Q&A on “Good Morning” Show on Davidzon Radio 620AM with Irene H Gabo

 In Motor Vehicle Accidents, Premise Liability, Slip & Fall

Irene H Gabo answers Audience Q&A on Natasha Bystritskaya popular “Good Morning” show on Davidzon Radio 620AM. The areas covered included trip and fall, Uber accidents, Medicare and settlements, and mediation.

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Q&A Transcript

I tripped and fell coming out of the elevator in my building, and broke my foot. Who do I bring a claim against?

This depends on whether there is a contract between the landlord or managing agent for the building and the elevator company. The elevator usually has an inspection certificate posted inside of it, with the name of the company and the date when the elevator was last serviced. So I would start by sending claim letters against the landlord and the elevator company on that certificate. If the certificate is ineligible, the claim letter to the landlord must state that you want them to notify the elevator company with whom they have a service contract of the accident.

I had an accident in Uber, but police never came and I couldn’t wait, so I left, how do I report is now, a week later?

If you have an Uber app on your phone, you will go into “Your trips”, chose “past trips” and once you find the trip you need, click “I was involved in an accident”. Uber will ask certain questions about the accident on their app and establish a claim. Shortly thereafter you will get a letter from Uber about who to proceed against, with claim number and adjuster’s information.

Each driver has a separate policy for the cars they drive, in addition to the extra policy provided by Uber

I slipped and fell on ice on the sidewalk in front of commercial building, which has many offices. How do I find the right party to sue? There are like 20 businesses there.

An attorney can look up the owner of the property in front of which you fell, by using the street address. Some websites attorneys use for investigation may contain the name of the landlord’s managing agent, as many larger buildings hire companies to manage their properties. Your attorney may also find leases which will state who is responsible for the snow removal. I would send an initial claim letter to the landlord, asking him to forward said letter to the insurance company and go from there.

My attorney said he is waiting for Medicare Conditional payment letter before he can discuss settlement on my case. I don’t understand what he means, please explain.

If you are Medicare eligible, your attorney must contact Medicare, to see if they paid any money for your medical treatment in this particular accident. Even if they never paid a dime for your treatment in this case, but you are Medicare eligible, your attorney must still report the claim and get a letter from Medicare which will state a “0” balance. If Medicare did pay any money for your treatment, conditional payment letter will itemize all the billed charges, by date of service, and how much Medicare paid, as well as preliminary, how much are they looking to recover back. If some of the charges are unrelated to the accident’s treatment, your attorney must dispute those charges in writing and request an amended conditional payment letter.

I slipped and fell in a restaurant on some candy on the floor. Apparently when the bride and groom came in, bridal party threw candy in front of them for good luck. I have a bad injury, anything we can do?

An attorney should request a copy of the video surveillance from the event, as it will show the time the candy was thrown on the floor, and how long it took the staff of the restaurant to clean it. You may also ask the bride or the groom for a copy of the video, if they took one on their own for their wedding. Many contracts that newlyweds sign prohibit throwing of debris on the floor at the catering hall, as it may create a dangerous situation for the party goers, some of whom may have had a drink or two. So the answer is, it depends, but start with a claim letter against the restaurant, and a copy of the video.

I keep getting papers from insurance called “explanation of benefits”, do I have to keep those or do anything about them?

Your attorney is getting copies of these as well, so most likely you don’t need to keep them. They are sent to you for the review by the insurance company. The insurance company shows you the date the charges were billed, how much was billed and how much they paid. It also lists reasons the bill could be denied, perhaps they already paid it, or charges were too high. If you notice something out of the ordinary, for example, the insurance company got billed for an MRI that was never done, notify your attorney right away.

I heard you talking last week about liking mediation process. Can you tell me more about it and why you prefer it?

Mediation is a voluntary agreement between attorneys or your attorney and the insurance company to come together to try to resolve the case. The hearing takes place usually one month after scheduling, and lasts 1-2 hours, on average. The mediators are often retired judges, who accept your submissions about the case in writing, prior to the mediation and review them. At the mediation you each get to present your case, and the mediator works to have parties come to an agreement about the settlement amount. I prefer mediation because a) its fast and plaintiff does not need to wait for over 2 years for his day in court before the jury b) it resolves 90% of the cases c) it ranges from 450-750 for an hour of mediator’s time, which is much cheaper than having to pay an expert come to testify at trial.

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