93.1 KISS FM – Ask A Lawyer, Part 6

KISS-FM's Ask A Lawyer Segment with Michael J. Gopin

Women 1 00:00

You’re listening to Mike and Tricia morning on 93.1 kiss FM.

Tricia 00:05

Okay, so we’re back with Michael Gopin with ask a lawyer. It’s our special once a month chit chat with Michael Gopin. This is your way to get your legal question or your legal problem in front of Michael Gilpin and get an answer for it. Okay, so Mr. Gopin, you know that a couple of years back there was an 18 Wheeler who just ran up the side of the of the freeway and set one of the one of the overpasses on fire. So that was a huge 18 Wheeler accident. And then, of course, earlier this week, when we had snow, there was the problem on it, they had to close it down to in order to clean up the mess. And so that was another pretty spectacular 18 Wheeler accident, but there’s been a lot of them, we do see a lot of it because it is such a huge traffic corridor for for 18 wheelers. So we have some questions, a couple of them come from from drivers themselves. So this first one comes from Adrian, and he said that he was driving down I 10. And he’s not sure that something can be done about this. But he said, you know, that rubber tire coating that comes off of 18 Wheeler tires, they’re all over the freeway, and he said that the bottom of his car is messed up and his alignment feels messed up, too. So is there anything he can do? And you know, is there any kind of recourse that he has after running over one of those huge pieces of rubber?

Michael Gopin 01:24

No, unfortunately, probably there is probably no recourse in that particular event. You know, you have no idea who, whose tire it was, which company, which trucking company caused this problem. So I think you’re kind of stuck in that situation. You know, if it’s major, cause major damage, you can certainly call your own insurance company and have them take care of it, you’ll have a deductible, of course. And then your rates, you know, may go up for, for using your coverage. But if it’s, you know, a lot of money that it may be worth it. But in terms of suing somebody, no, I think you’re not gonna be able to come up with a case to to sue the tire people.

Tricia 02:07

So you couldn’t like maybe Sue text or the city because they don’t keep that stuff off the freeway?

Michael Gopin 02:13

Well, then you’d also have to know how long it had been on the freeway. If they hadn’t noticed of the tires on the freeway debris, and lots of things that they they would have no, you know, ability to know, immediately. I mean, it could have happened within five minutes of the time that, that the tire was, you know, came apart a little bit. So, you know, they have a duty to keep the streets. You know, reasonable, but without knowing those type of information, it’s gonna be really, really difficult to, to, you know, hold them responsible.

Mike 02:50

Oh. Well, you know, his specialty, Yes, he does. So, I suspect that that is also the same and true of like, you know, when rocks come flying from like, these construction trucks and these other trucks that are taking little rocks here and there that they come and damage your windshield, I guess that would be kind of hard to prove.

Michael Gopin 03:15

Very hard to prove. Yeah, for sure. And, you know, be okay, a rock flew out of your back of your truck, and I’m holding you responsible is going to be difficult. I mean, if if there was some, you know, in that case, you may have a little bit better chance to try to, to make that argument. You know, if they didn’t secure the cabin, or perhaps, you know, it led to a, to a more catastrophic type of incident, maybe, you know, lots of debris came out of it. You see those cases once in a while, you know, debris comes out of it, truck or furniture falls out of a truck, and yeah, and it causes an accident causes injuries, then you can directly link the, the debris to to this particular accident in the case that we’re talking about, with just random, you know, tire debris, there’s no way to be able to ascertain where it came from and how long had been there.

Tricia 04:09

Okay, so our second question about this comes from James, who is a truck driver, and he says that he’s scared he’s going to lose a CDL because he was involved in a minor accident involving another semi trailer. He says, Do you know if they can take my license from me? Is there anything I can do to fight this?

Michael Gopin 04:27

Well, they probably won’t take your license away. But your employers are very, very difficult and very, I guess. What’s the word I’m looking for? They’re just, they are very strict in terms of if you get into an accident or have an at fault event, they often do fire you or your job is in jeopardy. So it is a really big deal for for commercial drivers. I would talk to the police officer myself if I was him. Perhaps get a statement that, you know, maybe we don’t know that it was your fault, maybe it’s unclear something that would clear him in this type of event would be very beneficial. So I would talk to the officer that that did the report, and maybe get him to change his mind, show your side of the argument. And I’ve seen police officers definitely change their opinion and their reports. So it is possible, but that’s how I do to protect myself.

Mike 05:26

But then but then again, then there’s this go back to you know, Texas being a net will state and they can get rid of you. Yeah. I mean, it didn’t matter if the cop changes the story. I mean, if they want to get rid of you, they’re gonna get rid of you. Right?

Michael Gopin 05:39

That’s a fact for sure. So, I mean, if they want to fire you, they’re gonna fire you. But you know, in terms of having your record clean, and if they’re really, if really the I mean, some, some will just say if you’re in an accident, that’s it, regardless of fault. So it depends on how tough the employer is. But certainly, for future employment, if you could make the case that it wasn’t your fault and have some concrete evidence, it certainly will be beneficial to you in the future, going forward to present it to your future employer that, hey, this is what happened. It’s not my fault. I spoke to the officer, I got him to give a statement, and I’m cleared. And that would go a long way to show your future employer also if this one doesn’t work out.

Tricia 06:22

Okay. And then the last question we’ve got is from Georgina, she said she got into an accident about a year ago with an 18 Wheeler, the driver was changing lanes into the far left lane and ran her into the wall. She said I didn’t collide with the trailer. But I feel like because he didn’t notice me he should be at fault. She says she has the trailer, the trailers license plate and the company company info, does she have a case?

Michael Gopin 06:45

Well, technically, she has a case. But in practical matters, I don’t think she does. Since there was no contact, you know, this particular driver would have no idea there was even an accident. So you’d have to make a case that you didn’t report for over a year two, anybody who didn’t report to the police, he didn’t report to the trucking company. So they’re going to be very leery, you know, of this accident or their involvement in it at all. So in a tactical manner, yeah, you would have a case to try to present and secure evidence that would help you. But without witnesses without an accident report without, you know, any contact with this insurance company or the trucking company for a year, it’s going to be very sketchy at best.

Mike 07:38

And what if what if you had said something not long after? Would that change the scenario? Or is it the same thing? Because, you know, the trucker had never even realized? Because, you know, I don’t think we realize sometimes that there’s a lot of these blind spots, right, you know, that 18 wheelers have, and we’re in them. And they don’t even know that we’re there a lot of the time, would that have been a case had been done almost immediately?

Michael Gopin 08:03

you would certainly have a better chance, you know, that they wouldn’t be so leery about, you know, the fact that you didn’t report it, and so forth. You just it’d be as kind of a what they call a swearing match kind of case where one driver says, This is what happened. And he ran me off the road. And even if he truly didn’t know, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be his fault, if he actually ran the guy off the road, because you can see how an 18 Wheeler, you know, could do that. So it depends on who the jury would believe what they believe the trucker who says, I don’t know what she’s talking about. I have no recollection. I didn’t get into an accident. Yes, I drove through El Paso, but I didn’t do anything out of the normal coasts, of course of how I drive. And the other driver who says, Well, this is what happened. He he he changed lanes, and I had to to take evasive action and so forth. And and so it’s really who the jury will believe and who comes off as a more reliable and credible witness.

Tricia 09:02

Yeah. Okay. Well, I think we touched on a lot of things, a lot of interesting things. So if you want to submit your question for next month’s ask a lawyer, go to Kissel pastor.com click on the Ask a lawyer tab in the mystery bar or use the Submit audio feature on the free 93.1 kiss FM mobile app. Thank you so much, Michael Gopin.

Michael Gopin 09:22

Thanks for having me.

Mike 09:23

All right. We’ll talk to you next month.

Michael Gopin 09:25

Okay, sounds good, looking forward to.

headshot 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. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 1983 with a bachelor of business administration, majoring in accounting. He received his juris doctorate degree from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio. Michael has successfully handled countless cases of medical malpracticeproduct liabilitypersonal injury, and nursing home negligence. He enjoys helping people “get their lives back in order” by providing high-quality legal representation and compassionate customer service.