Irene H Gabo Answers Audience Questions on “Good Morning” Show on Davidzon Radio 620AM

 In Medicare, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Slip & Fall

Irene H Gabo answers Audience Q&A on Natasha Bystritskaya popular “Good Morning” show on Davidzon Radio 620AM. The areas covered included Medicare, trials, switching attorneys, slip & fall accidents, police reports, and choosing doctors.

Listen to the Broadcast:

Q&A Transcript

I have Medicare, because I am over 65. Would I lose it if I have a case?

You will not lose your Medicare benefits if you have a case. If Medicare paid for any of the treatment related to the accident for which you are bringing a lawsuit, they must be reimbursed, usually at a reduced amount. Before setting your case, the attorney must contact Medicare to find out the owed amount and include that amount in negotiation discussions. Once the settlement check is received, Medicare then gets paid back, and they have no other claim as to your benefits and your will not be taken off Medicare.

I heard you speak about Country Wide insurance last week. I have a case against them now, does that mean I’ll have to go to trial?

It really depends on your injury. Most cars with Country Wide are insured for only $25,000.00 and even with such low coverage, Country Wide is often unwilling to settle the matter for the full $25,000.00 even in cases where client had surgery, until jury selection or during trial. Country Wide realizes that in order to proceed with the trial you will need to bring an expert doctor who will charge anywhere between $5,0000 and $15000 to testify, and that will come out of the client’s share. So even with surgery, they will often offer $20,.000.00, knowing the most you’ll get at trial, with an expert testifying is $25,000.00. Now remember, if your have your own under-insurance coverage with your insurance company for over $25,000.00, let’s say you are covered for $50,000.00, you will have collected the entire $25,000.00 from Country Wide in order to proceed for any more money against your own company. Therefore, it is likely in that situation that you’ll need to go to trial.

There is a law firm on Brighton that recently had legal troubles and I have a case with them, don’t want to mention the name, but now we have no attorney. What do I do?

Yes, I have heard of a Court order that stayed all pending cases with that firm and advised clients of that firm to find new attorneys. You need to get your file from the old firm and try to find an attorney, because I would assume at some point, and its been almost 5 months now, the defendants counsel will ask the Court to either get the case moving or get it dismissed and if you don’t have an attorney to represent you, this may be an issue. Many attorneys will be wary of taking over attorneys’ cases especially those who have been in a lawsuit for several years. Therefore, any attorney you consult who is interested in the case after your consultation, with him or her, will need to thoroughly review the file you bring before deciding whether to take the case.

I fell on the sidewalk by a grocery store, but I didn’t tell anyone and left. Can I do anything now?

Well, one of my first questions would be when did you fall, and second, how seriously were you injured? If this happened a week or two ago, it is very possible there is still a video surveillance that can be preserved from the store’s own video camera, which may show your fall. Therefore, its important to timely consult with an attorney. In addition, you need to be seen by a doctor, possibly an orthopedist, who will send you, if needed for an xray or an MRI to see the severity of the injury. You or your attorney may also take photos of the defect which caused you to fall, prior to notifying the grocery store of your claim, to make sure they don’t cover up the defect, or fix it, which will make it then difficult to prove the size and depth of the defect.

We were in a car accident a week ago. The car is damaged, who will pay for it? It was a fault of the other driver. For now, our insurance keeps calling.

If it was the fault of the other driver, for example, your car was hit in the back while standing at a red light, the other insurance should pay for it. However, sometimes it takes time to figure out who the other car’s insurance company is and get their adjuster to come and look at the car. In the meantime, your car is inoperable, and you cannot use it. If you are fully insured, usually in the instances where your car is leased or financed, your own insurance company can reimburse you for property damage to your vehicle. Yes, you will not get the deductible at that time, because your $500 or $1000 deductible will be deducted from the property damage payout.

However, your insurance company will then subrogate or bring a claim against the other vehicle who was at fault and attempt to recover the entire amount of your property damage. Once your insurance company recovers the entire amount, you will get your deductible back. So, it’s your choice about how to proceed, and usually depends on how fast you need your car fixed.

I cannot seem to get police report from my accident. Every time I go to the precinct, they tell me to come back. What do I do?

After 48-72 hours, the Police accident reports are available online on NYS DMV’s website and can be accessible by searching either by your plate number, or driver’s license number for a fee of $15. Your attorney can obtain it for you, if you have no access to the internet. If you feel that the Police Report was not completed properly, or that the description of what happened is incorrect, you must fill out a form called MV-104, also available on DMV’s website, and mailed to Albany upon completion.

Is it best to choose your own doctor or have an attorney recommend one after accident?

In my opinion, it is whatever works best for the client. If the client tells me that she has a medical office near her house that is open late and on weekends and gives good physical therapy, and has an orthopedist on staff, i am comfortable with client treating there. If the client asks for my help in recommending someone in the neighborhood, I usually give 2-3 medical facilities to client to choose from, but I don’t force my opinion on the client. For me, it’s important that the medical facility can provide best treatment for my client and really work with him and her through the 3,4,5 months that client will be treating with them. Only if the client tells me the name of the facility he or she is going to, and I know there are issues with the facility, for example, long waits, or other clients have told me the treatment there was not good, then I’ll ask the client to consider another facility.

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