93.1 KISS FM – Ask A Lawyer, Part 8

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

Tricia

Waking up with Mike and Tricia on 93.1 KISS FM. We’re back with Michael Gopin for our “Ask a Lawyer” segment. This time around, we are gonna be giving you a question from Socheel [SP]. Now, her daughter missed a toll invoice from Harris County. The picture on the invoice is not her car, but the license plate is. She said, “Her daughter has not been in Harris County since 2015, so how can she get this dismissed?”

Michael Gopin

Well, she’ll have to contact the people on the invoice, explain the situation, probably provide some evidence that her car is a different type of car model and so forth, and dispute it. That’s the only way that she’d be able to do that. You know, they have the burden of proof in this type of case to prove it was actually her car, her vehicle that missed the toll. So they have to prove that against her.

So she’ll need to get her evidence together, provide it to the people who are doing the invoicing. I’m not sure who that would be, but she should have that on her little ticket that she received in the mail, and that should take care of it.

Mike

But what if the photo shows like she says the license plate, and it is her daughter’s license plate.

Michael Gopin: Well, she’ll have to tell them and provide proof that, you know, perhaps her license plate was stolen or reproduced or something, and that her car is attached to a different license plate so she would have to, you know, get, you know, evidence on that, you know, whether it be from the registration of her vehicle. That may be a good place to start.

Tricia

Yeah that would be my bigger concern. I’d be like “Wait a minute.” So, yes, your license plate, no not your car. I’d be like, “We need to look a little bit deeper into that.”

Michael Gopin

Right.

Tricia 

You know, so…

Mike 

Especially if your plates were never stolen.

Michael Gopin 

Right, yeah. Exactly.

Tricia 

Exactly. If you’re like, “No, my plates have never left my car,” you know? So that’s a big problem.

Mike 

That also sounds like a tough thing to prove too.

Michael

Yeah. It will definitely be an interesting case there, but I think if she can reach out, they should be helpful in terms of getting that taken care of for her.

Tricia

I don’t know, not so tough, because if she’s got…like if she’s only ever had one car, well, then it’s an impossibility for that car to be associated with that license plate. And if she’s had a couple, well, then you can go through the county records and show that you never had a vehicle of that type attached to that license plate.

Mike

It’s just that sometimes some of these entities are so hard to deal with, you know? Like they make up their mind and they’re not gonna hear anything, or they blow you off, or you can’t even get a hold of a person.

Michael Gopin

That’s the biggest problem, exactly.

Mike

Okay. Let’s move on to slip and falls now.

Tricia

Okay.

Mike

This is something that Michael Gopin deals in all of a time. You have accidents, he has answers about those questions, about slip and fall accidents.

Tricia

Okay, this is from Vilma. She says, “I live in a duplex that I rent. I’ve been hassling my landlord to fix the carpets in our house because my youngest keeps tripping over the carpet. Well, the other day, he fell really hard on the rugs, and cracked open his head. We had to call the ambulance, have him taken to the hospital, he had to have stitches, and he had a concussion. So she wants to know, is this an issue we can go after the landlord for? We have a ton of medical bills, and there’s no way we can afford to pay them.

Michael Gopin

Yes. Certainly this is a type of case that we can go after the landlord. We would need documentation. We would like to see pictures of the carpet, also any communication that you had with the landlord prior to the accident indicating that this was a problem, we need to get it fixed, and the landlord’s responses to those questions.

So, you know, depending on, you know, exactly what was wrong with the carpet situation, we can try to make a claim for negligence against the landlord for the injuries that your child suffered. And the age of the child is important too, because they’re gonna say, “Well, you knew it was there, and you still fell.” But, you know, if the child is young enough, which it may be in this case, you know, that defense may not, you know, be very helpful for them.

Tricia 

And I think a lot of people, and only because I grew up as the daughter of a lawyer, any time something like this might come up, I’ve always told people, “Get a notebook and make sure that you have in writing conversations. Make sure that you have emails, or text messages, or actual postal letters because you’re gonna need to be able to show those in court. Verbal is very tough to prove.” And, especially, in this damage, you’ve got text message possibilities, email possibilities. There are just so many opportunities. And take pictures. I mean, you’ve got a phone, use it.

Mike

Sure. Yeah. My son is a renter. And I tell him all the time, “Anytime, you know, you have issues with the landlord, you know, you don’t just go to the office and tell them, you know, or follow up with an email or something, ‘As per our conversation,'” blah, blah, blah, you know.

Michael Gopin

Yeah. Documentation is everything. And the key issue here is notice to the landlord. The landlord would have to have been given notice that there’s an issue or a problem, a defect with the carpet. So, giving them that notice triggers their liability so that’s really important.

Tricia 

Okay, second question. This is from Jaime. He said, “I tried to hire a lawyer about three weeks ago for a slip and fall accident that happened at a local gas station. The lawyer I called said that he didn’t have a case, and that he didn’t follow the right procedures when it came to filing his claim.” So, is there anything that your office can possibly do for Jaime? He said, “His main concern was not having photo proof or a report from the store where it occurred.”

Michael Gopin

No, of course, we can still help you. You know, those things aren’t mandatory. I mean, they’re very helpful and they’re important, but your case is not over if you don’t have a written report from the store, or if you don’t take photos of the store, that your case is not over. Your case could be, you know, harmed in some way, you know, by not having those…that information or the report or so forth, but it’s certainly not over. So depending on the facts of the case, what happened, what type of injuries were suffered, yes, an attorney in personal injury such as ourselves can definitely help you.

Mike

Okay. Now, we have 1 of our 70 listeners, we’ll be right back, and the question has to do with somebody getting hurt at work, and an employer not wanting to cover the damages that happened to this person. We’ll see what Mr. Gopin has to say about that. “Ask a Lawyer” returns next on “Mike and Tricia Mornings.”