Articles Posted in Berniard Law Firm News

The Berniard Law Firm is proud to announce the release of an innovative new iPhone application that can be considered a must-have for individuals in the Gulf Coast. With extensive versatility and options including multiple contact points for our attorneys, as well as consistent site updates that will keep you informed of legal developments as they become available. Released October 26, we recommend everyone download the application in order to stay abreast of a variety of issues that relate to them.

In the works for some time, and with an update already planned, the Berniard Law Firm iPhone app puts law matters that are important to Louisiana residents in the palm of their hands. Constantly refreshing, with updates relating to our website, this application is an effort by our firm to allow our friends and clients quick access and up-to-date information for their daily lives. Whether using the application to send our firm a legal question or to call our offices, we strongly encourage anyone that wants an attorney and a wealth of legal information at your fingertips.

Specifically, the Berniard Law Firm Injury Attorney iPhone App provides users

The Berniard Law Firm is look to tackle a negligent refinery by representing a Chalmette resident assaulted by chemicals released from a St. Bernard Parish oil refinery. While taking a walk through her neighborhood on the morning of September 6, 2009, the woman observed white dust covering homes and vehicles. She experienced exposure symptoms including difficulty breathing, coughing, sore throat, headache, and burning sensations in her nose and eyes. As the symptoms persisted, she went to a hospital the following day. The white powder comprised a spent catalyst including components of kaolin and titanium dioxide which are eye, skin and lung irritants. Portions of Chalmette, Arabi, and New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward were blanketed with the fine white powder.

In addition to releasing a ton of spent catalyst, the refinery released two thousand pounds of sulfur dioxide, one thousand pounds of nitrogen oxide, and an unspecified amount of hydrogen sulfide. Not only was the refinery negligent in releasing the toxic chemicals but also for failing to notify area residents of the accident in a timely manner so that they could take precautionary measures. Moreover, children and pets are more susceptible to exposure symptoms due to their smaller size while residents with certain pre-existing medical conditions would also suffer greater harm than a healthy adult. For example, children have a greater lung surface area to body weight ratio along with other parameters that differ from adults leading to greater susceptibility to chemical inhalation effects at lower concentrations. Likewise, pre-existing medical conditions including chronic pulmonary disease and asthma increase susceptibility to exposure symptoms at lower concentrations.

Specifically, sulfur dioxide may induce acute exposure symptoms comprising irritation in the upper respiratory tract, nosebleeds and rhinorrhea (runny nose), coughing and choking, expectoration (coughing up phlegm), dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and oropharyngeal erythema (redness). Although predominately affecting the upper respiratory tract via inhalation, sulfur dioxide also acts as an intense eye and skin irritant by combining with water producing sulfuric acid and sulfurous acid. Dermal exposure symptoms range from irritation to urticarea (itchiness) and burns. Given this high solubility, sulfur dioxide is also rapidly distributed throughout the body producing metabolic acidosis possibly inducing vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, vertigo (dizziness), and agitation. Decontamination should include removal of contaminated clothing and rinsing of the skin and eyes. Reproductive and teratogenic effects (malformation of embryo, fetus) of exposure are unknown, which has raised concerns among women at varying stages of pregnancy at the time this accident occurred.

Car accidents oftentimes are not simple, clear-cut events that lend a clear idea of who was right and who was wrong. Instead, many times it is left to a court to decide what the circumstances were that led to the collision and the amount of responsibility each party had for it occurring. As a result, because no court is perfect, individuals who have been harmed due to another party’s acts are left out in the cold because they could not prove their case. However, each year new technology comes out that provides a better opportunity for plaintiffs, and their attorneys, to prove their case and receive the compensation they deserve.

One firm, Advanced Research and Technology (ART) Corporation, works with the very technology required to prove cases. Utilizing Finite Element Analysis (FEA), commonly referred to as computer simulations, the company provides compelling engineering evidence to explain the cause of a crash-related case. FEA’s due this by calculating the kinematics of the investigated accident (speeds, relative motion, different parts of accident) and structural analysis (where the cars collided and relevant stresses, strains, failures, energy displacements, etc.). By analyzing this information, FEA can help plaintiffs win cases related to auto and motorcycle crashes, airbag and seatbelt related problems, structural analysis relating to accidents or blasts, slip and fall cases, fuel tank and pipeline pressure analysis and a variety of others.

FEA simulations are widely recognized by the engineering community as a reliable and advanced tool for solving structural dynamics, crash, blast and impact-related matters. Automotive companies often use FEA for car testing in the same way that highway safety systems are designed using the technology. The reliability of FEA comes down to the simulator being able to develop accurate formulations or equations to explain how the millions of small elements involved in a collision react when variables are at a certain set. Because of its ability to determine how a car will behave in a collision and the effects of a collision, technology experts are able to move backwards and determine what variables were in place to lead to the results suffered.

In the aftermath of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and the disastrous oil spill that now encroaches on Louisiana’s coastline, many individuals and business will be looking for a way to handle the massive financial burden associated with clean up and recovery. Luckily, the law provides a way for them to collect some damages.

The Oil Pollution Act

In 1989 the Exxon Valdez spilled over 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska. At the time, the U.S. did not have adequate funds to respond to the spill and only very narrow compensable damages could be recovered. The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) was passed by Congress in 1990 (33 U.S.C. 2701-2761) to address these shortcomings. The OPA created a comprehensive regime to prevent, respond to, and compensate for vessel and facility caused oil pollution. The law also provided for federal oversight of maritime oil transportation through increased environmental safeguards.

For those Louisiana residents, whether they live in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans, Mandeville, Lake Charles, Shreveport or Alexandria, that have questions dealing with Chinese Drywall, feel free to look at our Chinese drywall information section. This blog section focuses on the timeline of this toxic wallboard in America. Whether featuring Chinese drywall symptoms or Chinese drywall lawsuits, our posts hopefully will help people both in Louisiana and a variety of Gulf Coast states like Texas, Mississippi and Florida better understand this complex issue.

If you have any questions on the complex legal issues that exist with this matter, including “How do I know if I have Chinese drywall?” or “How to Identify Chinese drywall in your home?” feel free to contact our firm. It is important to take action as soon as possible in order to secure your legal rights. Click here to contact us today.

As reported on our sister blog, Dow Chemical has experienced another chemical leak in Southeast Louisiana. This time involving the very dangerous titanium tetrachloride. The incident has led to the evacuation of two schools and various roads while local emergency experts assess the situation.

WWL reports Scott Whelchel, emergency operation director for St. Charles Parish, as stating the situation is under control and actions being taken are out of concern and precaution.

He says out of an abundance of caution they are evacuating some homes just north of the Shell Norco facility east of Spruce Street and south of 5th Street. He says the winds are now blowing any chemical cloud over the spillway and away from homes.

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