93.1. Kiss FM – Ask A Lawyer – Part 2 – March 24, 2022

Ask A Lawyer - Michael Gopin

Announcer: You’re listening to 93.1 KISS FM.

Host: Ask a Lawyer with Michael Gopin. Steve Kaplowitz from 600 ESPN with the questions.

Steve: You know, I’m getting comfortable here by the way. I want to tell you, I like this studio. It’s clean. I’ve got a nice view of Mesa. I’ve never really been in here very often.

Host: Yeah, Tricia was the dirty one. I keep things pretty clean. You know, most women are pretty dirty regardless of what they tell you.

Michael: She’s [crosstalk 00:00:22.828] back at you.

Host: I think she’s still on painkillers right now. I don’t think she’s up yet. I don’t think she’s hearing any of this, but, like, if either one of you ever snuck into a lady’s bathroom, the worst.

Steve: Really?

Host: They are the worst.

Michael: So you’ve snuck in, is that what you’re telling us?

Host: I’ve snuck into a couple of them before. Yeah, but only overnight when there was nobody around. Don’t think I’m some kind of a perv or anything, or I was hiding or something like that, you know?

Michael: We would never think that.

Host: Yeah. No, no. But, yeah, boy, they’re the worst. And you know it too, ladies. You know your bathrooms are the worst. Okay, so Ask A Lawyer.

Steve: Here we go. Alex has this question. I rented a car a few months ago and returned it in the condition that they gave it to me. Now the car rental company is trying to go after my insurance for damages done to the vehicle, but there was nothing wrong when I returned it. Can they do that? Is there anything I can do to fix the situation?

Michael: Well, it’s going to be a who said, he said, she said kind of a situation here. You know, you’re gonna testify basically that the vehicle was returned the same condition that it was. They’re going to say, “No, it wasn’t. There was additional damage that was done.” Did they give you any kind of receipt when you returned the rental car saying that, you know, it was in good condition? Do you have any… I’m sure you have no pictures of it. Do you have anybody that was with you that could also testify in your behalf that there was no damage to the vehicle? I mean, it could have happened in the rental car return area after you left it off.

So they have the burden of proof so, you know, you can argue to your credit card if they’re trying to do it in your credit card or if they have your auto insurance. You could explain to them the situation also if it’s your auto insurance, it’s not going to hurt you personally, but your insurance rates could go up. So you definitely want to defend yourself and make the best case scenario, but it’s really going to be, you know, who the insurance company or the credit card company is going to believe.

Host: I know it’s been a couple of years since I rented a car, but I remember the last time I rented a car that before they do a walk around with you and I see them take pictures and you do have to kind of initial here, there, and everywhere. But I don’t recall if they do the same thing when you bring it back.

Steve: Most of the time they don’t. They just take the car.

Michael: Just very kind of quick. You know, they want to do it fast.

Steve: Exactly. But should you make them do it when you take it back? Is that a good idea or recommendation, tell them, “Hey, look around. Is there anything we need to worry about,” or do you just leave it and hope for the best?

Michael: Well, I mean, if you have the time. A lot of times you’re at the airport and you’re rushing back to catch your planes. You don’t have time for that. And these agents also don’t have the time because they have a million people coming and returning cars. So, you know, as a practical matter, it may not work but, you know, legally it would certainly help you. I mean, you’re not going to typically take pictures of the vehicle when you return it. But I guess if you did, that would certainly safeguard you.

Steve: Well, especially since it’s timestamped date and time. And that way, if they ever came at you, you could say, “Hey, look, these pictures were taken at this time and they were fine.”

Michael: That would be good evidence.

Steve: Yeah, absolutely. I like it. All right. Here’s the next question from Monica. My daughter was diagnosed with a mood disorder, and I think the cause of it is related to the toxic baby food cases I have seen on TV. Would this be means for a claim?

Michael: Not yet, Monica. At this point, the only medical evidence connecting is autism-type cases and attention deficit type cases. So those are the type of injuries that the medical community has diagnosed as related to the toxic baby food cases. So, your child’s new disorder at this point would not be related.

Host: Okay. Are you handling those types of cases?

Michael: Yes, we are. We are handling them, and they’re very scary. I mean, you have kids, you’re feeding them, you know, the baby foods and who knew there was toxic metals these foods at such high levels that even the Congress in the United States got involved.

Host: Wow.

Axel: So they’re very scary.

Host: And are they that fine that you can’t feel him or any? And of course, I mean, unless you’re eating the baby food yourself, you’re not really tasting them.

Michael: Right. No. No, you wouldn’t know. No one would know. It’s just in the food itself. So it wouldn’t change the taste. It wouldn’t change anything.

Host: Uh-huh, and which types are you handling in these scenarios?

Michael: If the child has autism or attention deficit disorder.

Host: Okay, all right, but not a mood disorder.

Michael: Not a mood disorder.

Steve: Okay, here we go with Hector. Hector says, “I was rear-ended about two months ago and the other person’s insurance still has not settled my claim. I didn’t feel like I needed medical treatment at the time, but now I feel like I might. Is it too late to go to the doctor and would the insurance cover the bills?”

Michael: Well, that’s kind of a tricky question because, no, it’s not too late. You can certainly go to the doctor. The question is, is your medical treatment related to the accident? It’s kinda like the BB gun case. When you go into the doctor so far afterwards, it doesn’t necessarily, you know, sound good or make for a good argument that if you go to the doctor two months or so after a car accident, that, yes, it’s because of the accident. I mean, it certainly can be, and perhaps they have a good reason for not going or perhaps they’re the type of person that said, “Well, I’m hurting and I’ve really been hurting bad, but I’m tough and I don’t want to go to the doctor,” that happens for sure.

So, yes, you certainly can go to the doctor and yes, they certainly may cover it, but it’s really a question of, is it related to the accident? And some of the questions and factors that may enter into is how badly your vehicle was damaged. If it’s just a tiny little scratch or tiny little bump, they’re probably not going to think that it’s related. Now, if your car was smashed and totaled and crunched really bad, you have a much better argument for the delay.

Host: So is it bashed like if you are in a car accident to get medical attention?

Michael: As soon as possible, yes. Any delay will hurt your case, even if it’s, you know, a few days delay. Gestures will argue that, “Hey, why didn’t you go to the hospital? Why didn’t you go to the same day of the accident? Why did you wait two days?” And so now we have, “Why’d you wait a week? Why’d you wait a month?”

Host: Right, in this case, in Hector’s case, it’s two months.

Michael: Correct. So it just is a bad facts situation, and then you’d have to overcome it. I mean, you could win, but you could also lose and be responsible for that bill.

Host: All right. So, look, we have time for another one. So when we come back, we’re going to discuss slip and falls.

Michael: Okay, sounds great.

Host: All right, that’s next on 93.1 KISS FM, Ask a Lawyer with 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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