Irene Gabo Esq. Interviewed on Davidzon Radio – October 23, 2019
I am not happy with my attorneys. They had my case for 2 years and I heard from them once. How long do I have to switch attorneys?
You, as a client, have the right to switch attorneys at anytime during your case. The question here is what kind of the case it is, what are the injuries and how much work did the prior attorney do or didn’t do? If the prior attorney did the majority of the work but the case didn’t settle yet, the attorney will likely be entitled to a majority of the attorney’s fee, based on the work performed, so many attorneys are hesitant to take cases that have been going on for a while. Also, who knows if the case was handled properly, or if mistakes were made. I had a person come to me 3 ½ years after the accident asking me to take over the case from another attorney. The case sounded very good, but after I reviewed the file in Court, I noticed that one of the parties who should have been sued, was not sued, and the 3 year statute to bring a lawsuit expired. I had to turn the case down. As a client, you are entitled to know about the status of your case, and get reports on your case, by either emailing or calling your attorney or stopping by. As an attorney, I know how valuable my client’s time is and also that many clients want to get their money sooner rather than later. Most of my straightforward accident or premises cases settle under a year and client is kept informed at all stages of litigation. I do not hide from the client, I am always willing to talk the client and will return the client’s call in 24 hours if I am in court the day before.
I received a letter from Medicare with a demand for money back from my accident. What do I have to do with it?
This is usually a copy of the letter, with the original going to your attorney, or defense counsel, who may have requested to see if any amount of money was paid by Medicare for treatment resulting from your accident. By federal law, if we know that the client is on Medicare, we must report the case to Medicare of face a stiff fine, so before the case closes either your attorney or the attorney for the defendant will do so. Medicare will then issue the amount the paid stemming from the accident. For example if you broke a knee, Medicare, will calculate the amount paid for treatment of the broken knee, taking into account the hospital visit, orthopedist visit and PT treatment, for example. They will then issue a bill that they’ll want paid back, so its very important that the attorney takes that amount due in consideration of settlement of your case. When the case is finally settled, your attorney will then ask for a Final Demand, which is usually a reduced demand from the prior sought amount, a lot of times by 1/3.
My attorney told me my mom who owned the car I was driving will have to go to court for a hearing. My mom is elderly and in bad health is there a way to avoid it? I was the driver, I am happy to testify.
Most of the time, if your parent gave you permission to drive their car, there is no reason to bring the owner of the car into court to testify. The owners are usually brought into court if there is a question of permission to drive the car, or the car was taken without their knowledge. A lot of times there can be an Affidavit created for your mother to fill out and sign and notarize that you took the car with her consent.
However, if they insist on having her testify, try to see if this can be a video testimony, by Skype, which many stenographic offices can now do. That way your mom can testify from home via Skype.
I fell in our building’s lobby while our super was washing the floor. Can I sue him for a wet floor that caused me to fall?
You may have a claim against the landlord, owner of the building, so why sue super directly? The insurance for the building is on the landlord and superintendent works for the owner. Sue the landlord directly and ask for the super to be the person who testifies on their behalf. The question is, of course, did you see him mopping the floor prior to your fall? If you did, you may be somewhat negligent for the accident as you are supposed to watch where you are going. If you didn’t see him before the fall, were there orange cones or Caution signs to indicate that the floor was wet or signs that say Wet Floor? Again if those signs were up when you fell, question will be why you didn’t see it.
I fell in Nordstrom over a mannequin which was on the floor. My husband said I should have watched where I was going, but I want to know if I may have a case.
I have been to department stores that are not well maintained with racks too close together, clothes on the floor, packed with people, during the holidays. Especially the clearance racks are often impossible to get around. If the mannequin was in the area that was stocked too tightly or had too many displays close together and simply fell into the aisle by accident and you happen to stumble over it, it may be a case. You’ll need to find out if there are cameras on that floor and whether it can be seen why it fell, how long it was on the floor before your fall and if any workers were in the area prior to your fall. If it was there for lets say 2 hours on the floor and no employee passing by picked it up, it may be a case.
Who pays the doctors for my treatment from an accident, if I have no insurance?
I don’t know what kind of accident you had, but if it’s a car accident, its either the insurance company of the car you were in, or the car that hit you, which pays for your medical treatment. Now if it’s a hit and run and the accident was reported to the police within 24 hours, there is an agency in the State of New York, called MVAIC which will pay for your medical treatment.
If it’s a fall on lets say a sidewalk, the owner of the building in front of which you fell may have insurance called “med pay”, usually for $5,000.00, sometimes more.
If none of these apply, you may have to treat either in a city hospital, like Coney Island, or on a “lien” where the doctor runs up a balance which must be paid at the end of the case. That amount owed at the end must be included in negotiations before the case is settled and paid once the settlement check is distributed.