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 that the national average. In South Dakota, for example, 64% do; in North Dakota, 58%; and in Montana, 55% do. (Louisiana was not covered in the survey.)

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 is clearly a hazard to themselves, any 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. Put your phone away while driving or even being in the car. 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 away from the road just 2 seconds. But a matter of seconds is enough for a car to pull out in front of them, or a child to walk in front of them. It’s enough to be have an accident that will kill them.

3. Use an App to Make Texting and Driving Impossible

Several apps are available that interface with the car’s GPS to make texting while the car is being driven impossible. You can monitor them 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 Personal Injury Law Firm, with offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Our initial consultation on your case will happen at no cost to you. Call today to speak with Bart Bernard, an experienced Louisiana texting and driving accident lawyer who will fight for maximum compensation under the law.

Additional Resources:

  1. How Parents Can Stop Teens Texting and Driving. KidSafe. March 22, 2018. https://www.teensafe.com/blog/parents-can-stop-teens-texting-driving/
  2. 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. https://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(18)30250-7/fulltext
  3. Young, Sarah D. “Nearly 40 percent of teens text while driving, study finds. Consumer Affairs. August 20, 2018. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/nearly-40-percent-of-teens-text-while-driving-study-finds-082018.html
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5 Facts about Roundup Cancer Litigation

October 5, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

The weed-killing chemical marketed as Roundup is at the heart of growing litigation concerning allegations that it causes cancer. Claimants

roundup sprayThe weed-killing chemical marketed as Roundup is at the heart of growing litigation concerning allegations that it causes cancer. Claimants around the country argue that manufacturer Monsanto failed to adequately warn about the carcinogenic risks associated with glyphosate – the key ingredient in the popular herbicide.

Just last month Monsanto was hit with a $289 million verdict in one of the first Roundup cancer lawsuits to go to trial. The plaintiff, a former school groundskeeper named Dewayne Johnson who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after years of using the weed killer, prevailed in a California trial after just three days of deliberations. The trial marks a significant victory for other plaintiffs with similar allegations against Monsanto, who await their day in court.

This lawsuit is just the first phase in what will likely be a massive legal battle over glyphosate and its current product labeling and approved uses in the United States.

Here are five important facts about Roundup cancer litigation.

More than 4,000 complaints are pending

Johnson’s case is joined by more than 4,000 other Roundup claims alleging the product causes cancer. Many of these suits are pending in states like Missouri, Montana, Delaware, Arizona and Nebraska. Hundreds more have been consolidated in San Francisco Superior Court before Judge Vince Chhabria.

CA verdict bodes well for future Roundup cases

Jurors awarded Johnson, who was not expected to live through the end of trial, $39 million for compensatory damages and another $250 million to punish Monsanto for willfully failing to warn of Roundup’s risks. While Monsanto is appealing the judgement, this verdict sent a powerful message to the agrochemical giant.

Juries are not asked to determine if Roundup causes cancer

Jurors are not tasked with determining if glyphosate exposure causes cancer. They are instead asked to determine if Monsanto had scientific knowledge of the product’s risks and if they failed to caution consumers about these dangers.

The next Roundup trial is scheduled for late October

The next Roundup trial is slated for later this month and will take place in Missouri state court. By that time, the Monsanto brand will be retired from the markets. Bayer acquired Monsanto this summer for a reported $60 billion and will be assuming all liability in Roundup cases moving forward.

Glyphosate health risks

For decades, Roundup has been used to kill weeds on major agricultural crops, lawns, golf courses and private gardens across the globe. Some studies have shown that glyphosate-based products have been tied to cancers such as hairy cell leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. As ongoing research uncovers more information about the level of glyphosate exposure needed and who is most at risk, there remains substantial concern that the weed-killer is not as safe as Monsanto would have the public believe.

Protect your rights – call Bart Bernard today

If you or a family member developed cancer after using Roundup weed-killer, it’s important to know your rights. You may be eligible for legal compensation to account for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™! Don’t take chances with just any Louisiana personal injury attorney. Call today to see if you are eligible to file a Roundup cancer lawsuit. Bart Bernard is not intimidated by complex injury claims against corporate defendants and will fight to win maximum compensation. Schedule your free case review by calling 888-GET-BART today.

Additional Resources on Roundup Cancer Lawsuits:

  1. Fox News, Can using weed killer give you cancer? https://www.foxnews.com/health/can-using-weed-killer-give-you-cancer
  2. Business Insider, A common weed-killer chemical is at the heart of a $289 million cancer lawsuit https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-glyphosate-monsanto-cancer-roundup-lawsuit-2018-8
  3. CBS News, Weed-killing chemical linked to cancer found in some children’s breakfast foods https://www.cbsnews.com/news/glyphosate-roundup-chemical-found-in-childrens-breakfast-foods/
  4. Fortune, Monsanto Has to Pay $289 Million in Damages in First Roundup Cancer Trial http://fortune.com/2018/08/11/monsanto-roundup-cancer-trial-verdict/
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How Much Is My Traumatic Brain Injury Case Worth?

September 26, 2018 Brain Injuries 0 Comments

Often, clients are curious about what a traumatic brain injury (TBI) case may be worth in legal damages. The question

Doctor analyzing human skull x-ray screening image in hospital office during medical examOften, clients are curious about what a traumatic brain injury (TBI) case may be worth in legal damages. The question is a good one.

“Damages” is the term used in legal cases to refer to the monetary compensation decided upon by a settlement or court award. Determining a just amount of damages can be very complicated in an accident that leads to a TBI. A TBI incurred because of the negligence of another can cause a number of injuries, ranging from frequent headaches to total paralysis and a need for around-the-clock care. Multiple surgeries may be needed. The patient may require training for a position different than the work held before the accident, or may never be able to work again. The injuries may be short term and curable, or long term and permanent.

Proper assessment of just monetary compensation under the law requires the expertise of healthcare professionals. These professionals will review the TBI injuries sustained, the treatments recommended, and any required long-term care.

The fact is that no set formula exists for TBI cases. Why? Because every accident and its impact is unique to the person to whom it happened. Your pain and emotional suffering can include trauma, sleep loss, anxiety, and depression, and it won’t be exactly the same as other plaintiffs.

As a result, Louisiana TBI lawyer Bart Bernard will gather information from your doctors and related healthcare providers to comprehensively assess your potential brain injury claim.

Types of compensation in a TBI claim

While it isn’t possible to give a damage amount with certainty, it is possible to say what types of available compensation exist for a TBI accident. Bart Bernard will always seek fair and full compensation to reimburse you for any economic and non-economic losses you may have sustained.

  • Medical expenses, past, current, and future – Medical expenses include all hospital and ambulatory expenses, physician visits, physical therapy, medical care, and treatments that you’ve incurred, in addition to anticipated needs in the future
  • Lost wages, past and future–the complete amount of income you’ve lost due to the TBI and estimated loss of future earning capacity
  • Out of pocket expenses – OOP expenses can include transportation costs to get to and from hospitals, medical appointments, medication costs, medical device equipment needed in the past and the future, parking fees, etc.
  • Pain and suffering– pain and suffering awards are termed “special damages.” They are given for psychological trauma that causes a life disruption, including grief, significant inconvenience, fear, anxiety, and the loss of the enjoyment of life.
  • Loss of consortium – Extremely serious accidents like those that cause a TBI impact not only the patient, but their families. Damages for loss of consortium are awarded for loss of the care, intimacy, support, and guidance that a family could have anticipated receiving if the TBI hadn’t occurred.

Calculating TBI damages

The vast majority of TBI claims, particularly if they occurred in a workplace, are settled out of court, by insurance companies or defendants. As a result, just 10% come to court.

But it is a good idea for claimants to understand how the dollar figure of damages is determined.

A significant portion of the monetary value of cases is usually determined by looking at physical injuries. The following give an overview of the types of questions and considerations defendants and insurance companies review.

  • “Hard injuries” — head trauma, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and so forth — tend to be receive higher recovery amounts than “soft injuries,” such as torn ligaments.
  • Long-term recovery: will the patient need surgeries, medical visits, and physical therapy in the future?
  • Will you need a wheelchair or medical device?
  • The age of the patient and overall health at the time the injury was sustained. An 18-year-old may obtain a more significant damage award monetarily than a 70-year-old.
  • Whether the TBI injury has affected the ability to work or to perform activities of daily life.
  • Is there loss of income stemming from the injuries?
  • Are you permanently disfigured or disabled?
  • Will you be able to work at your prior job, and does that have an impact on your future earnings?
  • Did you sustain emotional trauma such as difficulty concentrating,  post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anxiety?
  • Has the accident’s effects meant that your partner and/or children were deprived of care, guidance, or companionship they would have received before the accident?

Generally, TBI compensation will likely be higher if the result was catastrophic injury (brain damage, quadriplegia), lengthy recovery, partial or permanent disability, and/or loss of future income.

Head Trauma or Concussion? Call TBI Lawyer Bart Bernard in Louisiana

If you or a loved one sustained a traumatic brain injury due to another party’s carelessness or negligence you may be eligible for monetary compensation for damages. Bart Bernard is a Louisiana attorney with the legal expertise, skills, and financial resources to obtain the best outcome possible in your case.

Schedule a free case review in Baton Rouge or Lafayette by calling today.

More information on compensation for traumatic brain injury:

  1. CDC, Severe TBI, https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/severe.html
  2. National Institutes of Health, The costs of traumatic brain injury: a literature review, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3699059/
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