May 2012

False Beliefs about Charlotte Workers’ Compensation – Part 4: “Recovery Goes In A Straight Line”

May 31, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

On some level, you already know that the experience of trying to recover from the injury that’s made you need Charlotte workers’ compensation is neither simple, nor obvious. On the other hand, you probably hold some false beliefs about how the healing and recovery process works.

These false beliefs might be toying with your expectations. They could negatively impact not only the results you ultimately get but also how you feel about those results in terms of satisfaction. That’s all a little heady. So let’s break it down.

In the western world, we are trained to think linearly about our problems. When we think about recovering from an injury, for instance, we subconsciously picture the point of injury as the lowest point on a graph of wellbeing. As time goes by, we get treatment, and we get better and better. The metric that we use to track to our wellbeing slowly but steadily rises until we are “back to normal.”

A graph of this process would look like a straight line slopping upwards over time. The same thing will be true for any aspect of the North Carolina workers’ compensation recovery journey. For instance, if you track your financial state, you start at a level place, get hit by the injury and see a sharp dip in the curve followed by a slow but steady increase back to baseline.

Here’s the reality: our lives are rarely linear.

Setbacks, complications, and other dynamic factors will make your journey far less “straight and obvious” than you’d expect.

•    A negative example: you might be healing fine from your knee injury surgery only to wrench your back two weeks out. You’d then find yourself facing 10 months off of work instead of just two.

•    A positive example: you might feel totally overwhelmed by your finances… only to encounter a great recommendation for a financial planner, who manages to tidy up your numbers in just a few afternoons and thus relieve you of a tremendous amount of stress.

Even if the mathematical metaphor is not totally clear you, the takeaway is pretty straightforward: Our minds think linearly; but life is anything but linear. To make sense of the chaos, you need good people, who have experience and a track record of success, to help you navigate the various issues in your journey. The team at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you manage your crisis and come away from your experience stronger, healthier and happier.

Attorney Michael A. DeMayo Gives a Shout-out to Local High School Scholarship Winners

May 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

For many of us, we will never give away $37,500 in our lifetimes, much less in one year. Charlotte attorney Michael A. Demayo is ever so grateful that his law firm is in a position to do so, not just this year but for the past eight as well. This is the ninth year of the Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program, which awards $2,500 scholarships to 15 graduating North and South Carolina high school seniors.

As founder and head of a large personal injury law firm with four regional Carolina offices, Michael A. DeMayo is in a unique position to understand the effects of underage drinking and driving in the larger picture, the effects on society – but also in painful detail through the stories of his devastated clients.

Although drunk driving has tragic consequences at any age, it is particularly sad when it cuts short a life that should be just beginning and even more devastating when the perpetrator is also underage. With the same drive that has made his firm one of the largest in the state, Michael DeMayo has put his energy into finding ways to solve this insidious and life shattering problem.

Focusing his efforts on young adults just beginning their driving years, DeMayo launched both the Arrive Alive! Don’t Drink and Drive program, and with it, the Scholarship program.

This year, fifteen worthy high school seniors from North and South Carolina have just been awarded the $2,500 scholarships to put toward their college educations. The seniors were judged with various different criteria, including their own community service efforts, their grades, and their submission of either a video, powerpoint or online presentation, or an essay. The topic – the prevention of underage drinking and driving, of course.

Winners are chosen each year by a committee. Says DeMayo, “We received the highest number of applications ever this year. The overall quality of the presentations was really high, which made it difficult to pick the winners. But if the scholarships help to save only one life, the investment is well worth it.”

If you’d like to see the winning presentations, they are available on our website here.

Michael A. DeMayo sends his congratulations and appreciation out to these fifteen winners, with heartfelt thanks for their initiative, attitude, and maturity. We firmly believe that these seniors, just graduating high school and about to go off to college, are one of our nation’s greatest assets.


Winners of the 2012 Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program:

  1. Dakota Palacio of Al Brown High School
  2. Bria Soto of Marvin Ridge High School
  3. Matthew Sciascia of Hickory Ridge High School
  4. Taylor Thompson of Mooresville Senior High School
  5. Emilia San Miguel of Robert Logan Patton High School
  6. Kirsten Consing of Fred T Foard High School
  7. Brianna Gallegher of East Lincoln High School
  8. Cassidy Plyler of Metrolina Christian Academy
  9. Austin Rhyne of North Iredell High School
  10. Megan Gurjar of Lake Norman High School
  11. Amare Seltun of South Point High School
  12. Graham Collins of Covenant Day School
  13. Meredith Avant of Independence High School
  14. Tanner Halgren of Cato Middle College High School
  15. Meredith Morrow of Ardrey Kell High School

Congratulations on a job well done!

False Beliefs about Charlotte Workers’ Compensation – Part III: “My Problem Is Simple”

May 29, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

One of the most dangerous false beliefs about Charlotte workers’ compensation is the notion that recovering from a workplace injury or accident is just a one or a two step process.

It’s easy to understand where we get this notion. Imagine you skinned your knee. You’re not that badly hurt. The solution is just basically to put a Band-Aid on the knee, rest your leg, and then get back in the game. So we extrapolate from this kind of experience when we think about our workers’ compensation problems. You imagine that, if you wrenched your back in an industrial accident or breathed in some toxic fumes at a Charlotte factory, then all it will take to “fix everything” is a slightly more robust version of the “put a Band-Aid on the knee and rest the leg for a while” technique.

The problem is that simple, seemingly minor workplace injuries can drive a cascade ofproblems that can essentially infect every aspect of your life and work.

For instance, if you can’t go into the office every day, you can’t bring home a pay check.

That means that you no longer have the cash flow to pay your bills, which means that you may have to deal with creditor harassment, which means that you’re going to be under additional stress, which means that your relationships are going to suffer because you’re going to be depressed and fretting about the creditors, which means that you may make additional errors and/or not get the help and support you need, which may in turn exacerbate your other problems, and so on and so forth.

So once all those “balls have been thrown into the air,” it’s not going to be enough simply to repair the injury that drove you to need North Carolina workers’ compensation in the first place. You’re going to need a more complete solution to address all the little tiny problems (and not so tiny ones) that have been caused or worsened by your recent experiences. The good news – the silver lining of this problem – is that resources abound out there to help you deal with this cascade of problems and to fix the cycle.

The other piece of good news is that chain reaction that we just discussed – going from bad to worse – can also occur in reverse. In other words, fixing one aspect of your turmoil can redound to have multiple positive impacts on multiple areas of your life. The challenge that you must contemplate is to find the points of leverage where you can generate that “positive cascade” and get results.

The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo is extremely experienced helping workplace accident injury victims confront and manage their problems. We understand that the workers’ compensation battle is often anything but simple. And we have the means, resources, compassion, and experience to help you get best results.

False Beliefs about Charlotte Workers Compensation – Part II: “My Benefits Will Make Me or Break Me”

May 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you or a family member got hurt in a workplace accident in or around Charlotte, and you have serious bills and medical expenses to dispatch, an urgent priority is to try to secure North Carolina Workers’ Compensation benefits.

This money can be a godsend to help you pay for bills, produce the cash flow necessary to fund your life, and release stress. Given how important the money might be to you, you might be tempted to overinflate its potential importance to you, long term. Now, obviously, you do need benefits. And if you deserve them and can get them, the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo can fight as hard as possible, using all of our resources and experience, to get you the fairest and most efficient resolution.

On the other hand, you also need to understand that recovery from an injury or from a tough financial situation is a process. There is no “one-time” fix for your health or your financial dire straits. If you broke your arm, there is no pill or surgery that you can buy that’s going to magically make your arm “all better” by next week. Sure, there are surgeries and techniques and drugs that can help with the process — that can deliver more certainty in terms of results. But healing ultimately takes time. The same thing is true with respect to your finances.

Why is this discussion important?

It’s important because the mindset that you carry with you as you manage your personal injury can have an enormous impact on your potential for success and healing. If you operate under false beliefs – e.g. that getting benefits will “fix everything” or that not getting them will “ruin your life” – then you are not really seeing reality clearly. And you could make inaccurate or desperate decisions that could complicate your situation. Moreover, by searching for the equivalent of “magic pills” instead of trying to find great people, great resources, great systems, and great processes –– you are going to set yourself up for disappointment. The key is your mindset, more than any single decision. And the key to a great mindset is understanding that recovery is a process, not a pill.

False Beliefs about Charlotte Workers’ Compensation – There is Someone Who Has “All The Answers” For You

May 22, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve been struggling with a Charlotte workers’ compensation issue – e.g. trying to compel an unfair insurer to make good on a policy or struggling to negotiate appropriate terms with an employer – you are probably feeling under a lot of pleasure on multiple fronts.

First of all, you and your family need to deal with your current financial realities. If you have a cash flow problem with your household, that’s a big issue – especially if you have mortgage payments or student loan payments. You also have to contend with the injury itself:

•    How bad is it?
•    Will you be able to heal?
•    When will you heal?
•    What therapies are the most appropriate?
•    Whom can you trust to give you good advice about your medical condition?
•    How can you evaluate and compare different doctors’ opinions and treatments?

So that’s a whole other basket of challenges. Then you face legal/bureaucratic challenges – obstacles that must be overcome. These include wrangling with your boss, insurance company, or the state itself – or all of the above. And if you want to get help, you then have to figure out how and where to get good help. Should you study the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation rules by yourself, or find a good law firm. If so, what firm should you choose, and by what criteria should you choose that firm?

The questions are endless.

Given the depth and breadth of your problems and complications, it is tempting to want a guru or savior – someone who can essentially take a magic wand and wipe away your problems and bring your life back to “the way it was” the day before the accident or injury. It’s a tempting fantasy. But it’s also potentially dangerous one. After all, even if you work with the best lawyers and doctors, and if you get great support from your friends and family members, you still may have a long and surprising road ahead of you, If you operate under the mentality that you are helpless — that you require other people to do your thinking and your healing for you — you are going to make yourself needlessly vulnerable.

So what’s the resolution?

In some ways, workplace accident victims are caught between a rock and hard place. You can’t do it all yourself. Even if you have the time, energy, and health – which you don’t – you lack the expertise, knowledge, relationships, etc. to “get everything done” that needs to be done. On the other hand, good people and resources can play an enormous role in your ultimate recovery and trajectory back to wellness and financial equilibrium.

We invite you connect with the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo immediately for a free consultation about what you might be able to do.

Workers’ Compensation Advice Fatigue: Too Many Answers, Too Few Results

May 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Here’s a pretty subtle – some might say insidious – problem that can strike would be beneficiaries in North Carolina workers’ compensation cases. It’s a problem of expectations.

More specifically, if you got hurt or sick on the job, you likely initially felt confused and overwhelmed and out of control. You did what any normal confused and overwhelmed person would do – you went online (and elsewhere) and researched your rights and requirements under North Carolina workers’ compensation law. You wound up discovering a seemingly infinite number of articles, blogs, and websites devoted to “helping you” unpack your challenges, maximize your benefits, and rebuilding your life. While you found some of the information compelling and commonsensical, you haven’t made the kind of progress you had hoped to make. As a result, a kind of dissonance has opened up in your life and created a new kind of stress.

You are now aware that there are experts and gurus and others who “walk the walk” successfully. By the same token, since you haven’t yet achieved your goals, you are finding yourself ruefully comparing your own situation with the “best case outcomes” you’ve read about online and elsewhere. How come your problems aren’t solved? What are you doing wrong that these other folks are doing right?

Unfortunately, these are the wrong questions to ask!

It’s very difficult to understand your own situation exclusively in the context of someone else’s situation. Even if the facts of your North Carolina workers’ comp case are very similar to the facts of another case that turned out successfully, you can never tell what subtleties and nuances separate your situation from that other situation. In fact, two coworkers injured in nearly identically industrial accidents may wind up with very, very different legal outcomes. Is this because one does a better job of getting the right help? Perhaps. But perhaps their situations are more different than superficial analysis can tell us.

This isn’t to say you should not do due diligence and try to find the best law firm around. (If you are interested in connecting with the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo, we would be happy to provide a free consultation). But you need to be careful by managing your own expectations. If you are desperately single, one of the worst things you can do for your ego and spirit is to hop on Facebook and read about all your friends’ wedding announcements. We do so anyway, because we live in a kind of voyeuristic culture. But this is not necessarily a healthy thing to do, psychologically. Likewise, you can read a ton of workers’ comp success stories, but unless and until you ground your own situation in reality, you may be getting your hopes up too soon.

It’s a fine balance, of course. We all need success stories to help us keep our eyes on the prize and boost our motivation. Being optimistic has rewards of its own. But balance your optimism with a grander perspective.

More web resources:

Why to be optimistic:

Why to be realistic:

The Stress of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation on Your Relationships

May 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Most outsiders who think about North Carolina workers’ compensation questions focus on the obvious stuff: The struggles with insurance companies and uncooperative bosses; the bureaucracy; the financial concerns; the medical, surgical, and rehab-related problems, etc.

But let’s not forget that the worker’s comp experience is not just a financial or medical one – it’s an emotional one as well. In particular, beneficiaries often experience significant challenges in their relationships – both relationships with themselves and with the close family and friends.

Many changes at once

Consider how much has changed in your life since you got hurt or sick at work:

•    You no longer have a steady stream of income.
•    Whether or not you will even get to collect workers’ comp benefits may be in doubt.
•    You may find yourself in a new, adversarial position with your employer or co-workers.
•    You may have to confront the headache of dealing with an insurance company.
•    You may be scared about your medical prognosis or path to recovery.
•    All of these stresses may have compounded other problems that existed before the injury/illness.

Even if you manage to “keep it all together” psychologically – keep a positive attitude, etc. – other people are bound to perceive you differently. And almost everyone needs a little extra support – emotionally, financially, and otherwise – after they have been seriously hurt or thrown off their career game. So you’ve become more needy, and your new status has changed the dynamics of all of your relationships. For instance, you may no longer be able to lift your kid out of the bath like you used to, and now you need help doing that. That changes your relationship with your child, changes your relationship with your spouse, and changes your perception of your ability as a parent.

Multiply that shift times a thousand, and you can begin to understand why the whole workers’ comp journey is such a challenge to so many relationships.

Being open, getting help, and listening to your feelings and needs

It’s important not to live in denial. Accept the reality of your situation, and you can start to take positive action to make progress. Be compassionate with yourself – and with the people around you. You are all going through lots of big changes, all at once, and they are surprising, and they have the potential to throw you off balance. Give yourself permission to feel a little bit out of control, and work toward regaining control in your life, rebuilding damaged relationships, and finding resources. A North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, like DeMayo Law, can help you navigate the potentially rough legal waters ahead.

More Web Resources:

How change affects relationships

Being compassionate with yourself

At Risk for Needing North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

May 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

As the old sages have told us, prevention is worth its weight in cure many times over. So, if you are in the verge of getting hurt or sick – and needing North Carolina workers’ compensation – you want to prevent potential problems — such as a bad back, inhalation-related lung injury, etc.

Prevention is obviously superior to cure. But this revelation just begs us to examine another critical question: How do you know when you are at risk for an injury or illness related to your job that could lay you up and compel you to seek North Carolina workers’ compensation?

Here are a few “red flags”:

During a repetitive task at work – lifting pipe, driving a vehicle, typing, etc – you feel numbness, tingling, soreness, or other symptoms of repetitive stress injury.

Don’t treat flare-ups lightly – they are your body’s way of telling you to pay attention to trauma.

You’ve seen co-workers fall victim to predictable accidents.

For instance, say you work at a construction site, and you’ve noticed that your friends keep hurting their knees working a particular cement machine. Learn from their experience and avoid that particular machine and/or engage in major due diligence to protect your knees. Take some responsibility and interest in your own safety by investigating your workplace and even your industry for best safety practices.

You’ve had one or more “close calls.”

Perhaps you got lucky. Perhaps you nearly fell off scaffolding but caught yourself at the last minute. Or maybe you drove a late night shift and nearly fell asleep behind the wheel. Again, it’s easy to chalk up a near miss to happenstance and to take the path of least resistance by continuing your old ways. But by examining your “almost accidents,” you’ll find ways to prevent real accidents.

Your friends or family or co-workers – or even your internal “spidey sense” – warn you about potential problems.

For instance, your wife or husband may say something to the effect of, “Boy, you’re really looking exhausted every time you come home from night shift,” or you may have a dream about hurting yourself at work. The point is that these subtle, intuitive warning signs should not be ignored. Our intuitions are wired to pick up on subtle factors about our environments that our conscious minds are not very good at paying attention to.

If you’ve already been hurt or may be ill at work, Michael A DeMayo’s North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm can help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

More Web Resources:

Paying attention to intuition

Warning signs that you might be hurting yourself

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation: Nine Steps to Set Yourself Up For Success

May 8, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

What kind of mentality should you have to maximize your chances for success with your North Carolina workers’ compensation?

According to researchers from Harvard, there are actually nine key ideas that you should embrace to make better progress towards your goals. Here they are:

#1. Be specific about your goals. Concrete numbers, dates, timeframes, et cetera, are better than ambiguous ones, since they give your mind something to focus on.

#2. Take action towards your goals. Grand plans are great. But if you really want to succeed, you need to start moving forward in some direction – for instance, by connecting with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm for a free consultation.

#3. Measure your progress. How far you are away from achieving your financial goals, recovery goals, et cetera? When you can measure your milestones, you will be more likely to push yourself along.

#4. Be optimistic, but also be realistic. You don’t want to have your head up in the clouds, but you also no need to keep a positive attitude to keep yourself motivated and moving.

#5. Enjoy the journey. You can learn a lot from your quest for North Carolina workers’ compensation. It’s not just about the benefits (although those are important). It’s about how you get those benefits, what you learn in the process, and what those benefits mean for the rest of your life.

#6. Demonstrate grit. Yes, your goals may be lofty and difficult. But successful people have grit to persist even in the face of substantial obstacles.

#7. Exert willpower. This is kind of similar to #6, but it’s slightly different. Will power is actually a skill that can be learned and improved upon. If you feel like you want to surrender or give up in your fight against an insurance company, employer, or recalcitrant bureaucracy, don’t. Push yourself, and lean on resources to help you get kick started again.

#8. Limit your challenges. In addition to going after workers’ comp benefits, you might also be trying to lose weight and stop playing so many games of Angry Birds on your cell phone. Avoid taking on multiple difficult challenges at once, since it splits your focus.

#9. Accentuate the positive, and eliminate (or at least don’t dwell on) the negative. Focus on actions that you can take that are going to lead you in a positive direction. There will be a time for rumination and regret. But as the old saying goes, you can’t do a don’t. Focus on the steps you can take to get to your workers comp goals, and push as hard as you can to achieve them using the other eight concepts that we have discussed here.

You can also lean on the team here at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo for good help.
More Web Resources:

Harvard Researcher’s Nine Steps for Success

How to Build Your Will Power Muscle

Obtaining North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits Is Not As Hard As You (Or The Experts) May Think…

May 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Perhaps your employer promised to fight your claims; or maybe you’ve encountered resistance from an insurance company. Or maybe you’ve just been reading horror stories about claimants who’ve spent months or even years chasing North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits. In any event, you are gearing up for a big fight. But the path may not be as hard as you fear.

Secret of success: pretend your goals will be tough to reach (even if they won’t)

Researchers at Harvard found that, to set yourself up for success, you need to think effectively about your goals. According to the famous Pareto Principle – also known as the 80-20 rule – imbalances in life are basically everywhere. 20% of all people who get divorced account for 80% of divorces, for instance, amazingly. You wear 20% of your socks 80% of the time. This amazing, counterintuitive principle is at work in practically every facet of our lives, work, relationships, et cetera. Although it’s hard to find statistics to support this contention, it’s probably true that 80% of North Carolina workers’ compensation cases fall into the relatively simple and straightforward category. Only a slim minority of cases constitutes the difficult complex, “drag on in court for months or years” type cases.

Of course, it’s impossible to know whether your particular situation will merit a more robust and muscular response. And it’s always useful to prepare for the worse, even while you hope for the best. But if you’ve been putting off connecting with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, like DeMayo Law, because you are worried about the complexity of your situation, avoid this kind of useless, worst case scenario thinking.

After all, you almost certainly face plenty of real challenges related to your injury or accident such as:

•    Educating yourself about your injury or illness;
•    Finding the right doctor and/or rehab specialist to get you maximum care;
•    Working with your spouse and family financial planner to devise an appropriate budget, given your new limitations;
•    Meeting your needs for resting and healing;
•    Enjoying the opportunity to reflect on your life and work and learning to grow as a person and employee;

So stop fretting about imagined obstacles to your case, find a good law firm, and get busy building the next chapter of your life.

More Web Resources:

Fearing Obstacles That Haven’t Yet Presented Themselves

Stop Worrying and Start Rebuilding Your Life

How Not to Commit North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Fraud

May 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The crime of North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud often leads to curious news stories.

“Bad apples” sometimes try to game the system by feigning illness or by pretending that certain injuries are much worse than they actually are (and moonlighting at another job while illegally collecting benefits!).

A case out of Los Angeles last week illustrates the absurdity of workers’ comp fraud. According to the LA Times, Raphael “Noodle” Davis has been charged with four counts of insurance fraud (all felony counts), and he faces up to five years behind bars because he collected $30,000 in workers’ comp… all while participating in mixed martial arts fights!

Investigators discovered the ex-firefighter’s scheme when they found videos of Davis on YouTube fighting in these athletically demanding competitions. To Davis’s credit, he did pretty well in the bouts, racking up a 6-1 record. That being said, his workers’ compensation fraud charges could be a knock out punch.

Pretty amazing stuff, all told. Of course, not all cases of North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud are as cut and dry. In fact, many people who have very legitimate work-related complaints can find themselves hounded by insurance companies, investigators, and others – their credibility questioned, their privacy intruded upon.

Other beneficiaries may not fully understand the rules of conduct – what they can do and cannot do. These folks can accidentally get into trouble for violating certain aspects of their benefits arrangements. This kind of issue is far more common than stories like Davis’. After all, even generous workers’ comp benefits may not compare favorably to the salary that you had made before you got hurt. And we all have a drive to continue to produce valuable products and services and get rewarded for our efforts. So it’s tempting to “push yourself,” even if pushing yourself means potentially violating the rules or spirit of the law.

To develop the most effective, strategic, and appropriate path towards getting benefits, sustaining those benefits, and rehabilitating your life, career, and finances, you may need help. You may find it hugely useful to connect with Michael A Demayo’s North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm for a free consultation about how to meet your needs, given your financial stresses and other concerns.

More Web Resources:

Los Angeles firefighter charged with workers’ comp fraud

Davis’s mixed martial arts fights on YouTube.