93.1. Kiss FM – Ask A Lawyer – Part 1 – June 23, 2022

Ask A Lawyer - Michael Gopin

Female Speaker 1: You’re listening to 93.1 Kiss FM.

Steve: “Ask A Lawyer” on 93.1 Kiss FM, that lawyer being Michael Gopin. You sent in your questions. We have the man with the answers. Hello, Mr. Gopin.

Michael: Good morning. How are you?

Steve: We are doing fine. You look good yourself.

Michael: Well, thank you very much.

Steve: You look well rested for us, right?

Michael: [inaudible 00:00:22]

Steve: Right. Haven’t the last couple of days just been so amazing?

Michael: They’ve been awesome. They’re great temperatures.

Iris: Nice and cloudy.

Steve: Yeah. Yeah. I understand the other day, the 80-degree day was like a record.

Iris: A record.

Steve: The coolest it’s been this time of the year.

Michael: Oh, it was unbelievably nice.

Steve: Yeah.

Iris: It was nice.

Steve: But yeah, no, that’s all going to change and it’s going to be pretty much back to normal. All right. So we have a whole list of questions. Iris has taken over the question asking duties.

Iris: I’m going to try and be as like as, how Steve would do it with a motion. So I’m going to try. I’m going to try. So, Steve, this one’s for you.

Steve: Okay.

Iris: All right.

Steve: Here we go. With the first question.

Iris: All right. So we have Martha Jimenez who’s asking, “I have a few questions regarding the new knee replacement commercials I recently saw. I’ve had several knee replacement issues and two were because of infection. Does this qualify me for this case?”

Michael: Hi, Martha, I’m sorry to hear about your knee replacements or replacement, but no, the infection itself wouldn’t be a cause for a case. The cases that we’re talking about are if you had the implant Exactech. Now, those aren’t the only type of implants that they have for knees and ankles and so forth and hips. But if you had the Exactech implant, those were recalled by the FDA. And the reason was because they were improperly packaged. They didn’t have the necessary vacuum technology that’s meant to preserve the material so the implants deteriorate quicker and cause problems. So the FDA took those off the market. You can’t have them anymore. But if you had issues and problems and a possible revision, it may have been an Exactech implant. And if it is that’s when we can help.

Steve: Okay. So if the infection was caused by that specific brand?

Michael: Right. But it most likely would not be, because infection is right at the time of surgery. And we’re talking about down the road after you’ve had it because it deteriorates over time. So the infection is something that’s pretty much a common thing or can be a normal repercussion of the surgery. So I don’t think that that’s going to be related at all to her particular issue.

Steve: Yeah. That’s one of the things you sign away on.

Michael: True.

Steve: Right.

Michael: Infection is a possible consequence, yeah.

Steve: Yeah. Okay. All right. “Ask A Lawyer” with Michael Gopin.

Iris: Next question is from Robert Castro. Hello. What do you suggest we do for a hit and run? I was recently in an accident and the driver just took off.

Michael: Well, there’s a couple questions I have for you, Robert. Do you know what type of car? Do you have the license plate number of this vehicle? If you do, it can be tracked, and you can find out who this person was and if they have coverage, and so forth. If they just took off, you have no information, you could possibly go to neighbors or stores nearby that possibly had a video of the accident. It’s possible sometimes if you’re in a major intersection that could happen, you could find the license plate that way. Perhaps there are witnesses who stopped, maybe they have the license plate. If all those fails and you have no information on this driver, the only possible thing that you can do is file an uninsured motorist claim. We’ve talked about that here before. It’s really important coverage to have. So look on your auto policy. If you have coverage that protects you, it only protects you and your family. So it’s really highly recommended that you get this coverage. If you have it, you can have a claim against your own company. They can’t hold it against you also. But it would be able to recover for uninsured damage.

Steve: Yeah. That happened to my son a couple of years ago.

Michael: Sure. It’s very common.

Steve: Yeah. A hit and run from behind and yeah, we did have the uninsured underinsured.

Michael: So you were lucky.

Steve: Yeah. Yeah. So they took care of it.

Michael: Yeah. That’s the answer if you can’t find any information, Robert.

Steve: Okay. It’s “Ask A Lawyer’ with Michael Gopin.

Iris: The next question is for Monica Michaels. I collided with another vehicle on my way home from work because of all the rain, it made it difficult to see. The other driver was at fault for the accident, but now the insurance is trying to say that I am liable also, since I mentioned that I couldn’t see very well. Can they do this?

Michael: Well, they’re going to try to do everything they can to blame you partially or all for the accident. So yes, they can do this. I don’t know the facts of the accident from your description. But they’re certainly going to try to hold you comparatively negligent. It’s always best not to give a statement to the insurance company because they’re going to only try to trick you and trap you and gather information that you may not realize is going to be harmful for your case. I would recommend talking to us or another attorney here in town because those facts can be argued. The insurance company doesn’t get to determine all by themselves what the liability is, whether it be 20% of you at fault or 50% or whatever they decide, it’s arbitrary, and certainly, it can be argued the other way.

Steve: So like, even now?

Michael: Even now.

Steve: Even though he’s already made the statement?

Michael: Right. Well, just because she can’t see that well, we could argue back, well, of course, she couldn’t see that well, it was raining hard. So there’s an explanation of why, so it’s logical that she couldn’t see that well. But this just gives them a little ammunition to [inaudible 00:05:33] to it.

Steve: Sure. Sure. And so what about like, on the time of the accident and let’s say the cops show up, do you tell them anything?

Michael: I would keep it very simple. Certainly, you’re going to be cooperative and answer questions about how the accident happened, but do not admit fault. Do not admit that you were …

Steve: You were on the phone …

Michael: Exactly.

Steve: … and couldn’t see.

Michael: Anything that could be detrimental to your case, is not a good thing to…

Steve: Somebody distracted you.

Michael: You don’t have to give those statements. So don’t.

Steve: Yeah. So you don’t say, “Oh, Mike and Iris were so funny. I couldn’t stop laughing.”

Michael: Right. I was eating a sandwich and turned around.”

Steve: In tears because they were so funny.

Michael: Yes. I was listening to Mike on the radio and he made a joke.

Steve: You don’t say that kind of stuff.

Michael: That was distracting.

Steve: That’s not the kind of stuff you say. Okay. Just checking.

Michael: Good. Although you might want to say, “Yeah, those guys are funny, but don’t say…”

Steve: That you could say.

Iris: Yeah, but we’re not at …

Steve: I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t see the guy in front of me.

Iris: Don’t blame us, However, we are funny.

Michael: Don’t blame Mike and us.

Steve: All right. But even though, even post, you can still, you see a lawyer about this and they can try to help you out?

Michael: Oh, for sure.

Steve: Okay. All right. We’re doing “Ask A Lawyer” with Michael Gopin. We’re onto the fourth question now.

Iris: All right. This one is from Diana [inaudible 00:06:45]. My husband took out a truck under his name for a friend and the friend took over the payments. The friend … I know, right. The friend ended up getting out of the army and moving away from El Paso. Now, recently, my husband noticed that the friend stopped making the payments, which was making his credit score lower, and my husband having to pay for this truck. We reached out to the friend and he informed us that he stopped paying the truck since it’s no longer working. We want to return the truck and get the payments out of our hands, but the friend doesn’t want to give us any information as to where the truck is or what happened to it. Nothing. Can you please help?

Michael: Well, I’m sorry about your situation, Diana. It’s a difficult one. It’s always the risk that you take when you co-sign on a loan.

Steve: This wasn’t even a co-sign. I think he took on the truck on his own.

Michael: Oh, that’s right. Correct. Yeah, you’re right. So he has title to the car. So there’s a couple things that he can do. You want to see if your friend will cooperate and let you get the vehicle if possible. It doesn’t mean that you can just turn it in and be done with the payments either, because there’s a consequence there if the vehicle’s worth less than what’s owed in the vehicle, you’re out of luck on that. So here’s what you need to do. First, you need to contact your friend and tell him, you just need to pick up the truck. Be as nice as possible because being threatening and mean to him, isn’t going to probably work because he’s…

Steve: It doesn’t even seem like them being nice is working either.

Michael: Right. And it may not. So you would need to try to locate this guy. You can maybe get one of those services, and try to find him, find out where he is. If you have the VIN number of the vehicle, you could try to locate the vehicle that way. It may be gone in for service somewhere. It may have been in a wreck. There’s all sorts of things that could have happened, which may be found with the VIN number. If all those fail, you could call the police, tell them that your car was stolen. Maybe they can get information if it’s reported or found it’ll pop up. If you know where his family is or other friends of his who you could try to detective and find out where he may be, that may be good. The army may know where he was since he retired from the army.

Iris: Yeah, that’s true.

Steve: What a hassle.

Mike: Whatever, those are all ways, it’s just a horrible situation and …

Steve: Yeah. You don’t need those kinds of friends in your life.

Michael: Those are not friends.

Steve: No, not at all.

Michael: So I’m really … It’s really a difficult situation, but because you’re on the title and even if you just co-signed, it’s the same situation. You’re just in trouble.

Steve: Yeah.

Michael: Really liable.

Steve: Oh, that’s tough. That’s bad. So sorry to hear that. “Ask A Lawyer with Michael Gopin.” We do this monthly. So if there’s a legal question that you would like us to put in front of Mr. Gopin next month, you can either send it to us via the free 93.1 Kiss mobile app, or you can go to kisselpaso.com and look for “Ask A Lawyer” at the top of the page, the Must Read bar. We’ll be right back with more Michael Gopin on 93.1 Kiss FM.

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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