Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Blog

Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Blog

Opioid Deaths Surpass Road Accident Fatalities

January 24, 2019 Opioids 0 Comments

Premature newborn baby girl in the hospital incubator after c-section in 33 weekThe chance of dying from an accidental opioid overdose in the United States is now higher than dying in a car accident, according to a mid-January report from the National Safety Council.

Deaths from Preventable Accidents Have Increased 96% Since 1992

The opioid crisis has hit a new high. Currently, over 32,000 fatalities in car accidents occur per year – a rate that is more than 100% higher than the average of other countries with relatively high incomes. Car accidents are already at very high levels, in other words, and for opioid overdoses to have surpassed them illustrates how much it is ravaging the country.

Approximately 70,000 people died from overdoses in 2017. In the four years leading up to 2017, deaths from overdoses rose in 35 states and Washington, D.C. Large increases in deaths from opioids were reported in 15 states.

A person’s odds from dying of an opioid overdose are now higher than the risk of dying from falls, pedestrian accidents, drowning, and fire.

Deaths from preventable injuries, a category that includes both opioid overdoses and car accidents, hit nearly 170,000 in 2017, a more than 5% rise from 2016 levels. More shockingly, this is an increase of nearly 96% from the number registered in 1992.

Life Expectancy Declining

Unintentional injury is in fact now the leading cause of death in the U.S. among people 1 to 44 years old. In 2016, 61,000 died from unintentional injury, and the top two categories are deaths from car accidents and unintentional poisonings, of which opioid deaths are a part. That’s more fatalities than are caused by cancer or heart disease.

A rising number of victims, unfortunately, are children and teenagers.

The extent of the opioid crisis, and drug overdoses overall, have led to a decline in overall life expectancy.

Unborn children are affected as well. The opioid crisis has led to a syndrome that affects babies, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). It occurs when babies have been exposed to opioids in their mother’s wombs, and then go through withdrawal when they are born. The symptoms include seizures, fevers, convulsions, poor feeding, and diarrhea or vomiting.

Get it Done Right™ with Bart Bernard

If you need legal advice on either car accidents or opioid addiction in newborns, the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers can help. We have decades of experience in Louisiana car accident law. We also fight for justice for babies who have been born addicted to opioids.

Bart Bernard has offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. Get it Done Right™. We are seasoned professionals who offer a free initial consultation. Call today for a free case review!

Additional Resources:

  1. Flower, Kevin and Meera Senthilingam. Odds of dying from accidental opioid overdose in the US surpass those of dying in car accident. CNN. January 14, 2019.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths.
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5 Ways a Car Accident Can Change Your Life

January 14, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Standard manual wheelchair standing in empty hospital corridor

Every year, roughly 2 million people are injured as a result of motor vehicle collisions. In 2017, the latest year for which figures are available, an estimated 40,100 people were killed in car accidents.

A car accident can change your life in multiple ways, from lasting physical pain and disability to emotional damage. Here are some of the ways in which a car accident can change your life.

1. You will need transportation.

If your car is damaged, it will have to be repaired. If the damage is large enough, the car may be a total loss (cost more to repair than it is worth). You may then need to get a new car. While it is being repaired, or while you look, you will need other transportation.

2. Your insurance premiums are likely to rise.

If you’ve been in a car accident, whether you were at fault or not, your insurance premiums are likely to go up.

3. You or a loved one may be injured.

Car accident injuries can range from cuts and bruises that heal fairly quickly to serious trauma, such as broken limbs, head injuries, or even spinal cord injuries, which can cause lasting problems with mobility and even paralysis. You may be dealing with doctors and other medical personnel, hospitals, physical therapy, and more as a result of the injuries.

Injuries can leave lasting emotional scars as well as physical ones. You also may incur high medical bills and, depending on the nature of the injury, lose time and wages from work.

4. A loved one may have been killed.

If a loved one has been killed in an accident, you will suffer profound emotional loss. If your loved one was the breadwinner for the family, you may be suffering financial uncertainty as well.

5. You may suffer emotional damage

Many people who have been in car accidents, whether they were physically injured or not, suffer lasting emotional damage. They may experience post-traumatic stress disorder, reliving the frightening incidents over and over again, or they may become fearful of driving. People who are dealing with serious injuries are often known to experience depression as well.

If You Need a Louisiana Car Accident Attorney

As you can see from this list, car accidents can have multiple negative impacts on victims and their loved ones. You may suffer grief and trauma. You may be paying for a damaged vehicle, medical bills, therapy, and more. You may have lost your family’s primary earner or become unable to work yourself.

If the other driver was at fault, it may be possible to recover money damages by filing a lawsuit.

Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident lawyer Bart Bernard will handle your case with the utmost care and concern. The initial legal consultation about your potential case is free. Call today to see if you are eligible to seek monetary compensation for your losses by filing a lawsuit.

Click Bart First, Call Bart First™

Additional Sources:

  1. Bomey, Nathan. “U.S. vehicle deaths topped 40,000 in 2017, National Safety Council estimates.” USA Today. February 15, 2018.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. How Is the U.S. Doing?
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Can the Insurance Company Force You to Total Your Car?

January 10, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Car That Has Been In A Front End Collision.You were in a car accident and your vehicle suffered significant damage – now what? Do you take it to the body shop for repairs or consider buying a new car?

In most accident situations, this decision is left up to your insurance provider. If the vehicle damage is extensive, the insurance company may “total” your vehicle. In layman’s terms, this means the cost of repairs are more than the value of the vehicle. In cases like these, the insurance adjustor will write it off as a total loss.

How do insurers calculate total loss?

For example, let’s say you wrecked a 15-year-old Honda Accord. Your insurance company may decide the car is a total loss, even if it is still technically functional, because the car’s value is already so low, and the cost of repairs would be expensive.

In the state of Louisiana, a truck or automobile that has suffered damages equivalent to 75% or more of the current market value is declared a “total loss.” This market value is established by the most recent edition of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Handbook.

If the insurer declares your car totaled, it should pay you the vehicle’s cash value, less your deductible. In most cases, the car is then taken to a salvage yard where it will be sold for parts.

It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to look to other valuation sources when placing a monetary figure on a total loss claim. For this reason, it’s important to know what your car is worth according to the NADA handbook and speak to a reputable car accident attorney about your claim.

What to do when insurance totals your car

Insurance companies seemingly hold the power in these situations, but you are able to dispute a total loss claim if you feel the adjustor has undervalued the worth of your vehicle. It is possible to negotiate a total loss settlement with the aid of an experienced lawyer. If you have valid reason to question the settlement that is proposed, your policy may allow you to hire an independent appraiser who can provide a second opinion.

If you and the insurer fail to agree on the assessment of the vehicle, that doesn’t necessarily mean a lawsuit, but it may entail more aggressive negotiations or arbitration.

In addition, Louisiana places time limits on paying out total loss claims. If the insurance company fails to pay the agreed upon settlement within 30 calendar days, they may face attorney’s fees and penalties.

How a car accident lawyer can help

Securing a fair settlement for your car accident claim in Louisiana is not without its challenges. In accidents involving significant damage or personal injury, it pays to retain a skilled car accident attorney who can ensure your rights are fully protected. If your insurance totaled your car and you feel taken advantage of, reach out to the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers today.

Representing clients throughout Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Acadiana, Baton Rouge car accident lawyer Bart Bernard stands ready to help you fight for the money you deserve.  Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™ — call today to arrange a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Auto Trader, Crash Course for Coping With a Totaled Car
  2. The Balance, What to Do After a Total Loss Auto Accident?
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Calculating Vehicle Damage After an Accident

January 7, 2019 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

traffic fatalitiesHow do you calculate the dollar amount of damage to your car after an accident?

The first step is to get an estimate from a car repair shop. Be sure to check and see if your repair company is covered by your insurance, since not all insurance companies work with all repair shops. Get an estimate before you take it in for repairs.

Be sure to save all the bills from the repair company you take the car to. If the car needs to be serviced in more than one shop, make sure you retain the bills from each location. Any costs related to the damage, such as paying to have it towed, should be included.

Diminished Value

There are times when the vehicle damage calculation becomes a bit complicated. That’s because vehicles that have been in accidents have “diminished value.”

Diminished value refers to the fact that, even though a car has been completely repaired, it doesn’t retain the same value as a car that has never been in an accident. Even if there is no visible or structural damage, many buyers will consider a car that has been damaged in a collision structurally weaker and less sound than one that has never been in an accident.

As a result, buyers usually are not willing to pay as much for a car that’s been in an accident as they are for one that’s accident-free. Your car’s value, therefore, has been diminished by the fact of the accident. Many of the reports that used car buyers look at, such as Carfax and similar services, will reveal whether a car has been involved in an accident, including the date.

Either the insurance company or the party responsible for the accident should compensate you for the diminished value of your car.

What if Your Car Is a Total Loss?

If a car would cost more to repair than it would be worth at resale (using a reputable site like Kelley Blue Book or Edwards), the insurance company will likely declare it a total loss, no matter the amount of damage.

In other words, a total loss depends as much on the value of your car as on the nature and extent of the damage to it. If the value of the car is less than the repair cost, a total loss could be declared even if the damage doesn’t look that bad to observers.

Call a Respected Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a crash, call seasoned Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident lawyer Bart Bernard today. Your initial consultation with Bart will cost you nothing, and you owe no fees unless we win your case. Call today, and Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™!

Additional Resources:

  1. Araujo, Mila. Diminished Value After a Car Accident: Will Your Car Insurance Pay? The Balance. October 25, 2018.
  2. Accident Guide in Louisiana.
  3. Kelley Blue Book.
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How Much Does It Cost to Get a Lawyer After a Truck Accident?

January 4, 2019 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Truck on freewayIn the aftermath of a truck accident, you may find yourself burdened with injuries, medical bills, lost time from work, and, in the tragic case of the loss of a loved one, funeral costs. If the insurance company is dragging its heels or pressuring you to accept a lowball offer, you may also be considering hiring a lawyer. But how much does hiring a lawyer cost?

Lawyers Don’t Always Get Paid Upfront

There is no charge for your first meeting with Louisiana truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard. Bart will discuss the circumstances of your accident, the nature of your injuries and losses, and whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit to seek monetary damages from the liable party or parties.

Bart Bernard works for his clients on a contingency fee basis. “Contingency” means that your lawyer will take a certain previously agreed upon percentage of any compensation you receive as payment, once the case is over. This percentage may include costs incurred during the investigation and litigation of your case.

So, how much does it cost to get a lawyer after a truck accident? When you work with renowned truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard, the answer is nothing. You owe us no money unless we win money damages for you in a settlement or trial verdict.

Don’t Handle the Accident Alone

Truck accidents can result in serious damage to both people and property, and can be complicated to litigate. An experienced truck accident lawyer can make all the difference in the world to the outcome of your lawsuit.

Why? Because several parties and a whole chain of events may have contributed to the crash. The accident may have been caused by the condition of the truck, which may mean that the owner or the maintenance company is on the hook for liability. It could have been caused by the state of the road, which means that the local municipality could be responsible. It could have been caused by improper loading of the truck, which means the loading company could be at fault. It could have been caused by another driver or the driver of the truck itself. The driver may have been operating without sufficient sleep, or he or she could have felt pressured to keep driving despite suffering extreme exhaustion.

Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes pressure injured parties to accept a low-ball settlement, or even deny a settlement. Attorney Bart Bernard and his team of experts and investigators can help establish who is at fault and build a strong case to help injured parties get fair and full compensation for their losses.

How Bart Bernard Can Help in Louisiana Truck Accidents

Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard has years of experience helping victims of big rig crashes in Louisiana. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum, with a strong history of obtaining top results for truck accident victims.

Contact us today to discuss your case. All initial consultations are complimentary. Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™ !

Additional Resources:

  1. U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service. October 2016.
  2. Rhee, Joseph and Alexa Valiente. “The Danger of Forcing Truck Drivers to Drive Sleep-Deprived Exposed.” ABC News. September 18, 2014.
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How to Stay Safe on the Roads on New Year’s Eve

December 27, 2018 Auto Accidents 0 Comments

Blue flasher on the police car at night.The holiday season is cause for celebration, and New Year’s Eve festivities are right around the corner. No matter how you plan on ringing in the New Year, one thing remains certain – December 31st is one of the most dangerous nights to be on the road (for motorists and pedestrians alike). Whether you’re driving to a friend’s party or hitting your favorite club, motorists can expect to see an increased presence of police check points thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Drive Sober campaign.

It goes without saying that you should never drink and drive or operate a vehicle while impaired. Even if you have a designated driver or take taxis, you’re likely to come across impaired revelers behind the wheel this New Year’s Eve. According to the NHTSA, drunk driving accidents claimed almost 11,000 lives last year in the U.S., and December is one of the deadliest months of all.  Some 885 people lost their lives in crashes involving a drunk driver last December.

Tips for road safety this holiday season

So how can you stay safe on the roads this New Year’s Eve? The NHTSA offers these practical tips.

  • Designate a sober driver – One of the best ways to enjoy the evening’s celebrations is by asking a friend or family member – or a companion who is not drinking – to drive you back home safely. With a sober, alert driver at the wheel, there are fewer chances of being hurt in an alcohol-related accident
  • Always buckle up – Using a seat belt is one of the best defenses to keeping you safe in the event of an accident with an impaired driver.
  • Use public transportation – Trains, taxis and buses are an excellent option for getting around town safely. If public transport isn’t available, consider using a ride hailing service instead.
  • Download the SaferRide mobile app — Before heading out for the night, you can download a free SaferRide app, provided by the NHTSA. The app is available on Android and Apple smart phones and lets you share your location and arrange a sober driver to pick you up.
  • Stay distraction free – Alcohol and drugs aren’t the only concern on New Year’s Eve. Stay alert for distracted drivers and call 911 if you see a motorist who driving erratically or seems impaired.
  • Prepare to stay overnight – If you indulged in one too many drinks, it’s better to stay off the roads completely. This could mean getting a hotel room or staying at a friends’ house. The app Hotel Tonight (available on iOS and Android) finds cheap, last-minute deals on nearby hotels and lets you book them on the spot.

Even if you refrain from drinking, that doesn’t mean the streets are safe. If at all possible, try and avoid being on the roads after 9 PM, and if you must be, plan well in advance.

Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™

On behalf of the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, we hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve with friends, loved ones and family.  By taking a few precautions, you can help ensure your celebrations aren’t marred by tragedy.  In the event of an accident, it’s important to take swift action to protect your legal rights.

For years, Louisiana residents have relied on the dedication and results offered by car accident lawyer Bart Bernard. To arrange a free case evaluation, call us today.

Our injury attorneys represent victims in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Acadiana and all Louisiana.

Additional Resources:

  1. NHTSA, NHTSA Reminds Motorists to Drive Sober this Holiday Season
  2. Northwestern Medicine, 5 Tips for New Year’s Eve Safety
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How Long Do Truck Drivers Stay on the Road Without a Break?

December 17, 2018 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

semi tractor trailer driving on the highway in the eveningTruck drivers move products all over the country. Long-haul trucks often drive all night to get the cargo where it needs to go. But if truckers stay on the road too long without a break, the consequences can be disastrous.  Big rigs and tractor-trailers are known to cause some of the most dangerous accidents on the road.

Federal Regulations Often Violated

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the number of hours a trucker can work without a break. Truck drivers are supposed to drive no more than 11 hours in any 14 consecutive-hour period, and are mandated to be off duty 10 or more consecutive hours before beginning their next shift.

Yet the news headlines tell an all-too familiar tale of companies who put pressure on the drivers to continue driving no matter how tired they feel. They may be pressured by their employers to drive for longer than the mandated limit. Interstate truckers are supposed to keep a log that verifies they have not worked longer than the mandated amount. But many feel economic pressure to falsify the data in the log book so the trucking companies will continue to hire them.

Truck crash investigations have revealed instances where drivers reported being on the road for 36 straight hours. No one can drive well, much less even function with that amount of sleep deprivation.

A Truck Accident Lawyer in Lafayette, Louisiana

Lack of sleep and inadequate breaks are two primary risk factors for a truck driver causing a serious accident. Post-crash investigations are often quick to reveal an exhausted, overworked driver as the root cause.  If you or a family member was injured in a truck accident, the drivers as well as the company he or she represents may be liable for your injuries including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Bart Bernard is a truck accident lawyer Lafayette and Baton Rouge residents trust to fight for their rights and maximum compensation after a serious, life-altering accident such as these. Initial consultations are always free and you pay no legal fees unless we win compensation on your behalf. Call today and “Hit Hard with Bart Bernard”™.

Additional Resources:

  1. U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service. October 2016.
  2. Rhee, Joseph and Alexa Valiente. “The Danger of Forcing Truck Drivers to Drive Sleep-Deprived Exposed.” ABC News. September 18, 2014.
Read More