93.1. Kiss FM – Ask A Lawyer – Part 1 – February 2022 | Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin

93.1. Kiss FM – Ask A Lawyer – Part 1 – February 2022

Ask A Lawyer - Michael Gopin

Mike: 93.1 KISS FM. It’s “Mike and Tricia Mornings,” and time for “Ask A Lawyer” with Micheal Gopin, the Gop.

Tricia: The Gop.

Mike: They call Tom Brady the GOAT, I call him the Gop.

Michael: The Gop is here. How are you guys?

Mike: The Gop. We are good, we are good. But you know, I realized that, like, we need some kind of an intro song for you.

Tricia: We do. The walk-out music.

Mike: Like, do you have a reference? You know, is there a specific song that you’re all into that we could use?

Michael: I don’t know. Sports-related, how’s that?

Mike: You want something super exciting, you know, like the NFL theme.

Michael: Exactly.

Mike: Something like tan-tan-tan-tan.

Michael: That’s yours though, right?

Tricia: Yeah.

Mike: Yeah.

Tricia: Copyright.

Mike: Well, sure. Okay. Well, we gotta come up with something, man.

Tricia: We do. We really do, yeah.

Mike: But now we know we want something sports like-sounding and dramatic.

Tricia: Yep.

Mike: Like those NFL films and that dramatic music they use.

Tricia: That’s really good music

Mike: Tan-ta-ta-ta-tan-tan-ta-ta-ta-tan-ta-ta-ta-tan.

Michael: And now you’re gonna sing it for everybody, right?

Tricia: Yeah.

Michael: That would be the really cool point.

Mike: Hey, that’s how we get around the copyright laws.

Tricia: That’s right.

Mike: I just go, taan-taan-taan-taan-tan-ta-ta-ta-tan-ta-ta-ta-tan, while you talk over me.

Tricia: Okay.

Mike: Hey, this is how ideas get born, boys and girls.

Tricia: Just spitball anywhere.

Mike: Just like that.

Tricia: That’s right, that’s right.

Michael: That’s right.

Mike: So, “Ask A Lawyer.”

Tricia: Okay, first question. This is from Hilda, she said she was rear-ended on I-10 last week. The insurance company told her her car was a total loss. But she bought the car two years ago, and now they only wanna give her half of what she still owes. She’s like, “I can’t do this. There’s no way I can afford two car payments. Is there anything I can do about it?”

Michael: What the question is, is what the value of your car was at the time of the accident? So they are responsible to pay the fair market value of the car. That doesn’t mean what you owe on the car. So that could be higher, less, just depending on the deal that you struck to start with. So, you may have purchased a car that was worth…you may have paid more than what it was worth, it may have depreciated more, or they may be giving you a bad deal. So you would have to look up and find out, you know, what the fair market value of the vehicle is, maybe a NADA book, and see if they’re giving you a raw deal or a fair deal. But if the situation is, is that you owe more than the car is worth, you’re upside down on your loan, and the only way to prevent that would have been some type of GAP insurance. So that’s a definite problem. The way I’ve seen it resolved is to refinance the debt into your next car…

Tricia: Oh.

Michael: …so you only have one payment. So if you’re, let’s just say, you’re down $2,000 on your current car that’s been totaled, you add the $2,000 into your new car to finance it, and that’s how it would work out. But that’s the problem, is when you keep adding debt…

Tricia: Adding debt onto debt. Yeah.

Michael: Right.

Mike: Yeah, yeah. And you’ll never get what you owe.

Tricia: Yeah.

Michael: Right. So that’s the issue, is you’re gonna owe, and if you get into a wreck and total your car, you’re gonna be in a bad situation.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. Okay, Bento wants to know, he was getting his car washed at a local place here in town, and the person letting the cars through didn’t give his vehicle enough space between him and the one in front. He said I ended up rear-ending the person with an infant in front of me, and the carwash said they can’t help with it because he needs to file a claim with his insurance. So is there anything he can do about that? He said neither one… Oh, file a claim against the persons in front of his car. So he said, “Neither one of us were at fault for the collision. Minor damage, but is there anything we can do about this?”

Michael: Well, you’re still entitled to make a claim against the carwash and allege that they were negligent in the timing of the vehicles. I don’t know if you were inside the vehicle or not, that does change the complexion of it. If you were inside the vehicle, you could probably have hit the brake and stopped and not caused…or, you know, not had your car hit the other vehicle in front. So that may be an issue as well. So you could be comparatively negligent in this situation.

Mike: Even though he waved you through?

Michael: Sure. But if…

Mike: And there wasn’t enough car…

Michael: …you are sitting in the car and then you see that you’re gonna hit it…

Tricia: If you’re coming up too fast.

Michael: Right.

Mike: Yeah.

Michael: So, I certainly see that the carwash is gonna be held negligent in this case from the facts that you’re giving us. I don’t know what the damage is to your vehicle, but I would certainly, you know, maybe write a letter, maybe hire a lawyer to see if they could get that taken care of and paid for you.

Tricia: Okay. Okay, so Martha, I’m sensing a bad accident theme here this morning. Martha says she was in a bad car accident at the end of last year, her medical bills were high and they’re getting higher. She said the person’s insurance isn’t covering all my medical expenses. She says, “I am gonna be in some serious debt. I don’t know what to do. Is there anything else I can do to get this matter fixed?”

Michael: Well, I would think that in this situation, you may wanna go to an attorney, we’d be happy to try to help you. The insurance company is responsible for reasonable and necessary medical bills. Not all your medical bills, only the ones that are related and only the reasonable costs for those. So if the insurance company is gonna be arguing that either your medical bills were too expensive, not related, unnecessary, all those type of arguments, they’re gonna be fighting us on those. And they do that all the time. So that’s something that we would need to work on to try to get your medical bills paid, get you some money for yourself. The real question is, are they related? And they don’t settle the cases early. So they don’t settle the cases or pay the bills typically as you go, they will settle the case at the end of your treatment or when you decide you’re ready to negotiate with them, and then from that money, you can pay your medical bills yourself. So that’s kind of typically how it works.

Mike: So you get a whole bunch of stuff done and some of it is not gonna get covered?

Tricia: Right.

Michael: It’s possible. I mean, if, let’s just say you go to the doctor twice a day for 60 days, there’s nothing. They’re gonna say, “Well, that’s not really the reasonable course of treatment in this type of injury. You overtreated, you went too many times, you went too often by the medical guidelines, and we’re not gonna be responsible because you wanted to go more.”

Tricia: And I think a lot of people think that you do submit things as they happen. You don’t.

Michael: Yeah, you don’t. And that’s one of the typical reasons some people get attorneys, is because an attorney can have those bills delayed, basically. So you don’t have to pay upfront, the doctor will work with the attorney and get paid at the end also.

Tricia: Right.

Michael: And that’s really important. And we also work with the hospitals and the ambulances and all those MRI places to make sure that they don’t harm your credit as you go along too, because if you can’t afford it, either they won’t treat you or they’re gonna put you to the collection company.

Tricia: Exactly, exactly.

Mike: Those are problems.

Michael: He’s Michael Gopin, we’re Mike and Tricia, the feature is called “Ask A Lawyer.” We’ll be right back with a few more of your questions for Michael Gopin.

Michael J. Gopin

Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. It was two weeks after receiving his license, when he represented a person whose life had been forever changed after being blinded in a work-related incident...


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