Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Blog

Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Blog

A Distracted Driver Caused My Crash: How Do I Prove It?

May 9, 2017 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Bystanders describing the scene of an accident to the police officerDistracted driving accidents kill 8 Americans each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Numerous studies have shown that texting while driving and other distracting activities are among the leading causes of auto accidents in this country. Every day in the United States, distracted drivers cause thousands of accidents, injuring more than 1,160 people, reports the CDC.

How do victims of these preventable tragedies prove that another motorist was talking on their cell phone, texting, eating or otherwise distracted at the time of the crash?

Without compelling evidence, distracted drivers may avoid liability for the injuries, property damage and losses that ensue because of their negligent actions.

If you were involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, here are five important elements that can help prove your case.

How to a prove a distracted driver caused the crash

  1. Police Report – After any type of motor vehicle accident, a police report must be filed. If you personally saw the other motorist engaged in distracted behavior before the crash, be sure to include this important detail when speaking to the officer, who will include it in the report along with other observations regarding the circumstances leading up to the crash.
  2. Eyewitness testimony – Oftentimes, there are other people—whether bystanders, pedestrians, or other passengers – who witnessed the crash and are willing to provide a written statement about if they saw the other driver talking on his or her mobile, texting or engaging in other distracted behaviors. This statement will be included in the official police report and also may be admitted as evidence should the case go to court.
  3. Video footage – In some instances, surveillance cameras from traffic lights, parking garages and intersections may capture clear views of a driver engaging in other activities at the time of the accident. Such footage may compel the liable motorist to settle a claim quickly, rather than go to court.
  4. Cell phone records – A distracted driver’s cell phone records that show the exact time that phone calls and texts were answered are admissible in court, and may lend credence to a plaintiff’s claim for damages.
  5. Photographs of the scene – Photos or video taken of the accident scene (including the inside of both vehicles) can shed light on what the motorist was doing prior to the crash. A half-eaten sandwich, open laptop or make-up case may suggest that driver was not paying attention and introduce the very real possibility that the defendant was driving while distracted.

Consult with a Louisiana car accident lawyer

Establishing liability in a distracted driving accident isn’t always straightforward, which is why victims need to partner with a skilled car accident attorney in Baton Rouge and Lafayette who can help prove their case. If you or someone you love was hurt by a distracted driver in Louisiana, Bart Bernard has the resources and experience to secure just compensation from the at-fault parties.

Call 1-888-GET-BART to arrange a private, no-cost case review today.

Additional “Distracted Driving” Resources:

  1. NHTSA, Distracted Driving
  2. CDC, Distracted Driving,
  3. National Safety Council, Thousands have Died in Crashes Involving Cell Phone Use
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May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 5, 2017 Motorcycle 0 Comments

motorcycles on the roadMay is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a public safety campaign that urges both motorcyclists and motorists to exercise caution when sharing the road. The warmer, sunnier days lead to more motorcycles on the road – and more motorcycle accidents.

Top causes of Louisiana motorcycle accidents include left hand turns, driver inexperience, alcohol use, speeding, and traveling during rush hour. No matter what type of vehicle you’re driving, understanding how to reduce these risks is necessary to prevent serious, life-threatening injuries from occurring.

Louisiana motorcycle accident statistics

Louisiana State University data analysis from 2015 found that:

  • Of the 159,265 licensed motorcycle drivers in Lafayette Parish, there were 4 fatalities and 87 serious injuries.
  • Of the 267,690 licensed motorcycle drivers in East Baton Rouge, there were 2 fatalities and 164 injuries.

One study ranked Louisiana as having “the worst motorcycle drivers” in America, with 49 fatalities per million miles driven. Louisiana bikers also incurred 41 citations for driving drunk, 18 failure to obey tickets, and 47 citations for careless driving.

Motorcyclist safety tips

Motorcyclists are at greater risk of sustaining serious injury when paired against a heavier and better protected motor vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “motorcyclists are about 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash, and 6 times as likely to be injured.”

Motorcyclists are advised to:

  • Call 800-446-9227 to find the nearest defensive driving course for motorcyclists.
  • Wear proper protective gear such as a DOT-standard helmet and reflective clothing.
  • Maintain motorcycles with regular state-required inspections.
  • Get accustomed to a new bike in a well-controlled area before taking it into traffic.
  • Be familiar with the roads they are traveling, looking out for road hazards like potholes or blind curves.
  • Know the forecasted weather conditions before departing.
  • Proceed cautiously at intersections, yielding to pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • Be aware of their surroundings at all times, double-checking blind spots and signaling before changing lanes, passing, or turning.

Driver safety tips

An automobile driver’s life can change in the blink of an eye. No one wants to be held responsible for negligence that kills or disables another person. Motor vehicle drivers must:

  • Avoid distraction – whether it’s drinking, eating, texting, fiddling with the radio or GPS, or talking to passengers.
  • Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, especially when changing lanes or turning at intersections.
  • Predict that oncoming motorcycles will arrive faster than imagined, since they often appear further away.
  • Allow 3-4 seconds of following distance, since many motorcyclists roll off the throttle instead of braking.
  • Wear sunglasses and use visors to reduce glare, so motorcycles are more visible.
  • Avoid making turns or changing lanes when the view is obstructed.

Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyer

Need a Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyer? Contact Bart Bernard in Baton Rouge or Lafayette. For the past two decades, he has taken on some of the most challenging automobile accident cases – and won. He was ranked among the top 1% of trial lawyers and received the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents Litigator Award in 2015. Bart Bernard has maintained a reputation for securing large settlements and awards for motorcycle accident victims. Contact him today for a free case evaluation.

Additional motorcycle safety resources:

  1. Data Reports – Motorcycle Crashes,
  2. Cyril Huze Blog – Study Reveals Worst Motorcycle Drivers By State,
  3. NHTSA – Motorcycle Safety,
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How Much is My Hernia Mesh Case Worth?

May 1, 2017 Defective Devices 0 Comments

us-supreme-court-low-725x543Chronic pain, severe infections, bowel obstruction, perforations and adhesions are just some of the life-altering complications associated with hernia mesh implants. Over the past several years, hundreds of Americans have filed claims alleging that hernia mesh devices produced by Ethicon, C.R. Bard, Atrium and other manufacturers were defective and sold without adequate warning.

Due to the high rate of serious health complications and hernia recurrence, multiple mesh implants have been recalled from the market, including Ethicon’s Physiomesh inserts. At present, courtrooms across the country have been inundated with hernia mesh lawsuits in which plaintiffs are demanding monetary compensation for their injuries, hospital bills, corrective surgeries, pain, suffering and other losses.

One of the most commonly asked questions by claimants who are awaiting their day in court is “how much is my hernia mesh case worth?” While previous hernia mesh litigation suggest a broad range of possible outcomes (Kugel mesh settlements averaged $70,000 per plaintiff and a separate trial resulted in a $1.5 million dollar verdict), the amount of compensation recovered will depend on the specific circumstances of each case.  The following are some factors that will affect the potential value of your case.

The value of your hernia mesh case

First, it’s important to understand the types of damages available to plaintiffs in product liability litigation.  These include:

  • Compensatory damages: This compensation is intended to reimburse plaintiffs for their actual hospital and medical expenses (both current and future) lost income, and future lost earning potential.
  • Pain and suffering: Physical pain resulting from the injury, including aches and pains, discomfort, scarring, and limitations on normal activity
  • Loss of consortium: When one spouse is deprived of the love, affection, comfort and other normal family relationship due to their partner’s injury
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant if it is determined that they acted with reckless or wanton behavior that intentionally caused harm.

In order to determine the potential value of a hernia mesh case, your attorney will evaluate the following elements:

  • The type of hernia mesh device used -Was the device recalled by the FDA or voluntarily pulled off the market by the manufacturer? Are there substantive studies and adverse reports about serious complications tied to the particular type/model of hernia mesh
  • Level of injuries suffered– Defective medical devices can cause a wide range of debilitating injuries that diminish one’s quality of life. The nature and severity of a plaintiff’s injuries are one of the most critical factors in assessing the value of a claim. In situations where the plaintiff endured multiple surgeries, prolonged hospital stays and sustained permanent damage, the payouts will likely be much higher.
  • Amount of medical bills– the amount of money paid for doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, medications, surgeries and assistive medical devices.
  • How the injuries/complications have impacted your life – compensation awards are generally higher in cases where your injury has had significant negative impacts on your daily life and ability to work.  For example, a plaintiff who suffers from chronic infections and life-long digestive problems due to hernia mesh complications.
  • Loss of wages and future earnings – The amount of lost income will also factor in to a settlement or jury award. Plaintiffs who were unable to work for a long period of time or who cannot return to their previous employment because of permanent disability are entitled to financial recovery for past, present and future loss of earnings.

Experienced Louisiana hernia mesh attorney

Hernia mesh complications can undermine one’s quality and enjoyment of life, leaving victims to grapple with chronic pain, scarring, inflammation, kidney problems and a host of other incapacitating issues. If you or someone you love has suffered adverse side effects after hernia mesh implantation, you deserve experienced legal help.

Bart Bernard is a highly skilled hernia mesh lawyer who represents clients in Louisiana and throughout the United States. To discuss your case free of charge, we invite you to call today.

Additional “Hernia Mesh Lawsuit” Resources: 

  1. FDA, Hernia Surgical Mesh Implants
  2. PennRecord, Pittsburgh judge in polypropylene mesh case ‘followed well-settled law,’
  3. LegalExaminer, MDL May Be on the Horizon for Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
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Who Is Most Likely to Die in a Motorcycle Accident?

May 1, 2017 Motorcycle 0 Comments

Motorbike Accident on the road with a car

Motorcycle riding can be an exhilarating means of travel – and is one that has grown in popularity across the nation. However, operating a motorcycle is not without risks since bikers are so vulnerable to life-threatening injury in the event of a crash. State highway traffic data indicates that nearly 5,000 Americans were killed on motorcycles in 2015 – a staggering 10 percent increase compared with the previous year. According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists are on average 27 times more likely than car occupants to die in an accident, and almost five times more likely to suffer grave injuries.

We already know that excessive speed, negligent rider behavior and lack of protective gear all contribute to the risk of being harmed in a motorcycle crash, but given the rising number of deaths, it’s important to look at research that highlights key factors that increase motorcycle accident (and death) risk.

Factors that Increase Motorcycle Fatality Risks

Recent data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA) underscores some of the dangers facing motorcyclists today. The following are some of the biggest risk factors:

  • Older riders – motorcyclists who are over the age of 40 are more susceptible to being killed in an accident. In 2015, 54 percent of motorcycle fatalities were people aged 40 or over.
  • Male riders – 91 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2015 were males.
  • Motorcyclists who do not wear helmets – Failing to wear a safety helmet can increase fatality risk by as much as 30 percent. Louisiana helmet laws mandate that all motorcyclists and passengers –regardless of age – wear DOT-approved safety helmets with chin straps.
  • Aggressive riding behavior – According to research by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, aggressive behavior including speeding or passing on the right is linked to an 18-fold increased risk in crash. 35 percent of deadly crashes involve a speeding motorcyclist.
  • Motorcyclists whose engines are larger – In 2015, 31 percent of all motorcycle fatalities involved bikes with engine sizes larger than 1,400 cc.
  • Motorcyclists impaired by alcohol or drugs – In 2015, 27 percent of motorcycle riders who died in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit. Statistically, bikers between the ages of 35 to 39 were more likely to be fatally injured because of alcohol use.
  • Inexperienced motorcyclists without training/skill – The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reports that lack of knowledge and skill of motorcycle riding is tied to a 9-fold increased accident risk.
  • Operating a motorcycle without a valid driver’s license – In 2015, an estimated 27 percent of motorcycle deaths occurred in bikers who did not have a valid driver’s license.
  • Motorcycle type – In 2015, the majority of motorcycle accident deaths involved cruising/ standard bikes and touring motorcycles.
  • City dwellers – 49 percent of motorcycle accident deaths occur in urban areas, and more than half of all fatalities occur on major roads, versus freeways and interstates.

Louisiana motorcycle accident lawyer

If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to seek legal counsel who can establish liability and pursue compensation for your damages and injuries. Damages recovered in a personal injury claim can include those for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damages, and out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the accident. Bart Bernard is not only a top-rated motorcycle accident attorney in Louisiana who gives each client the attention and respect they deserve.

To schedule a free consultation in Lafayette or Baton Rouge, please call the Personal Injury Bart Bernard Personal Injury Lawyers today.

Additional “Motorcycle Accident Fatality” Resources:

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Motorcycles and ATVs
  2. Insurance Information Institute, Motorcycle Crashes
  3. Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Factors that Increase and Decrease Motorcyclist Crash Risk
  4. Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA)  Motorcyclist Deaths Surge 10% in 2015
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Top Road Hazards That Cause Motorcycle Accidents

April 27, 2017 Motorcycle 0 Comments

motorcycle accidentFatalities from motorcycle accidents comprise 5% of all traffic deaths per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorcycle crashes claimed the lives of nearly 4,700 people in 2015, which was more than double the number in 1997, as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Road hazards are one of the most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents.

Road hazards exist for all forms of vehicles, of course. But road conditions that pose little or no danger to cars, such as highway expansion joints, can cause major accidents for a motorcycle. This is especially true in inclement weather.

And, of course, motorcyclists are relatively unprotected in the event of an accident. Helmets can reduce injuries, particularly to the head. But not all states mandate helmets. There are not several thousand pounds of metal protecting motorcyclists as there are with cars.

As a result, motorcyclists should watch out for the top 5 road hazards that cause motorcycle accidents. Being aware of road hazards is an essential part of a motorcycle driver and rider safety plan.

Road Hazard #1: Rough Roads

Roads that are rough and bumpy are the #1 road hazard for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists should make every effort to avoid construction work, resurfacing, or just roads in poor condition.

Road Hazard #2: Gravel

Gravel can cause a motorcyclist to spin or a driver to lose control. It is particularly dangerous when turning a corner. It tends to be more prevalent on rural, winding roads. Bikers like to use these roads because they’re scenic, but need to pay close attention to the gravel hazard.

Road Hazard #3: Edge Breaks

Edge breaks occur when two adjacent traffic lanes are not the same height. This can be noticeable in a car, but isn’t dangerous. It can be dangerous for motorcyclists, though, as it affects operation of the vehicle.

Road Hazard #4: Expansion Joints

Expansion joints suture two sections of a road together, or a road to a bridge. They are a means for the road to expand or contract as needed without cracking the surface. These are especially dangerous for motorcyclists in inclement weather.

Road Hazard #5: Open Bridge Joints

Joints are also used to hold separate sections of a bridge together, for the same reason expansion joints are used on roads. On bridges, though, some joints are quite wide. The width and the variability in surface also can make it hard for motorcyclists to maintain control of their vehicle. Inclement weather increases the danger here as well.

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Louisiana

Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers is experienced in motorcycle accident law. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to the negligence of another party on a Louisiana road, we can provide advice on your rights at no charge to you.

For a free consultation with a Baton Rouge or Lafayette motorcycle accident lawyer, call today or contact us online.

Additional “road hazards and motorcycle accidents” resources:

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Highway Loss Data Institute. Motorcycles. Motorcycles and ATVs.
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorcycle Safety.
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Safety. Motorcycle Safety.
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Bart Bernard Selected as One of America’s Top 100 Attorneys

April 24, 2017 News 0 Comments

ATA_LifetimeWe are pleased to announce that Bart Bernard has been recognized as one of America’s Top 100 Attorneys™ — an honor bestowed on less than 0.5% of active attorneys in the United States. As a recipient of this prestigious accolade, Bart Bernard joins the ranks of an elite level of attorneys in the state of Louisiana and legal professionals nationwide.

A skilled personal injury lawyer with more than 20 years of experience, Bart Bernard has represented Louisiana residents in a broad variety of complex legal claims involving commercial vehicle crashes, offshore, maritime and industrial workplace accidents, as well as litigation arising from defective medical devices and pharmaceuticals. His many successes and courtroom victories have previously earned him membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the in Elite Lawyers of America.

America’s Top 100 Attorneys selection process

bart-bernardAmerica’s Top 100 Attorneys distinguishes the nation’s most accomplished attorneys, whose ethical standards, professional achievements and community enriching endeavors demonstrate their commitment to the highest principles of the legal profession.

The nomination and selection process entails rigorous evaluation and screening, which is based not on a single accomplishment but rather a lifetime of inspiring hard work. A mere 100 lawyers in each state receive this honor, and nominees are vetted through the organization’s multi-phase analysis system that factors in significant case verdicts, peer reputation, legal awards and client satisfaction, in addition to lifetime accomplishments in the field of law. According to America’s Top 100 Attorneys, their comprehensive screening methods help assure that only the most exceptional attorneys are selected for membership within the state.

Inclusion in this venerable list is a great honor, as peer nominations are not accepted, and all candidates are thoroughly vetted through intensive third-party research.

Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers

Since starting his practice more than two decades ago, Bart Bernard has remained dedicated to helping his communities in Lafayette and Baton Rouge by achieving superior results for his clients. When not advocating for the unjustly injured, Bart is often raising funds for local non-profits, supporting food drives for the less fortunate, and spearheading other initiatives to better the community.

For more information about Louisiana personal injury attorney Bart Bernard, or to schedule a free case evaluation, please call today.

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How Long Can Someone Stay on Workers’ Compensation?

April 21, 2017 Workers Comp 0 Comments

lost wagesThe vast majority of employees – including full-time, part-time and seasonal workers — in Louisiana are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits in the event they are injured on the job. Depending on the circumstances, some independent contractors may also be covered by their employer’s worker’s comp plan. The purpose of these benefits is to provide financial relief for employees who are hurt on the job, or those who develop some sort of occupational disease. In Louisiana, worker’s compensation can include medical expenses related to the injury, vocational rehabilitation services, wage benefits, and/or death benefits.

Worker’s comp in Louisiana

Workman’s compensation is paid directly to the employee by the workers’ compensation insurer or from the employer. According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the benefits are intended to encompass both physical and mental injuries from accidents or work-related diseases arising from repeated exposure to certain tasks and risk factors. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, lead poisoning, or lung disease. It’s worth noting that the coverage does have some parameters that limit recovery.

In order to recover compensation for a “mental injury,” there must be compelling evidence that it stemmed from some sort of physical trauma or extraordinary stress related to the worker’s employment. Also, benefits may be denied in accidents where the employee was intoxicated at the time of the incident, or had a willful intent to injure him or herself.

30 days to report your workplace accident

If you have a serious accident at work that results in any kind of injury, you have just 30 days to report the accident to your employer. Even though you have one month to tell your employer, it’s in your best interest to report the injury immediately, so that the Louisiana Workforce Commission can process your workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible.

After you’ve reported your injury to your employer’s insurer, Temporary Disability Benefits are typically paid within two weeks.

How long can I get Workers Compensation?

In most cases, you can continue getting these Temporary Disability benefits (paid weekly) until your health care provider reports that you’ve attained maximum medical improvement, at which time your injury is not expected to improve any more. If you are able to resume some part-time or “light duty” work, but are paid less than 90 percent of your ordinary salary, you may be entitled to receive extra worker’s comp benefits for a maximum period of 520 weeks. These benefits are equivalent to two-thirds of the difference in your average weekly income.

In the event that your injury leads to permanent disability, rendering you unable to resume your old job or earn income in a similar job, you will be entitled to permanent disability benefits (two-thirds of your normal weekly wages). The length of time you’re able to get these benefits will hinge on the disability rating given by your physician and the state schedule on your disability benefits.

Depending on the circumstances, injured workers may also be eligible for a lump-sum payment (for a catastrophic injury) as well as on-going worker’s comp benefits.

Consult with a Louisiana attorney

After any type of workplace injury in Louisiana, it’s always wise to consult with an attorney regarding your legal rights. As a highly experienced worker’s compensation lawyer in Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Bart Bernard has a thorough understanding of state laws, mediation rights as well as problems that can undermine the claims process. His goal is to help clients obtain maximum benefits available for their injuries, pain and suffering.

Schedule a free, no-obligation case review with Bart Bernard by calling today.

Additional Worker’s Compensation Resources:

  1. Louisiana Workforce Commission, Employees and Employers about Rights and Responsibilities in Workers’ Compensation
  2. Justia, 2006 Louisiana Laws – Title 23 – Labor and worker’s compensation
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