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Personal Injury Lawsuits

History of Acadiana and Lafayette, LA

June 3, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

Acadiana is the official term for the south and southwest regions of Louisiana. The area is roughly considered to contain the region west of the Mississippi River east to Lake Charles, LA. The northern boundary is considered to be Alexandria, LA. Lafayette, LA is regarded as the heart of Acadiana, which includes twenty-two parishes in total. Acadiana is also sometimes referred to as Cajun Country.

Acadiana riverboat in Lafayette, LA

Early History of the People

The name Acadiana is derived from the term Acadian, which refers to the people who left France in the 1600s seeking religious and cultural freedom. The Acadians settled in the French colony of Acadie (present-day Nova Scotia). Less than two centuries later after the colony was ceded to the British, the Acadians were again forced to leave their home after they refused to pledge allegiance to the British Crown and renounce their Catholic religion. This period, which began in 1755, is known as the Great Expulsion or the Grand Dérangement.

The resilient group of Acadians traveled south in waves with Joseph Broussard leading the first group to Louisiana in 1765. Many followed and the Acadians finally settled and flourished in the bayous, marshes, and prairies of what today is known as Acadiana.  

While the Cajuns are the most predominant population in Acadiana, the region is also home to people of Native American, Creole, German, and Spanish descent among others. Lafayette is one of Louisiana’s most cosmopolitan cities and the region’s diversity has contributed to its vibrant and unique culture.

Origin of the Acadiana Name

Although the Acadiana region has such a long storied history, the name Acadiana is actually a relatively recent development. Surprisingly, the term was an accidental invention, the result of a typo. The name was first used unofficially by local radio station KATC-TV 3 around 1963, according to the station’s general manager at the time. The station was locally owned by Acadian Television Corporation.

After an invoice addressed to the studio accidentally inserted an extra “A” at the end of Acadian, the studio decided to embrace the term and used it in its radio shows to describe the area that covered its broadcast signal. The station believed it to be the perfect combination between the words Acadie and Louisiana.

The station never copyrighted the term and people and businesses across the area began to adopt the name. Today there are dozens of businesses in the area with the Acadiana name. In 1971, less than ten years after its origination, the name became official when then Governor Edwin Edwards signed the bill designating the region Acadiana.

Your Acadiana Attorney

If you live in Acadiana or Lafayette and are looking for a personal injury attorney, call Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. The attorneys at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers are experts in personal injury law, including car, motorcycle, and 18-wheeler accidents. Call or visit our website to schedule your free, private consultation with The People’s Trial Lawyer™.


Notable Cases From the Western District Court in Lafayette, LA

May 22, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

The Western District Court of Louisiana is the United States federal court with jurisdiction over the western portion of Louisiana. The Western District of Louisiana has five courthouses which are located in Lafayette, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Shreveport. The Lafayette Division serves the parishes of St. Martin, Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Mary, St. Landry, and Vermillion. Below are some notable cases from the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division.

Scales of Justice and a Gavel in the background in Western District Court in Lafayette, Louisiana.
  1. Lafayette Court Cracks Down on Cockfighting

Prior to 2003, thousands of roosters were shipped in and out of Louisiana every year as part of the cockfighting industry. But in 2003, the U.S. Congress passed a law that made it illegal to ship birds across state lines for cockfighting. The United Gamefowl Breeders Association, a national cockfighting group, challenged the law in the Western District of Louisiana arguing that it was an unconstitutional interference of commercial rights and was discriminatory against Cajuns, Hispanics, Filipinos, and others.

In May 2005, the District Court disagreed with the United Gamefowl Breeders Association and held that the law prohibiting the shipping of birds for cockfighting was constitutional. The case is UGBA v. Veneman, No. 03-970 (W.D. La. 2005). Cockfighting was later banned by the Louisiana State Legislature in 2008.

  • Lafayette Court Orders School Desegregation

On November 11, 2016, the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division issued a final Superseding Consent Order in a school desegregation lawsuit originally filed in 1965. The case is Thomas v. St. Martin Parish School District.

In the 1960s, the District Court held that St. Martin Parish had an intentionally discriminatory school system. Under the U.S. Constitution and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, St. Martin Parish is required to provide educational programs and services without discriminating on the basis of race.

Since that original ruling, the District Court has entered numerous desegregation orders, but the school never earned unitary status. Unitary status is a legal term which means the school is no longer providing a dual education based on race. Once unitary status is achieved, the school will no longer be subject to court oversight.  

The Superseding Consent Order set forth the remedial measures that must be taken by the St. Martin Parish School Board to eliminate the traces of the formerly segregated school system. In order to be granted unitary status, the school must eliminate discrimination in six key areas: student assignment, teacher assignment, principal assignment, transportation, facilities, and extracurricular activities.

  • Lafayette Court Awards Punitive Damages to Big Pharma

In April 2015, Takeda, one of Asia’s largest drug makers, and Eli Lilly & Co., its Indianapolis-based partner, were ordered by the Western District of Louisiana federal court in Lafayette pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages after they hid the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes medicine. The $9 billion jury award was the 7th largest in U.S. history at the time it was given. The W.D. of Louisiana court also found that the company destroyed evidence relevant to the lawsuit and acted in bad faith to preserve documents.

The $9 billion award was later reduced by the U.S. District Judge to $36.87 million because it was in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause. Under the Due Process Clause, punitive damage awards cannot be grossly excessive in relation to the state’s legitimate interests in punishment and deterrence.  The $36.87 million punitive award was still believed to be significant enough to deter such wrongful conduct by pharmaceutical companies in the future. The case is In Re:  Actos [Pioglitazone] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2299, No. 6:11/md-2299, W.D. La., Lafayette Div.).


Stages of a Personal Injury Case

March 29, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court

Accidents happen every day. From car crashes to slip and falls, the National Safety Council estimates that more than 3 million people are affected by accident-related injuries every year. These injuries often lead to large medical bills, missed work, and other pain and suffering.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover the associated costs and losses. To pursue a personal injury claim, you need to follow these steps:

Get Medical Treatment

Always get the medical treatment you need right after an accident. Not only is it the best thing to do for your health, but if you don’t see a doctor right away after the accident the insurance adjuster (and maybe a jury) might assume your injuries weren’t that bad and don’t deserve compensation.

Schedule a Consultation

Schedule an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer to discuss the details of your case, and if you should pursue legal action. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer about his or her experience and background in this consultation, as you need to be sure that you have the best on your side.

File Court Documents

If you and your lawyer feel that moving forward with legal action is the best plan, your lawyer will then file and serve a complaint and all other required court documents to get the case started.

Discovery

Both sides will then have the opportunity to exchange evidence. Your lawyer will send a list of questions to the defendant, and the defendant’s lawyer will most likely do the same to you. Both sides can also consult with experts, police, or other parties involved in the accident, like doctors and insurance companies, to gather more evidence.

Negotiations

The lawyers will have a chance to try and reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. In a settlement, the defendant agrees to pay compensation and the plaintiff releases the defendant from liability.

Trial

If a settlement is not reached in negotiations, the case will go to trial. Personal injury trials usually involve two stages. First, the jury decides if the defendant is indeed liable, and then they decide the amount of damages that will be awarded to the plaintiff.

Post-Trial Motions and Settlement Payouts

If the court decides in your favor, the defendant has the right to file a post-trial motion that seeks to reduce the damages or even set aside the judgment.

If no appeals or motions are filed, your lawyer will guide you through the process of collecting your damages.

Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™

The stages of a personal injury case are complex, and you need effective and experienced counsel to guide you. As a skilled personal injury attorney, Bart Bernard can give you the legal guidance you need to win the maximum compensation in your personal injury case.

If you need help with a personal injury claim in Baton Rouge or Lafayette, Louisiana, or even if you’re not sure that you have a case, please give us a call and discuss your options during a confidential, no-cost consultation.

Additional resources:


Do I File a Workers’ Comp or a Personal Injury Claim?

March 13, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits, Workers Comp 0 Comments

Standard manual wheelchair standing in empty hospital corridor

Every seven seconds in the U.S., a worker sustains an injury while on the job. That’s 12,300 injured workers every day and 4.5 million per year, according to the National Safety Council. Although occupations like service (police and firefighters) and construction trades are among the most high-risk jobs, any type of worker in any type of industry can potentially get injured while on the job. Do you know what to do if it happens to you? Depending on the circumstances, you might only file a workers’ compensation claim. But in some cases, injured workers might also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. You can talk to a personal injury attorney to get recommendations that are specific to your situation.

When to file a workers’ comp claim

Workers’ compensation is an insurance system that pays for the medical expenses of employees who sustain injuries while on the job. This includes injuries sustained at the worksite and those that occur away from the office, as long as the worker was engaged in a work-related activity at the time. In addition to getting medical expenses covered, injured workers may be able to receive a portion of their lost wages if they must remain out of work for a minimum length of time.

In most cases, injured workers will only file a workers’ comp claim, not a personal injury claim. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, which means it doesn’t matter whether the employee was at fault for the accident or not. This is a valuable protection for employees. Workers’ comp also protects employers by prohibiting injured employees from suing their employers under most circumstances.

When to file a personal injury claim

Although injured workers can’t sue their employer, some of them may be able to bring a personal injury claim against a third party. For example, if John Employee was driving the company van to make a delivery when Gary Driver struck the van, inflicting injuries on John, then John may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against Gary. This claim would be in addition to the workers’ comp claim. The lawsuit may enable John to recover damages that aren’t available through workers’ comp, such as compensation for pain and suffering.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that, unlike a workers’ comp claim, the success of a personal injury claim relies on establishing liability. A personal injury attorney needs to review the case to determine whether the evidence suggests that a third party was at fault for the injuries. After filing a personal injury lawsuit, the injured worker may decide to accept a settlement deal (if one is offered). Otherwise, the case may go to court.

Get legal guidance you can count on in Louisiana

As a skilled litigator with experience handling both workers’ comp and personal injury cases, Bart Bernard is well-situated to provide the legal guidance you need when you’re hurt at work. Whether you need to file a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim in the Lafayette, Louisiana area, you can turn to the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers for the help you need. But remember: time is limited to file a claim. The sooner you act, the better. Get in touch today to find out about your legal rights and options. Click Bart First, Call Bart First™!

Additional resources for injured workers:


Steps To Take When Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

February 21, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

justice engraved on a courthouse

If you are injured by another party due to wrongdoing or negligence, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim in court. Personal injury claims can compensate you for damages, including medical bills to treat the injury, pain and suffering, lost wages, even retraining for a new job if the injury left you unable to perform a former job, and more.

Personal Injury Can Encompass Many Things

Personal injuries come in many forms. If a driver was driving under the influence of alcohol and caused an accident, it can be grounds for a lawsuit. If you or a loved one was injured by a defective product, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer. If you slipped and fell because a landlord or a store owner didn’t maintain safe property, he/she could be liable for your injuries. If a doctor or hospital is responsible for an injury, you may have grounds to file a claim.

But how do you begin a lawsuit? Gather evidence.

You need evidence of your injury and the conditions in which it occurred. Legal cases need evidence to support claims made.

  • Take notes as soon as you can after the injury. Describe your injuries and any impairment you suffered as a result. Describe the environment in which the injury took place and any circumstances that caused the accident and injury. Include the date and time, and anyone you spoke to.
  • Take pictures as soon as possible. Pictures of your injuries before they have healed or faded are important in establishing the severity and nature of the injury. Take pictures of the scene of the accident if you have a cell phone. If not, draw a diagram of the scene as soon as possible to keep your memories and facts straight.
  • Keep a log of any trips to seek medical attention for your injuries. If you had to take time off of work, document the times and discussions you had with your supervisor.
  • If possible, get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

Contact an Attorney

Once you have your facts straight, it’s time to contact an attorney to discuss your case. Accident attorneys will provide a free initial consultations that doesn’t require payment from you at all. They will ask you about what happened, what caused your injuries, and what the extent of your injuries are. They will give an opinion of whether you have grounds to bring a lawsuit.

It’s important to find a qualified personal injury lawyer to help you. Many accident lawsuits can be complex, involve multiple parties, and end up going to trial. You need a lawyer who is qualified to do it all.

If You Need a Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer, call Bart Bernard. Bart understands the complexities of personal injury, and can help you when you need it most. Insurance companies know Bart will take them to trial if you don’t receive the compensation you deserve. That’s why they offer his clients higher settlements.

Initial consultations are confidential, and always free. Call today, we’re here to help.


Vets File Lawsuits Against 3M, Alleging Permanent Hearing Loss

February 16, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

American Soldiers and US Flag. US troops

At least 11 U.S. veterans have filed lawsuits against 3M so far this year. They allege that permanent hearing loss resulted from the defendants’ defective earplugs, which were supplied to the U.S. military. 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) were issued to multiple branches of the armed services between 2003 and 2015. Those particular earplugs were discontinued in 2015. Experts familiar with the case suspect that hundreds, perhaps thousands of 3M military ear plug lawsuits will be filed in the coming months and years as the alleged connection between defective earplugs and hearing loss becomes more widely known.

The trouble with 3M earplugs

Military servicemembers are routinely exposed to high levels of noise, stemming from causes like gunshots, mortar explosions, and high concussion equipment. The military issued earplugs to servicemembers in an attempt to protect them from noise-induced hearing loss. However, the selective attenuation earplugs manufactured by Aearo Technologies—a company acquired by 3M—were too short. The dual-ended earplugs could gradually loosen in the ear or slip out of the ear canal entirely, and these problems were not necessarily detected by servicemembers at the time, leaving them exposed to piercing noises.

Some veterans have already announced their intentions to file lawsuits and join the tide of litigation expected against 3M. Kevin Cronin, a veteran from Washington state, told reporters that he expected to file his lawsuit very soon. Cronin was an active duty servicemember in the Army from 2012 to 2015. In 2014, he was deployed to Afghanistan. “I went into the military with great hearing and left active duty with drastic hearing loss and tinnitus,” said Cronin. He must now wear hearing aids.

3M has already agreed to pay millions in a settlement

The news that the 3M earplugs were defective first came to light when a whistleblower lawsuit was filed in 2016. That lawsuit was filed by Moldex-Metric Inc., a manufacturer that produced competing earplugs. The claim alleged that the contractor knowingly sold the defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency, and did not provide warnings that the earplugs were too short to provide adequate hearing protection.

“Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler. In a settlement, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve the allegations. The settlement agreement is not an admission of wrongdoing, nor does it prohibit affected veterans from filing product liability lawsuits against 3M to recover compensatory damages for their losses.

Are you a veteran with hearing loss?

Veterans have already sacrificed so much for this country. They shouldn’t have had to sacrifice their hearing too. Injury attorney Bart Bernard is currently investigating 3M hearing loss claims on behalf of veterans and their families. If you were issued 3M earplugs between 2003 and 2015, and you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus, call The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers to request your case review. Our legal team proudly serves veterans throughout Louisiana, including Lafayette and Baton Rouge.

Get it Done Right™

Additional resources on 3M lawsuits:

  1. Military Times, Hundreds of vets are suing over these defective combat earplugs, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/02/14/hundreds-of-vets-are-suing-over-these-defective-combat-earplugs/
  2. Military Times, Company to pay $9 million after allegedly selling defective combat earplugs to US military, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/07/26/company-to-pay-9-million-after-allegedly-selling-defective-combat-earplugs-to-us-military/

How to Choose the Right Injury Lawyer

October 25, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits 0 Comments

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtIf you or a loved one have been injured by another party, you may be considering filing a lawsuit for damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages from work. But filing a lawsuit can seem overwhelming when you are already dealing with recovery from injury or even the tragic loss of a loved one. That’s why a good first step is to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer. But how can you make sure you choose the right one?

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer

Finding names of experienced personal injury lawyers is similar to finding the name of a good doctor or real estate agent: you ask people you know or try to get references from a professional association. It’s a good idea to interview several lawyers before making a decision.

1. Talk to friends and family.

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

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

2. Contact the local bar association.

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

What to Ask During the Initial Consultation with an Injury Lawyer

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

Most personal injury lawyers do not charge for the initial consultation, but be sure and ask whether there is a consultation fee before you make the appointment. Most reputable personal injury attorneys will offer a free case review and will work on contingency, meaning that they will charge you no fees unless they win your case.

It’s also a good idea to bring documentation about the case. This will help the lawyer answer your questions. If, for example, you have medical records about your injuries, police reports about the accident, or correspondence with an insurance company about claims, your lawyer can accurately identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and provide informed advice about next steps.

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

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

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

Once you have a good sense of these issues, discuss your goals and strategies. Are you seeking a larger settlement than what the insurance company offered? If the insurance company doesn’t meet your number, are you willing to go to trial? Will expert witnesses be required to help make a strong case about your injuries before a jury? Clients and their lawyers should discuss these and other issues be on the same page as to how to proceed forward.

Call Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer Bart Bernard Today

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

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

Additional Resources:

  1. Louisiana State Courts, https://courts.uslegal.com/state-courts/louisiana-state-courts/
  2. Justia, Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 2323 — Comparative fault, https://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/cc/cc2323