Frequently Asked

Questions (FAQS)


Explore our comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to gain valuable insights into personal injury claims, car accidents, and more. Find answers to common inquiries about the legal process, your rights, and how our experienced team at Bart Bernard Injury Law can help you seek the compensation you deserve.

Why do I need a personal injury lawyer after a serious accident?

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is essential after being injured in an accident because they have the expertise and experience to navigate the complex legal process on your behalf. They can protect your rights, gather evidence, assess the true value of your claim, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.

Can't I handle my personal injury claim on my own?

While it is technically possible to handle your personal injury claim independently, it can be extremely challenging and risky. Insurance companies have teams of skilled adjusters and attorneys whose goal is to minimize their payout. Without legal representation, you may be at a significant disadvantage and risk settling for far less than you deserve.

How can a personal injury lawyer prove liability in my case?

Personal injury lawyers are skilled at investigating accidents and gathering evidence to establish liability. They can collect police reports, witness statements, surveillance footage, expert testimonies, and medical records to build a strong case. By proving that the other party’s negligence or wrongful actions caused your injuries, they can hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.

What types of compensation can I receive with a personal injury lawyer's help?
With the assistance of a personal injury lawyer, you may be eligible for various types of compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, rehabilitation costs, property damage, and more. Your lawyer will assess the full extent of your damages to pursue fair and comprehensive compensation on your behalf.
How does hiring a personal injury lawyer relieve my stress during recovery?

Dealing with the aftermath of being injured accident can be overwhelming, especially when you are trying to recover from your injuries. By hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can focus on your physical and emotional healing while knowing that your legal matters are in capable hands. Your lawyer will handle all communication with insurance companies, paperwork, negotiations, and legal complexities, allowing you to prioritize your well-being and move forward with peace of mind.

Car Accidents FAQs

Is it True that Louisiana Has One of the Highest Accident Rates in the Country?

This is, unfortunately, true. A recent report by the nonprofit group The Trust for America’s Health found that Louisiana has the 7th highest rate of auto fatalities per 100,000 residents (20.2) as well as the 15th highest rate in total auto fatalities. And when you look at key factors in fatal crashes—things like running red lights, drinking and driving, and speeding—Louisiana ranks as the 4th most dangerous state to drive in. According to the latest U.S Census data, only one other state has more fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled than Louisiana.

The Accident Was Partly My Fault. Can I Still Recover Damages?

Yes, although the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced by a percentage equal to your negligence. For example, imagine that you recover $100,000 in damages and are found to be 30% at fault for the accident. Your recovery, then, is reduced by $30,000 to $70,000. This is known as “comparative negligence.” Note that there must be at least one other party at fault for comparative negligence to take effect.

What Happens if the At-Fault Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?

You have a couple of different options. You might first try to sue the other driver for damages. Depending on the extent of your losses and the value of the driver’s assets, however, going this route may not be the best option. Even if you win, chances are good that an uninsured defendant doesn’t have much in the way of money or assets.

The second option is to file an uninsured or underinsured driver claim with your own insurance company (assuming that you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage). If this is the case, you’ll need to check with your insurer about the specific terms of your policy.

What Is No Pay, No Play?

With among the highest insurance rates in the country, Louisiana in 1997 instituted a ten percent rate decrease for automobile liability coverage. The rate reduction was accompanied by No Pay, No Play, which incentives motorists to buy liability coverage by limiting the ability of uninsured motorists to recover damages following a car crash. Under No Pay, No Play, uninsured motorists—even if the other party is 100% at-fault for a car accident—they will be limited to how much they can collect for personal injury and property damage. Certain exceptions apply, including accidents with an intoxicated driver, a driver who flees the scene of the accident, and a driver who intentionally causes the accident. As long as you carry at least the state minimum for liability auto coverage, you do not have to worry about No Pay, No Play.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are a money award given to an injury victim in addition to compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are “actual” damages—that is, they are designed to provide a plaintiff with money for things that were lost (e.g. medical bills, lost income, emotional harm) in their accident. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are designed to punish a defendant for an especially harmful act. In Louisiana, punitive damages can be awarded, but they are very restricted.  It isn’t a certainty that they will be awarded or in what amount.

Other Than the Driver of Another Vehicle, Who Can I Sue?

While the driver of another motor vehicle is the most likely lawsuit defendant, other parties may also bear blame for an auto accident. So-called “vicarious liability,” for example, might apply to the actual owner of the vehicle if it is a company vehicle driven by an employee or a teen driver operating his or her parents’ vehicle. Another instance involving teen drivers has to do with dram shop laws, laws that place legal responsibility on establishments that sell liquor to minors (if it’s a drunk driving accident).

In cases where an automobile defect causes the accident, the vehicle manufacturer or repair shop could be held liable. A government entity could also be held liable if a road design defect caused the accident. So could an entity (say, a landscape company) that drops debris (say, equipment) on a roadway that leads to an accident. Similarly, the owner of a domesticated animal that runs loose and causes an accident could be sued.

I Was the Passenger of a Vehicle Involved in an Accident. Can I File an Injury Claim?

As the passenger in a vehicle that gets into an accident, you may file a claim against the driver/owner of the vehicle you were in or the driver/owner of another vehicle involved in the accident—or both (assuming that each both parties share some blame for the accident). You would probably only pursue a claim against both parties’ insurers if a single party’s insurance is insufficient to cover your losses. If you are hesitant to file a claim against a friend or family member, keep in mind that their insurance company, not their personal assets—will be used to compensate you.

Who Decides Whether or Not To Accept an Insurance Company's Settlement Offer?

Even if you obtain legal counsel, the decision to accept a settlement offer is entirely up to you. Of course, if you do have a lawyer, he will be able to advise you on the fairness of a settlement. The inexperience of injury victims in dealing with settlement negotiations can sometimes lead them to accept an offer that on the face appears to fully compensate them, but actually does not.

Is a Lawsuit Necessary?

No, particularly if your injuries and/or property damage are minimal. Most accident cases of this nature can be settled without a lawsuit being filed.

A lawsuit may become necessary if the regular insurance claims process fails to deliver a satisfactory settlement offer. In filing a lawsuit, you might gain some negotiating leverage by showing that you won’t hesitate to exercise your rights. Plus, once the case is in the hands of a jury, it is out of the hands of the insurance company, possibly putting the insurer at a disadvantage. The fact that you file a lawsuit doesn’t mean that a pretrial settlement is no longer possible. In fact, most cases end up settling before a court ever hears the case.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

Statutes of limitations are laws that forbid legal action beyond a certain date. In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is 1 year, meaning that 1 year from the date of your accident, you concede the right to file a lawsuit.

Construction Accident FAQs

What is the number one cause of eye injury for construction workers?

Every day, about 2,000 U.S. workers suffer job-related eye injuries requiring medical care. More than 10,000 construction industry employees miss work due to eye damage. The number one cause of these construction-related eye injuries is a small particle striking the eye. Tiny pieces of metal, wood, dust or cement can fall from above, eject from tools, or be carried by the wind. Nails and cut wires whip up while using hand tools. The mixing of cement, sawing, grinding, and chipping activities on construction sites produce dust and grit that can blow into the eye. “Hammering on metal which gives off metal slivers and the rebounding of the ordinary nail are two of the most common causes of vision loss in construction workers,” OSHA reports. Employers may be at fault if they fail to use machine guards, welding curtains, good administrative controls, or provide protective eye wear.

How many construction workers are killed each year?

There were 4,386 worker fatalities in private sector business in 2014, with 899 fatal construction accidents. Aside from highway collisions, leading causes included: falls, electrocutions, being struck by objects, and being caught in between machinery. Construction worker deaths are the most heartbreaking cases we litigate, but they are also the most important. Spouses and children of decedents can collect compensation for their emotional pain and suffering, as well as lost income, funeral expenses, outstanding medical bills, and legal fees.

Who can you sue for a construction injury?

Guilty parties in construction accident claims may include:

  • Employers
  • Subcontractors
  • Supervisors or coworkers
  • Machine or tool manufacturers
  • Maintenance personnel
Defective equipment in construction site accidents

Product liability lawsuits are another type of filing pertaining to construction accidents. Sometimes an injury occurs through no fault of the company or the individual construction workers – but rather, because of a piece of defective machinery that was not designed or manufactured to the highest standards of workplace safety. Construction accident lawyer Bart Bernard always looks into the history of the equipment being used at the time of the injury to identify known issues and uncover instances of negligence wherever they exist.

When workers compensation is not enough

Workers’ compensation is designed to prevent personal injury lawsuits by providing coverage for on-the-job accidents. However, the amount the workers’ compensation fund is willing to pay does not always provide fair coverage. Every state has its own way of assessing how much workers’ comp to dole out. For instance, in Louisiana, you may get up to $126,000 for a lost arm, but in Nevada, you could be entitled to as much as $859,634 for the exact same injury.

Even if workman’s compensation covers your hospital and medical bills, what about the equipment purchases or home modifications you had to make to accommodate a disability? What about all the missed days of work or the reduced capacity to work after serious injury? Some people never get back to “business as usual” following a construction accident. When workmans’ comp is not enough to cover your losses, a personal injury lawsuit can bridge the gap.

How many construction workers are killed every year?
In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks and reports on workplace fatalities, including those in the construction industry. According to OSHA’s data, in 2019, there were 1,066 fatal work injuries in the private construction industry. This marked a 5% increase from the 1,008 fatalities reported in 2018.

Boating Accident FAQs

How a boat accident attorney can assist

The courts offer remedies for seeking financial reparations in boat accident cases arising from the wrongful actions or negligence of another party. Because watercraft accidents can result in serious personal injury or death, Bart Bernard helps families through the entire claims process, from early investigations to proving your damages before a jury, if necessary.

We have convenient office locations in Lafayette and Baton Rouge and assist clients by:

  • Gathering key evidence, including photographs, video and accident reports
  • Preparing and managing depositions of expert witnesses
  • Ensuring clients have access to the best medical care possible
  • Documenting the full extent of your injuries and future rehabilitation costs
  • Conducting a meticulous investigation to assess liability
  • Handling all negotiations with insurance adjustors to recover full compensation
  • Taking your case to trial
Boating injury causes and penalties

The following are the top 10 contributing factors of recreational boating accidents in Louisiana and across the nation.

  • Operator inattention (597 accidents)
  • Operator inexperience (480 accident)
  • Improper lookout (475 accidents)
  • Excessive speed (360 accidents)
  • Machinery malfunction or failure (323 accidents)
  • Alcohol use (282 accidents)
  • Weather (214 accidents)
  • Navigation rules violation (213 accidents)
  • Hazardous waters (205 accidents)
  • Wake or large wave (160 accidents)

Among all fatal watercraft accidents, alcohol use is the number one contributing factor. Drinking and boating is a deadly combination and watercraft operators can face civil and criminal penalties if they cause an accident while under the influence. Louisiana law considers a person to be legally intoxicated if they:

  • Are under 21 years of age and have a BAC or .02 percent or greater
  • Are 21 years or older and have a BAC of .08 percent or higher

Boating under the influence (BUI) is handled much like a DUI, with penalties including fines, incarceration, driver’s license suspension and the prospect of protracted litigation. It is illegal in Louisiana to knowingly permit another person who is drunk or under the influence of illicit drugs to operate a personal watercraft.

Oil Rig Accident FAQs

Why are offshore drilling rigs so dangerous?

Offshore drilling has become more dangerous over the years as locations become deeper and further from the coastline as shallow fossil fuel reserves become exhausted. The complex equipment required to drill to such depths is not immune to malfunction and has many potential weak points. Secondly, workers face harsh offshore environments with severe storms making it more difficult to maintain equipment and safety or promptly reach emergency personnel. Thirdly, the inexperience of oil companies at operating at great depths causes management to be unprepared for the hazardous conditions that may arise.

Types of oil rig accidents

Oil rig accidents resulting in death or injury may include:

  • Boat capsizing and sinking incidents
  • Collisions
  • Crane accidents
  • Equipment failure
  • Falling loads or dropped objects
  • Fires, explosions, gas leaks, and blowouts
  • Helicopter crashes
  • Natural disasters
  • Slip, trip, and fall accidents
Types of oil rig injury

Offshore maritime injuries that may warrant a lawsuit include:

  • Broken bones
  • Burns and permanent disfigurement
  • Crushed limbs and amputations
  • Head and face lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Lung irritation from inhaled smoke or fumes
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Workers suffer financial losses due to missed time from work, reduced capacity to work, and medical bills. They may become permanently disabled or suffer tremendous emotional pain and suffering as a result of the accident. Families who lose a loved one suffer loss of financial support, guidance, and companionship, in addition to incurring unexpected funeral and burial costs. All of these losses are eligible for compensation when an offshore accident is someone else’s fault.

Causes of oil rig accidents

A European Commission report identified the following human causes of offshore drilling accidents:

  • Unsafe act (44%)
  • Unsafe procedure (37%)
  • Third party error (9%)
  • Improper design (8%)
  • Act of war / sabotage (1%)
  • Other (1%)

Of the equipment failures, they found:

  • Equipment malfunction (34%)
  • Ignition (26%)
  • Weather (25%)
  • Foundation & structural failure (8%)
  • Third party equipment failure (5%)
  • Other (2%)
  • Safety system malfunction (0.18%)
  • Earthquake / volcanic eruption (0.18%)

Whether it’s the lack of proper training, improper operation of equipment, improper pressurization, failure to maintain equipment, violations of safety procedures, insufficient safeguards put in place, poor communication between workers, or shortcomings of working in a fast-paced environment, a worker can be injured or killed through no fault of his or her own.

Getting compensation for offshore oil field injuries

There are many different ways to seek compensation when an injury has occurred. Any contractor who provides services offshore is considered to be a “Longshoreman,” eligible for coverage under the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Individuals who are stationed on a ship or fleet during their time at sea may be able to seek compensation under the Jones Act. Knowing how and when to file is crucial for obtaining benefits.

There are several differences between the two pieces of legislation. The LHWCA provides payments under an administrative system overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor, while the Jones Act allows an amount determined by a judge through the court system. The LHWCA may provide enough money to cover medical bills, lost wages and funeral costs, while filing a lawsuit and Jones Act proceedings generally entitle you to greater amounts for transportation, costly ongoing therapies, pain, suffering, loss of companionship, and punitive fees. Filing a claim under the LHWCA results in a payout regardless of fault. With the Jones Act, you will need to prove another party’s negligence.

Speaking with a compassionate and qualified attorney who specializes in maritime law can help you obtain the maximum compensation allowable by law.

Motorcycle Accident FAQs

How Common Are Louisiana Motorcycle Accidents?

Statewide accident data from Louisiana State University reveals that in a typical year, there are approximately 2,000 motorcycle crashes in Louisiana—or 0.74% of all Louisiana vehicle crashes. Considering their low overall prevalence, however, motorcycle accidents in Louisiana account for a disproportionate amount of injury (1.84% of total) and fatal (7.47% of total ) crashes.

I Was Not Wearing a Helmet at the Time of My Accident. Can I Still Recover Damages?

Yes. Although Louisiana has a helmet law, this doesn’t mean that you are barred from recovering damages caused by the careless actions of another. If, however, your failure to wear a helmet contributed to your injuries (e.g. you suffered a head injury in the crash), your compensation may be reduced by an amount equal to your negligence under the state’s “comparative negligence” law. For example, if your total compensation is $100,000 but you are 40% to blame for the accident, your compensation is reduced by $40,000 to $60,000. Comparative negligence may also apply if you were speeding, disobeyed a traffic signal, or otherwise did something that partially led to the accident.

I Was In a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident. How Can I Go About Recovering Damages?

It’s hard to imagine how a driver could knowingly cause a crash and then just drive away – but it does happen. If it happened to you, your losses should be covered by the uninsured/underinsured motorist provision of your own motorcycle insurance policy, provided you have this coverage. If you do not, the hit-and-run perpetrator may eventually be found by police and made to owe up to their actions. Law enforcement may pursue criminal charges against the driver, but you’ll need to bring a civil lawsuit against the driver in order to recover compensation. A lawyer can help you sue the driver for negligence. A lawyer can also help if your UM/UIM claim is denied.

Does Louisiana's No Pay, No Play Law Apply To Motorcyclists?

No Pay, No Play makes it mandatory for all motor vehicle drivers, including motorcyclists, to carry liability insurance that meets the state’s minimum insurance requirements. If you do not have insurance and you are involved in an accident, you may not recover the initial $10,000 worth of property damage or bodily injury damages from another driver, even if the other driver is negligent. In other words, your failure to carry insurance incurs a $10,000 deductible should you suffer losses in an accident. Exceptions to this rule include accidents with an intoxicated driver or a hit-and-run driver.

What Can I Do To Help My Attorney In My Motorcycle Accident Case?

Your attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, but there are some things you can do to protect your interests. Motorcyclists are commonly, and unfairly, portrayed as being reckless even when they ride safely. Follow the steps below to help your attorney build a strong case on your behalf:

I Had Aftermarket Parts Installed On My Motorcycle. Can I Be Compensated For Them?

You should be compensated for any custom work you had done to the motorcycle. You will, however, likely need to provide proof of the aftermarket parts’ value to the insurance company. If you have custom parts and equipment (CPE) coverage on your bike, you might consider filing a claim for the damaged motorcycle through your own insurance company, which will then seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance (assuming that another driver caused the accident).

What Can I Expect To Recover As the Victim of a Motorcycle Accident?

While the actual amount of your claim is difficult to determine, the types of damages you’re eligible to receive in a personal injury lawsuit include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, disability, and possibly extra damages known as punitive damages.

My Husband Was Killed In a Motorcycle Accident. Am I Entitled To Compensation?

Yes you are, although the type of lawsuit you’d file would be a wrongful death claim rather than a personal injury claim. A successful wrongful death claim would compensate you for funeral expenses, medical bills, your spouse’s expected income and retirement benefits, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages (extra damages meant to punish the defendant) may also be awarded. If there is no surviving spouse or children, other family members (parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents) may also file a wrongful death claim.

If the Other Driver Was Texting and Driving Does That Make Him or Her Negligent?

Texting while driving is not only illegal in Louisiana, it is also strong proof of another driver’s negligence. It is relatively easy to prove, through phone records, that a driver was texting at the time of an accident.

How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit?

You have only 1 year from the time the accident occurred to file a lawsuit. It is therefore imperative that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Premises Liability FAQs

What is premises liability?

Premises liability law states that property owners should exercise “reasonable care” to address potentially dangerous conditions and maintain a safe property. It is a common misconception that simply being present on someone’s property is enough to win a case. Even if a hazard exists, a lawyer must still show that the owner knew – or should have reasonably known – about the unsafe condition and was negligent in failing to take the proper steps to warn his guest or remedy the situation.

What is a property owner’s duty of care?

“Duty of care” is a type of legal obligation in tort law, defined by common law. There is an implicit responsibility held by all property owners to prevent foreseeable harm to others through the maintenance of their properties. The courts examine many areas of a case, including knowledge of the hazard(s) in question, the possible magnitude of potential harm, the alternatives available, the costs and burdens associated with maintenance, and the conduct taken.

Premises liability: who is responsible?

Hazardous situations can come about suddenly and be present anywhere we go. To a certain extent, this is part of living. Objects topple into our path. Water can leak and pool up, causing slippery surfaces. Reasonable people watch where they are going to the best of their ability.

Liability boils down to common sense. The courts may explore questions like:

  • What would another property owner in the same situation have done?
  • What would a reasonable person have assumed about the hazards on this property?
  • Could simple, reasonable steps have prevented the harm?
  • Were efforts made to keep the property safe, clean and in good repair?
  • Was there a legitimate reason for the object in question to be there?
  • Could a barrier or warning sign notify people of the risky situation?
  • Did poor lighting or inadequate security contribute to the danger?
How a premises liability injury case works

Once a formal premises liability claim has been filed, the following steps occur:

  • The defendant receives a summons notifying him or her of the lawsuit
  • The legal teams engage in fact-finding missions, collect testimonies, compile records, and assemble experts
  • Both parties meet for pre-trial motions to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments presented
  • A pre-trial premises liability settlement may be offered
  • If the settlement is accepted, the defendant agrees to pay within 20 days — or pay additional interest.
  • If the settlement is rejected or no offer is made, the case proceeds to court.

Personal Injury FAQs

Who is liable in a personal injury case?

In order to win personal injury compensation, your attorney must show that another party’s negligence was the direct cause of your accident and resulting injuries. In legal terms, a defendant is negligent when they breach their duty of care to the plaintiff, or injured party. Examples include when a distracted driver rear-ends another vehicle, or a store owner fails to put up a “wet floor” sign after mopping, causing a customer to slip and fall. Without establishing clear liability, insurance companies will be reluctant to negotiate a settlement, or may deny a claim for damages.

Attorney Bart Bernard has the resources and expertise to uncover the truth, and discover who is really to blame in preventable “accidents” that result in life-shattering injury. If settlement negotiations turn sour, he is fully prepared to argue your case before a judge and jury.

Our legal team excels in handling challenging cases involving auto collisions, negligent employers and property owners and workplace accidents — doing whatever it takes to obtain justice for our clients.

Truck Accidents FAQs

How Common Are Truck Accidents in Louisiana?

Very common. In Lafayette, LA & Baton Rouge, LA in 2012, large trucks were involved in 92 fatal crashes and 2,353 injury crashes. Overall, 2.8% of the vehicles in injury crashes were large trucks or busses and 9.3% of the vehicles in fatal crashes were large trucks or busses. If the percentage of crashes (rather than the percentage of vehicles) is considered, 14% of fatal crashes involved large trucks or busses. Pick-up trucks also feature prominently in Louisiana crashes. In 2012, 21.5% of all vehicles involved in injury crashes were pick-up trucks; 22.5% of the vehicles in fatal crashes were pick-up trucks.

Why Should I Hire Lafayette, LA Lawyer Bart Bernard?

Bart Bernard understands that you have many options when it comes to choosing a legal representative. Not all personal injury firms, however, are the same. The “resume” of a firm speaks to its success in handling cases like yours, and our resume is strong. We maintain more clients who have been injured in 18 wheeler accidents than any other firm in Lafayette, LA. We have gained entry into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, a very prestigious group that admits only 1% of U.S. trial lawyers. The bottom line is that we’ve been very successful in 18 wheeler accident cases. But don’t take our word for it—listen to what past clients have to say.

Liability In A Truck Accident

There are many possible defendants in a truck accident case. They include the truck driver, the company that employs the driver, the owner of the truck, the owner of the trailer, the company leasing the truck or trailer, the facility that loaded the truck’s cargo, and a company that performed repairs/maintenance on a truck. Truck accident liability is not always straightforward, and often requires a thorough investigation. Bart Bernard and his staff of experts will determine which party—or parties—made a mistake that led to the truck accident.

What Types of Damages (Losses) are Compensable in a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Damages in a truck accident are broadly divided into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic losses are things like medical expenses (past and future), lost wages (past and future), and property damage. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. They include things like mental anguish, emotional distress, the effects of disfigurement and scarring, and other psychological harm that a serious truck accident might cause. The spouse of a truck accident victim may also be able to obtain non-economic damages based on their loss of marital benefits. Contact Bart Bernard to learn more about the types of truck accident compensation you may be entitled to.

I Lost a Loved One in a Truck Accident. Can I Sue on Their Behalf?

Yes. In Louisiana, a fatal accident victim’s relatives—usually the surviving spouse and children—can pursue what’s known as a “wrongful death” lawsuit. The types of compensation available in a truck accident wrongful death lawsuit are financial losses (including medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost future wages) and non-financial losses (loss of companionship and other emotional distress the wrongful death causes to the victim’s surviving relatives). If there is no surviving spouse or children, surviving parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Will My Truck Accident Case Settle Out of Court?

Whether or not your case reaches out-of-court settlement or goes to trial depends on the willingness of the other party’s insurance company to offer you a fair amount of compensation. You have the final say in deciding whether a settlement offer is fair or not, although your lawyer will advise you on this matter. If an insurer offers a “lowball” settlement, going to court may be the only way to ensure adequate compensation for your losses. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, will not hesitate to litigate should it prove necessary.

Why Is an Immediate Investigation By a Law Firm Important?

Evidence begins to disappear quickly after a truck accident, especially on interstates and other busy roadways. Having our own investigator on the scene ensures that crucial evidence in your case is preserved. In addition, the trucking or insurance company will probably dispatch their own investigator soon after the accident. If your attorney doesn’t have his own investigator at the accident site, it increases the likelihood that evidence will be tampered with or the investigation performed dishonestly.

What Should I Do if an Insurance Company Contacts Me?

Under no circumstances should you speak to an insurance company other than your own. An adjuster may try to get you to make statements or sign documents that paint you as the liable party. When you retain Bart Bernard, our team will handle all communications with the other party’s insurer.

How Long Do I Have To File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Laws known as “statutes of limitations” set the time limit for how soon legal action must be taken after a personal injury occurs. Louisiana has some of the country’s strictest statutes of limitations. From the date you are injured in a truck accident, you have only 1 year to file a lawsuit. It is therefore important to contact Bert Bernard as soon as possible after your accident.

What Are the Most Important Steps I Can Take Following a Truck Accident?

Once the police and other emergency responders have been notified, you should, if you are feeling up to it, take pictures of the accident scene. Also get pictures of yourself, your passengers, and your property. Discuss the facts surrounding the accident with the police, but do not say anything that makes you appear responsible for the crash. Certainly don’t speak with an insurance company from another party. You may be taken from the scene in an ambulance and treated for injuries immediately. If not, see your doctor right away and get checked out. Some injuries aren’t immediately apparent, and you’ll need to document the harm you suffer. This includes taking photos of your bruises and other injuries.

Workers Compensation FAQs

Who pays for workers compensation benefits?

Most employers in Louisiana pay for workers’ compensation insurance which then pays out benefits. Some employers are self-insured and those employers pay the benefits themselves.

How long do you have to be out of work to get workman’s comp?

There is no minimum length of time off work or minimum expense incurred before an injured employee qualifies for worker’s compensation. Instead, the level of the disability that the illness or injury presents are determining factors.

How long can you be out on workers comp?

A worker who suffers a temporary disability can receive weekly payments until a doctor has found him or her to have reached maximum medical improvement – a point where the improvement has leveled off. For a permanent disability, the benefits may continue as long as the disability does.

Does workers’ compensation cover just my medical bills?

Worker’s compensation payments cover more than just medical bills, but only for work-related injuries or sickness. It can also provide payments for:

  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – for injuries that prevent the employee from working at all right now, but they may recover later
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – a lump sum for permanent disabilities that do not seriously interrupt the employee’s ability to work; PPD can apply after return to work following TTD
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD) – a lump sum for an injury that prevents employees from working at all and from which they will not recover
  • Supplemental Earnings Benefits (SEB) – available if the employee returns to work after TTD but is unable to earn at least 90% of pre-injury wages
  • Catastrophic injury – a one-time payment of $50,000 for a serious injury resulting in loss of limb or paraplegia
  • Death benefits for surviving family members

An injured worker can only receive one of these types of benefits at a time but a workers’ compensation attorney can assist in determining which benefit is right for you at which time.

Is every workplace injury covered by workers’ comp?

Any injury or illness suffered in the course of employment is considered a covered workplace injury. In contrast, injuries that occur when taking a lunch break or otherwise not acting to further the employer’s purpose fall outside the coverage of workers’ comp.

How long do you have to file a workers comp claim in Louisiana?

Workplace injuries must be reported to the employer within 30 days, though sooner is better. Not only is a more immediate report going to be viewed as more reliable, but the date of the report begins the countdown to the first payment.

What is the first step I should take if I am injured while at work?

Workplace injuries must be reported to the employer within 30 days, though sooner is better. Not only is a more immediate report going to be viewed as more reliable, but the date of the report begins the countdown to the first payment.

Do I need a workers compensation lawyer?

An injured worker is not required to have a workmans comp lawyer during the process but working with one can be very beneficial. An attorney is especially important if your claim involves disabilities that may involve other types of reimbursement, like Social Security Disability, or a potential lawsuit against another party, such as a product liability claim against a manufacturer of a defective product that caused the injury.

Wrongful Death FAQs

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

To file a wrongful death claim, a plaintiff must have the right to sue. Under Louisiana law this right is provided to certain family members who are survivors of the deceased. They include the:

How Common Compensation For a Wrongful Death

Typically a wrongful death lawsuit would seek compensation (damages) for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • Medical expenses after the injury and prior to death.
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased after an accident.
  • Grief and anguish of the survivors.
  • Lost income that the deceased would have provided to support the plaintiff.
  • Loss of consortium, parental guidance, service and society that the deceased would have provided to the plaintiffs.

In Louisiana wrongful death claims, additional compensation may be awarded if the defendant was intoxicated and that had a role in the death or if child pornography was involved.

In a wrongful death case there are a number of types of compensation that may be recovered to cover economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses include damages that are measurable and can be tracked numerically, such as the loss of the deceased person’s wages, medical bills and funeral expenses. Non-economic losses are recoverable but they cannot be assigned a numeric value in the way that economic losses can. These would include the pain and suffering of the deceased, the pain and suffering endured by family members and the loss of companionship.

How Long Do I Have To File a Wrongful Death Suit?

In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of the death of the deceased to bring a lawsuit. This is what’s called the “statute of limitations” on wrongful death claims in Louisiana. Having an attorney review your case can help you understand the timeline of the wrongful death claim process and approximately how long the process will take. Building a viable case takes time and that is why it is recommended that you speak with an attorney as soon as you are able.

My Loved One Was Fatally Injured at Work. Who Is Responsible?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 4,405 workers were killed by fatal occupational injuries in a single recent year. The majority of fatal work accidents involved:

  • Transportation incidents (40 percent).
  • Contact with objects and equipment (16 percent).
  • Violence and other injuries by persons or animals (17 percent).
  • Falls, slips and trips (16 percent).
  • Explosions, fires and exposure to harmful substances (10 percent).

Many of these accidents were caused by negligent conduct on the part of management and employers. In such an instance, the party deemed responsible for the accident may be liable for damages in addition to death benefits from the state workers’ compensation system. An attorney can review your case and help you establish the liability in a wrongful death case.

My Loved One Was Killed In a Car Accident. What Do I Do Now?

confused, angry and helpless. An attorney can help you by reviewing your case and handling all of the legal aspects, thereby lessening your burden during this difficult time.

Legally speaking, if negligence is deemed to be a contributing factor in the car accident, a wrongful death claim may be brought against the party deemed liable for the death. In many cases there are multiple parties responsible for the accident. For example, if the car accident involved a reckless driver and a dangerous roadway, a wrongful death claim may name more than one party as defendants, such as the driver of the other vehicle and the builder of the dangerous roadway. If the accident is found to be the result of a defective part, the manufacturer, distributor or installer of the part in question may be held liable for the wrongful death.

How Will the Compensation Be Divided Among Family Members?

A relative who is authorized to bring a wrongful death case may not have full authority over the distribution of the damages recovered. The relative is bringing legal action in a representative capacity for the other members of the family. It is generally recommended that the heirs determine how the settlement will be divided at the beginning of the case. This way future problems regarding the division can be avoided.