Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Blog

Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Blog

7 Signs a Loved One Might Be Ready for Assisted Living

September 5, 2017 Nursing Home Neglect 0 Comments

doctor comforts elderly woman in nursing home It’s one of the most emotionally-charged discussions families will have: telling a loved one that they should no longer be living alone, and would be better off in an assisted living facility. When faced with such a life-changing transition, many seniors feel threatened, frustrated and even frightened at the prospect of losing their independence.

While many aging parents may continue to lead a healthy, productive life well into their 70’s and 80’s, others may struggle with the most basic of daily tasks. No one looks forward to placing their parent or loved one in a residential living facility, but there are times when this is the best option for their safety, wellbeing and ongoing medical needs.

7 signs it might be time for assisted living

The decision to move a family member into a nursing home or assisted living facility may be based on a number of factors ranging from dementia-induced impairment to problems with mobility, incontinence or hygiene.

The following examples are early warning signs that it may be time to explore assisted care living.

  1. They fall more frequently and are having difficulty getting around the home, i.e. climbing stairs.
  2. Increased difficulty managing normal daily activities like getting dressed, bathing, shopping, washing laundry and cleaning the house
  3. Changes in personal hygiene become obvious, whether they forgot to shower or now find it too difficult to bathe or brush their teeth
  4. They rarely leave the house and have few active friendships. Be wary of social isolation, which can be dangerous for the infirm and elderly.
  5. They show increased signs of cognitive decline — forgetting things more frequently, becoming easily confused or getting lost in their own communities. Dementia is a progressive disease that only worsens with time.
  6. Their health is deteriorating and they have chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s or COPD that will soon require round-the-clock care
  7. Emergency situations are becoming increasingly common, whether they forgot to turn the stove off and triggered the the fire alarm, crashed their car, or forgot to take their heart medication

Nursing home abuse attorney in Louisiana

Assisted living centers and nursing homes can provide quality care to aging elders who are no longer able to lead an independent life. However, statistics on abuse, neglect and exploitation in these facilities are incredibly disheartening. According to recent reports, an estimated 10 percent of all seniors experience some form of elder abuse every year in the United States.

Due to cognitive decline, many of these victims are unable to communicate the harm sustained, which is why it’s important for family members to take an active role in monitoring their loved one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. In the event neglect or wrongdoing has occurred and a family member or loved one is mistreated, nursing home caregivers, facility owners and other staff may be held liable in court.

Bart Bernard is a highly skilled nursing home abuse lawyer who represents clients throughout southern Louisiana, including Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles. If you suspect elder abuse or neglect, we encourage you to reach out for a free and confidential consultation by dialing 1-888-GET-BART.

Additional Resources on When Assisted Living Should be Considered:

  1., 11 Signs It Might Be Time for Assisted Living
  2. US News, Decide if a Nursing Home Is Necessary
  3. Focus on the Family, When a Nursing Home Must Be Considered
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Louisiana Truck Accidents – 3 Most Common Causes

September 2, 2017 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Truck on freewayFatal commercial vehicles accidents are on the rise across the nation. According to cumulative data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 10 percent of all highway deaths in the United States involve large trucks.

Recent statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) underscore the prevalence of big rig collisions and some of the most common reasons why heavily-loaded tractor trailers are involved in accidents.

  • 22 percent more Americans were killed in large truck accidents in 2015 compared to 2009
  • 3,852 people died in accidents involving big rigs, 18 wheelers or large commercial vehicles in 2015
  • 69 percent of 2015 truck fatalities were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, while 15 percent were motorcyclists, pedestrians or bicyclists
  • In 2015, 64 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents in Louisiana involved tractor trailers

The average semi truck weighs nearly 30 times as much as passenger vehicle, making smaller cars and their occupants particularly vulnerable to catastrophic harm in the event of a collision. In order to identify risk factors and reduce highway deaths, the FMCSA conducted a Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which shed light on some of the leading causes of these life-altering accidents.

3 common causes of truck accidents

Traffic safety officials looked at data from 967 commercial vehicle accidents, finding that poor driver decisions and reckless behavior was a contributing factor in the majority of crashes.

  1. Substance abuse – According to the data, use of prescription medications was a contributing factor in 26.3 percent of the truck accidents. By contrast, only 17.3 percent of crashes were attributed to over-the-counter drug use.
  2. Aggressive behavior/driving too fast for conditions – In almost 23 percent of the large truck accidents, truck operators were driving at unsafe speeds. Reckless and aggressive driving behaviors such as tail gaiting caused more than 6 percent of accidents.
  3. Driver fatigue or distraction – 13 percent of the accidents were caused by fatigue or drowsiness. Surveys indicate that many truck drivers violate FMCSA “hours of service” ( the number of consecutive driving hours allowed between rest periods)in order to meet tight deadlines. Distracted driving or truck driver inattention played a role in 8.5 percent of the crashes studied.

The causation study found that more than a quarter of all large truck accidents involved vehicle problems, including equipment malfunction or brake failure. In some of these scenarios, liability could be attributed to poor maintenance, defective vehicle parts, improper loading or even unsafe driving behaviors.

Legal assistance after a truck accident in Louisiana

These statistics and findings suggest that many commercial vehicle accidents are caused by poor decisions or wrongdoing, and completely preventable. When truck drivers or their employers are negligent in their duties and serious personal injury results, victims have a right to seek compensation. If you or someone you love were harmed in a truck accident in Louisiana, attorney Bart Bernard has the experience, resources and skill to demand justice from liable parties. Plaintiffs can seek monetary damages to account for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses, rehabilitation and ongoing care costs.

To learn more about your legal remedies and rights, speak to a Louisiana truck accident lawyer with a proven track record. There is no fee unless we win or settle your claim! Call today to schedule a free consultation in Lafayette or Baton Rouge.

Additional Louisiana Truck Accident Resources:

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Large Trucks Fatality Facts
  2. FMCSA, The Large Truck Crash Causation Study
  3. FMCSA, Truck Hours of Service
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Proving Fault in a Louisiana Truck Accident Case

August 24, 2017 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Big rig semi truck blue wolf of roadsRecent statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety underscore the alarming frequency of truck accidents in Louisiana and across the nation, which cause thousands of deaths each year. According to 2015 statistics, 69 percent of all truck accident fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles.

Commercial trucks weigh up to 30 times more than passenger vehicles when fully loaded with cargo. 18-wheelers and tractor trailers take 40 percent longer to stop compared to cars and are harder to brake on wet or slippery surfaces. Due to the discrepancy in size and weight between big trucks and cars, passenger vehicle drivers and occupants are incredibly vulnerable to traumatic and life-threatening injuries.

Like all personal injury claims arising from traffic collisions, victims of trucking accidents must prove that the operator of the truck or another party was negligent and that this negligence caused or contributed to the crash.

Why you need a truck accident attorney

Liable parties may include any individual or entity that caused the crash including: the commercial truck operator, the company that employed the driver, or a manufacturer in the case of a defective tire or vehicle component.

In order to recover compensation in a Louisiana truck accident case, your lawyer must gather and present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that wrongdoing occurred. This evidence may show that the truck’s cargo was improperly loaded, the driver was traveling too fast for road or weather conditions or failed to take a mandatory rest period as required by law.

Keep in mind that trucking companies will begin their own investigation into who was to blame. In some cases, vital evidence – like log books—can disappear, putting victims at a distinct disadvantage. For this reason, it’s imperative to enlist the aid of an experienced truck accident attorney who can begin investigations and gather important evidence necessary to demonstrate fault and win your case.

Evidence needed to prove fault in truck crashes

The following are some examples of the types of evidence needed to help prove fault in a commercial vehicle accident case:

  • Black box recordings – Most commercial vehicles have a data recorder installed that monitors how the vehicle is operated. This black box can show the speed at the time of the accident and whether the brakes were applied before the crash.
  • In-truck camera footage – If the tractor trailer had cameras installed, this video footage can be reviewed to see if the driver was tail gaiting or engaging in other dangerous behavior
  • Log books – Whether written or digital, log books contain valuable insight into the driver’s hours logged on the road, rest periods, pre-trip inspections and other work activities. These log books may show evidence of FMSCA trucking industry violations.
  • Drug and alcohol tests – Truck drivers are required by law to undergo drug/alcohol screening after any accident that results in serious personal injury or death.
  • Eyewitness accounts – Individuals who saw the accident unfold and are willing to provide a written statement or testimony can bolster your claims and corroborate allegations that a truck driver was negligent.
  • Expert testimony from crash reconstructionists – Many law firms utilize expert accident reconstructionists, who use photographs and evidence from the scene, in addition to data recordings to help establish the sequence of events, and which party is to blame in the accident. 

Protect your rights to fair compensation

Bart Bernard is a dedicated truck accident lawyer Louisiana trusts to recover fair compensation for personal injury, medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage and pain and suffering caused by another party’s negligence. Over the past decade, he has secured millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients throughout Lafayette, Baton Rouge and surrounding communities.

If you or a loved one were hurt in a trucking accident, you want an attorney who is renowned for his integrity, professionalism and commitment to getting results. Put experience to work for you by scheduling a free case evaluation with attorney Bart Bernard. Don’t delay in seeking legal counsel. Louisiana allows just one year from the date of the injury to bring a lawsuit.

Additional Truck Accident Lawsuit Resources:

  1. FMCSA, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts
  2. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Large Truck Fatality Facts
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How Is Paralysis Evaluated in a Personal Injury Case?

August 17, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

wheelchair in hospital

If you suffered a catastrophic injury resulting in partial or complete paralysis, the medical and hospital costs can be monumental. In addition to these ongoing expenses, paralysis victims may be unable to work, losing wages and earning potential for the rest of their lives. The state of Louisiana allows victims to seek monetary damages for economic and non-economic losses when an accident results in paralysis.

A successful personal injury lawsuit can seek compensation for a variety of damages including diagnostic tests, surgery, hospitalization and treatments, medical equipment such as walkers or wheelchairs, in-home modifications, rehabilitation, physical therapy and in-home nursing aides. A paralysis injury case can also seek money damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of future earning capacity and loss of enjoyment of life.

If you suffered traumatic injury resulting in paralysis because of someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer who is dedicated to securing a more secure future for you and your loved ones.

Because paralysis has a profound impact on your quality of life, and is often followed by secondary complications, your damage award needs to reflect the true extent of your losses, whether you have lost fine motor control abilities or are confined to a wheelchair.

How paralysis damages are calculated

The purpose of a personal injury settlement is to make the plaintiff or victim “whole.” In the context of paralysis accident claims, it is not uncommon for settlements and verdicts to climb into the millions of dollars given the devastating impact on the victim and their ability to lead a normal life.

When measuring loss in catastrophic injury claims involving paralysis, your attorney will not only look at the immediate medical bills and lost wages, but the long-term effects your injury will have on your life.

The most effective way to evaluate how paralysis has impacted an accident victim’s life is by gaining a thorough understanding of their condition, current struggles and prognosis for recovery. Attorneys do this by collaborating with health care professionals charged with your care, medical experts who specialize in spinal cord injury, life care planners, economists and other professionals who can demonstrate the life care needs both today and years into the future.

Measuring damages in a paralysis injury case will take into account several factors:

  • The severity and duration of the injury and whether the paralysis is temporary or permanent
  • The extent of impact upon the victim’s ability to earn a living
  • How the injury diminished the victim’s quality and enjoyment of life
  • How the injury impacted family and social life
  • Accommodations for ramps and housing modifications
  • The need for round-the-clock nursing care

Time limits for suing in Louisiana

Like all states, Louisiana imposes deadlines for filing a personal injury claim against a third party. Known as a “statute of limitations,” this rule allows paralysis victims one year to sue after the date of injury, whether it happened in the workplace, in a motor vehicle accident, or resulted from medical malpractice. If you do not bring a personal injury claim within this time limit, you may lose your right to seeking financial restitution.

Attorney Bart Bernard understands the short and long-term consequences of catastrophic injuries and is dedicated to seeing that his clients are fairly compensated for their physical, financial and emotional damages. For more than two decades, Bart Bernard has been a personal injury lawyer Lafayette and Baton Rouge residents trust to win maximum compensation for their health care costs, lost wages, reduced earning capacity and rehabilitation expenses.

If you have suffered paraplegia or quadriplegia, we invite you to contact our Louisiana personal injury law firm regarding your paralysis case. To schedule a free legal consultation with a results-oriented attorney who fights tirelessly for his clients, call today.

Additional “Paralysis Personal Injury Claim” Resources: 

  1. Health Guidance, Types of Paralysis
  2. American Bar Association, Personal Injury Claims
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What to Do If You Have a Car Accident in Louisiana: A Checklist

August 17, 2017 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Bystanders describing the scene of an accident to the police officerWhat do you do if you have a car accident in Louisiana? It’s best to follow these steps, to ensure your safety, make sure any medical needs are attended to, and to work with law enforcement.

1. Remove yourself and your car from any danger

If you are in traffic or your car is at risk of being hit by traffic, or otherwise in a dangerous place, move it. Don’t move it far, but move it far enough to ensure that you and the car are securely out of danger.

2. Stay at the scene

Never leave the scene of an accident. It could make you at risk for criminal charges later on. Stay at the scene. As indicated above, you may move your vehicle if it’s at risk, but don’t drive away from the general scene.

3. Call an ambulance if needed

If anyone, including other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians, has been injured or is in need of medical attention, call an ambulance.

4. Call the police

The safest thing to do is to call the police. Even if no one is visibly hurt and no law has been violated, a police report will provide details of the incident to your insurance company. If the law has been violated, the police are essential. Tell the officer(s) fully and completely what happened for their report.

If a tow truck needs to be called or the area needs to be cleared, the police can help.

5. Put your hazard lights on

Hazard lights make it clear that an accident has happened. They also make it clear that you are waiting for the police.

6. Exchange information with any other drivers

Exchange your contact and insurance information with any other drivers. Don’t, however, volunteer any information that indicates it was your fault or offer an apology. An apology can be construed by some courts, in some situations, as an indication that you were at fault.

7. Take pictures of the scene

 If you have a smart phone or any other device, take a picture of the scene. Take a picture from all angles of the road and from your car. Take close-up pictures and pictures that show the scene from a distance, but still visible.

8. Take notes on what happened

If you don’t have a camera, write down notes about what happened while the scene is still fresh in your mind. What you did; what the other driver did; road conditions; and weather.

9. Talk to witnesses and get their contact information

If there were witnesses and they are available, get their contact information. If a case goes to court and the other party is at fault, witnesses can help establish your case.

10. See your doctor

See your doctor as soon as possible if you need medical attention.

Even if you don’t need medical attention, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Some consequences of accidents, like concussions or whiplash, don’t have symptoms immediately. Tell your doctor’s office you’ve been in an accident and need to be checked out. Explain to the doctor what happened and what happened to your body.

Speak with an experienced auto accident attorney in Baton Rouge and Lafayette

If you have been involved in a car crash, we’re here to help. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has two convenient offices, one in Baton Rouge and one in Lafayette. For a free consultation with an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney and to find out how much your case might be worth, call our offices today or contact us online.

More Info on What to Do After a Car Accident:

  1. Araujo, Mila. “I Had a Car Accident – Now What? Steps to Take After a Crash.” The Balance, January 31, 2017.
  2. “What to Do After a Car Accident: 10 Steps to Reduce Your Risks.” Consumer Reports, November 2015.
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The Four Most Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Louisiana

August 10, 2017 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

fatal highway car crashIn 2013, 32,700 people were killed in the 5.6 million car accidents that occurred across the country. More than 2.3 million people were injured in these accidents.

In Louisiana, police registered 478 deaths in passenger vehicles during 2015. Nearly 1,000 drivers in our state alone were involved in fatal car crashes.

Most common causes of fatal car accidents in Louisiana

These statistics are very sobering. But it’s even more sobering to look at the causes of fatal car crashes. Nearly all car crashes stem from preventable causes.

National statistics compiled by an insurance industry association indicate that the most common cause of fatal car accidents in Louisiana is failure to operate with required equipment. Seat belts save the lives of 73% of people involved in fatal accidents, including both drivers and passengers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiles data on accidents as well. According to this data, many accidents in our state are caused by excessive drinking and failure to obey the speed limit.

The lives taken by these drivers could, in other words, have been saved by obeying the laws against drinking and driving and going over the speed limit.

In Louisiana, for example, 245 fatal car accidents were related to alcohol impairment. The drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8 or above when tested.

One hundred and sixty-five of the fatal accidents were related to speeding. Cars going at higher speeds do more damage if they hit another vehicle, and they may not be able to stop or slow down in time to avert an accident.

Louisiana drivers between the age of 15 years old and 20 years old were involved in 74 of the fatal accidents. One driver was under the age of 15.

Louisiana as compared to other states

Driving without required equipment, when impaired by alcohol, and speeding are not unique causes of car accidents just in Louisiana, of course. They cause many accidents across the nation. But how does Louisiana rank with other states in causes of car accidents?

Unfortunately, Louisiana ranks #4 for fatalities caused by careless or reckless driving. We also rank #4 for car accident deaths due to speeding.

Finally, Louisiana is one of the states where driving impaired by alcohol causes a high percentage of fatal accidents, although we do not rank in the top 5.

An experienced auto accident attorney in Baton Rouge and Lafayette

If you have been involved in a car crash that caused injuries or death, we can help. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has two offices for the convenience of our clients, one in Baton Rouge and one in Lafayette. For a free consultation with a Louisiana fatal car accident attorney, contact Bart Bernard by phone or online today.

More data on fatal car accidents in Louisiana:

  1. Lake, Rebecca. “Car Accident Statistics: 23 Facts and Fatal Trends.” CreditDonkey, May 30, 2015.
  2. Speiser, Matthew. “This Map Shows What Causes the Most Fatal Car Crashes in Each US State.” Business Insider, May 28, 2015.
  3. U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts, Louisiana, 2011-2015.
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Five Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

July 6, 2017 Motorcycle 0 Comments

motorcycle accidentRoughly 88,000 motorcyclists are injured every year, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). More than 4,500 motorcyclists are killed each year.

Because motorcycles are relatively small vehicles and drivers and riders often very unprotected compared to cars and trucks, the injuries they sustain can be quite severe. Recovering from motorcycle accidents can take time, medical interventions, physical therapy, and more.

What are the most common motorcycle accident injuries?

Leg and foot injuries

The most common motorcycle injuries are to the legs and feet, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Thirty percent of all motorcycle-related injuries occur there. These can range from fractured legs to broken ankles.

Head injuries

Head injuries occur in 22% of all motorcycle accidents. They can range from a concussion, which can be temporary, to traumatic brain injury, which can be permanent. Traumatic brain injury can cause permanent mental impairment and paralysis. Unfortunately, in these type of accidents, much depends on the impact as a driver or passenger crashes or is thrown from the motorcycle, and where they land.

Neck injuries

Neck injuries also occur in 22% of motorcycle accidents, so head and neck injuries are tied for second place in terms of frequency. Like head injuries, neck injuries can be minor or result in major and lasting trauma.

While both head and neck injuries are less common than injuries to legs and feet, they can often be far more severe. A broken leg or sprained ankle will heal. Head and neck injuries can cause lasting damage. Because of the severity of head and neck injuries, all motorcyclists and passengers should always wear Department of Transportation-approved helmets when riding.

Upper trunk injuries

The fourth most common injuries on a motorcycle are those that medical professionals refer to with the term “upper trunk” — your chest, shoulders, and back. Like the other injuries, the severity of these depend on the impact severity and where the motorcyclist is hit.

Lower trunk injuries

Finally, the fifth most common injuries on a motorcycle are to the lower trunk, the hips and pelvis. Like the others, these injuries depend on the impact and nature of the accident.

Seasoned motorcycle accident attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need attorneys seasoned in how to counsel you on a potential case. A motorcycle accident might involve personal injury and thus negligence on the part of another driver or on the part of the state in maintaining a road. Claims can be brought for damages related to medical care, prescriptions, physical therapy, lost wages, re-training, and more.

For your convenience, the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has two Louisiana offices, one in Baton Rouge and one in Lafayette. Our clients include local people and those from out of state who need advice from experienced LA motorcycle crash attorneys.

For a free consultation, call today or contact me online.

Additional “motorcycle injury” resources:

  1. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts. Motorcycles.
  2. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Lower-Extremity Injuries in Motorcycle Crashes. August 2008.
  3. Siler, Wes. “What Body Parts Will You Most Likely Injure in a Motorcycle Crash?” December 24, 2013.
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