February 2013

Walking the Paradox: Maintaining Unwavering Faith But Seeing Clearly About Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits Case…

February 28, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

This North Carolina workers’ compensation blog does more than just regurgitate and analyze news. We also like to digress and help beneficiaries (or would be beneficiaries) think more clearly and more positively about their situations. At some level, most injured workers would love to “outsource” the rehabilitation and recombobulation to an omniscient third party. Although a good Charlotte workers’ comp law firm can powerfully help your case, you still need to do a lot of work–mental, physical, and emotional work–to get over your injury and manage the chaos that’s been set off in your life.

The most successful people in all endeavors hew to a variation of what business writer Jim Collins called the Stockdale Paradox. We’ve explained this concept before on other DeMayo blogs, but let’s just rehash it quickly. Admiral Stockdale is a Vietnam War hero. During the war, the enemy captured and tortured him. He emerged from those horrific events not only beloved by his compatriots but also forged and renewed by the experience. His trick to survival–to enduring an extremely difficult time–was to embrace a paradoxical mindset. On the one hand, he maintained absolute unwavering faith that he would somehow survive. On the other hand, he never lied to himself. While many of his fellow captors believed they would “get out by Christmas,” he avoided getting swept up by dangerous delusions of an easy path.

To cultivate this mindset is not easy, nor is it intuitive.

When we get into sticky situations–struggles with a mean insurance company or surprisingly uncompassionate boss, e.g.–we tend to engage in behaviors like:
•    Blaming the offending party and letting our emotions carry us away;
•    Embracing a victim mentality;
•    Searching for a quick fix;
•    Becoming obsessed, euphoric, or entering into some other exaggerated state.

To make best progress, you need two things, according to Stockdale–and his principle probably holds true not just when you’re trying to survive torture or build a business but when you’re working through any project that’s hard:

1. You must persevere and be relentless.

Persistence has a funny way of paying off, often in unexpected ways.

2. You must keep your head in reality.

Never allow overly distressful or overly euphoric thoughts from throwing you off your game. Your situation is neither worse than it is, nor better than it seems. It just is what it is. Embrace that, accept that, and then be relentless in your pursuit of principled, creative solutions.

Don’t Wait for Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits to Roll in to Start Living Your Life!

February 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’re still reeling from a North Carolina construction accident, or you’re on day 40 of a grueling rehab and you’re still not sure whether your employer will accept liability for what happened to you, you feel anxious and a bit depressed. Your life feels “on hold.” You need clarity about when you will get North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits, how much you will get, how long the income stream will last, and so forth.

The benefits questions constitute the tip of the iceberg. You’re also struggling with your rehab, relationships, career goals, and emotions.

Way too many beneficiaries (or hopeful beneficiaries) live their lives essentially imprisoned by this limbo state. To that end, if you have yet to connect with a workers’ compensation law firm in North Carolina (like DeMayo Law), then you are likely pointlessly constraining your resources and possibly even damaging your case.

Beyond that, understand that the “limbo feeling” is in many respects self-created.

Avoid the victim mentality! Yes, you may feel a bit helpless because outside forces have imposed certain dynamics on your life — they’ve constrained what you can and can’t physically do, how much money you can obtain, what therapies you can get, and so forth.

Avoid victim mentality, nevertheless. Find places where you CAN exert control and autonomy, and do so, and you will feel less in limbo.

Escaping this mentality does not mean ignoring reality or dismissing your needs. Quite to the contrast! You need to meet your needs and avoid fooling yourself — i.e. trying to pretend that your situation isn’t that serious.

You might be surprised that how much freedom you still have, in spite of all the constraints.

Keep living your life — doing stuff that’s fun. For instance, maybe you were planning a trip with the kids to Disney World, but you hurt your leg badly, and now you can’t drive — or you don’t feel comfortable taking a long road trip.

Instead, perhaps you could opt for a lower scale, lower cost jaunt to Myrtle Beach for the weekend. Yeah, you might not get to see Mickey Mouse and Goofy and Epcot Center. But you can still enjoy yourself and your family.

Get creative. Find creative ways of meeting your needs and living your life in spite of all the uncertainties and pressures imposed by your workplace injury.

Rereading Useful Advice about the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Quest

February 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’re a regular DeMayo North Carolina workers’ compensation law blog reader, you’ve been privileged to learn about dozens — actually, hundreds — of cool ideas and insights that hurt workers can leverage to make their journey easier.

If you haven’t spent time browsing the archives of this blog, consider doing so. This is not an entirely self-serving suggestion! The truth is that emerging research in psychology suggests that human beings often need to hear new concepts multiple times before such concepts “sink in.”

For instance, you’ve probably read many articles on this blog (and elsewhere) about the importance of setting positive, emotionally charged, highly specific goals.

Given what’s true now for you, in light of your construction site accident or carpel tunnel syndrome (or other abnormality), how do you want your life to be six months from now, a year from now, five years from now?

Unless you brainstorm best case scenarios, write those scenarios down, and focus on that positive vision on a regular basis, you will undoubtedly drift, and your journey to wellness and happiness will be longer and rougher than it could be.

If you’ve been a follower of this blog, you’ve heard that message — or at least variations of it — at least a dozen times. But every time you hear it again, it sinks in in a new way and creates new memories.

In other words, to understand non-intuitive wisdom — or at least non-conventional wisdom — you need to consciously expose yourself to the unusual message multiple times from multiple angles to make it “set” in your mind and become your default way of viewing the world.

So even if you immediately “get it” when you read about the importance of goal setting — if you fail to reinforce the idea, it will ultimately be forgotten. You will continue to plan without an end in mind and waste time/energy/money trying to get what you want in life.

For help grounding your vision regarding workers’ compensation benefits (and beyond) in reality, call the experienced, trusted team at DeMayo Law for a free evaluation of your injury case.

Rube Goldberg North Carolina Construction Accident — Who’s to Blame?

February 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Some North Carolina construction accidents cases are pretty clear cut. A careless worker steps off a scaffold because he forgot to put on his harness, and he breaks his legs. Or a negligent foreman forgets to label certain noxious chemicals, provoking a spill that gives second-degree burns to several workers. Even in cases that appear this simple, surprising complexities with respect to North Carolina workers’ compensation liability law can arise.

But certain cases are obviously hard to parse just upon inspection of the basic facts.

For instance, perhaps you were involved in a large project with numerous subcontractors and subcontractors of subcontractors. Maybe an onsite fire destroyed part of the structure and hurt you and eight other co-workers. Dozens of people, companies and insurers could be implicated as defendants in a North Carolina work injury lawsuit.

How does anyone sort fact from fiction after such a chaotic event?

Turns out, there IS a process.

If you’ve personally suffered harm in a similarly chaotic event, you may benefit a lot from talking with a team member here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo. We’ve helped hundreds of people in very similar situations — including victims of complex Charlotte construction accidents — get results and regain control over their lives. We also can connect you with diverse resources to assist with your recovery. Our crackerjack investigators will protect your rights and untangle the potentially complicated truth about who caused your injury and who should be on the hook for paying your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

Going Back to Work After a North Carolina Workplace Injury: It’s a Process, not a Project

February 14, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Perhaps it’s too early to even consider what it would be like to go back to work after your North Carolina workplace injury. Perhaps you never want to go back to the construction site, engineering plant, or bank office again. Maybe your experience was so traumatic that you need to switch companies or change the nature of your work entirely.

But if you do plan on working again, you might benefit from thinking about the process of reentering the workforce in the following way.

Most people think about returning to work as a project. It’s something that you “do to be done with it.” You will adjust your workflow, schedule, habits, and ergonomics because of your new physical limitations post-accident. But eventually things will get “back to normal,” and the “project” will be completed.

This might not be an accurate or resourceful way to frame what’s in store for you, especially if you suffered a truly life-changing event, such as a metabolic problem or permanent physical injury.

For instance, you may discover, to your dismay, that you can only concentrate six hours a day (instead of the eight hours a day that you used to be able to conjure up effortlessly). Because of your reduced capacity, you might not get all your critical work done. Thus, you’ll find yourself scrambling to outsource or even accept a demotion to stay gainfully employed.

You will be living in a state of perpetual uncertainty, and the “project” of getting back to work may never ever feel complete.

On the other hand, if you view the situation as a PROCESS that can be continually tweaked and improved, then you will feel much better about the situation, almost instantly.

A process is a system that never really ends. It describes a way of doing or a way of being as opposed to a set of tasks that need to be completed.

For instance, let’s reconsider our theoretical example from the process point of view. If you no longer can work eight hours a day — only six hours a day — that’s fine. You just readjust the process per that reality and find new ways of doing things. Perhaps you stop or outsource certain sub-processes that don’t add value to your work.

The difference is subtle but ultimately very important. In the project mentality, you are living for the future — hoping to reach a place of closure in which you forever put the accident behind you. In the process case, you acknowledge and accept what you and your body have gone through, and you immediately start “living for now.” You adjust, as needed, based on the serendipitous opportunities and surprising challenges that you meet on the road.

For help developing an effective North Carolina workers’ compensation case, call the DeMayo Law team now at (877) 529-1222.

You Don’t Have to Win Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case All At Once

February 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As you confront the enormousness that is your North Carolina workers’ compensation case — or potential case — you feel daunted and a bit out of your element. This feeling is common, so try to relax. Remember the old joke: “What’s the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”

That advice may sound a cheeky or overly glib if you’re struggling to even understand what’s wrong with you — while simultaneously dealing with a boss or a manager who’s been, to put it charitably, less than cooperative with your claim.

It’s hard to stop dwelling on your case and easy to become obsessional. Your psyche won’t just let you “forget” what you need to do, so unless and until you determine all the projects related to your workers’ compensation journey and put appropriate placeholders for those projects into a productivity system that you can trust, you will operate at a disadvantage.

So how can you break down your case into bite-size pieces — to eat the metaphorical elephant one bite at a time?

First of all, if you haven’t yet retained a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, you should probably do so ASAP, if only to avoid the “reinvent the wheel” problem that so many claimants encounter.

Finding a really good lawyer can help you at least begin to get some pressing projects off your plate. We invite you to call on our team at (877) 529-1222 for a free case evaluation.

In addition, strive to articulate the different “to dos” associated with your case — both the small stuff and the big stuff — in written form, so that you can deal with them in a structured way.

Give yourself permission to write down all possible projects related to the injury, and then go through the list, item-by-item, and figure out what you need to do next for each one.

Figure out two things:

1. If your best case outcome happened, what would that mean and look like?

2. What is the very next thing you need to do to get this project moving forward? You don’t need to move forward on it right now, but you want to have a placeholder for what you could do if you wanted to take action on it immediately.

For instance, one of your projects might read “retain a qualified North Carolina workers’ comp law firm.” Your next step could be “call DeMayo at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation.”

Once you’ve broken up all the projects on your list in this fashion, organize and review the list regularly (at least once a week) to keep it current, and you will feel far less stressed about the journey ahead.

Could Your Whiplash, Headaches and Other Charlotte Workplace Injury-Induced Problems Be Caused (Or Even Worsened) By Anger?

February 7, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you fell off a scaffold at a Raleigh construction site, hurt your legs and spine in a delivery vehicle accident, or developed crippling thoracic outlet syndrome while working an office job at the Duke University campus, you likely believe that your physical problems are tied to physical causes.

And they just might be!

Physical insults to your body, such as serious falls or car crashes, obviously can have physical consequences. An alternative theory, however, suggests that many chronic musculoskeletal injuries are at least partially perpetuated by (and potentially even caused by) repressed emotions, especially anger.

This alternative theory is controversial and, there is not too much science to refute or confirm it. However, research suggests that many muscular-skeletal problems — at least the chronic ones — may be caused/worsened by knots of overworked muscle tissue known as trigger points. Treatment of these trigger points can relieve symptoms that appear only indirectly related to a problem area. For instance, if you experience numbness and tingling in your hands, perhaps you have a problem in your hands themselves. Alternatively, trigger points in your chest area, shoulders, and upper-back could be constraining your musculoskeletal system and thus making your hands feel numb and tingly and uncomfortable.

The science of trigger points is relatively unexplored and poorly understood. But at least some anecdotal evidence indicates that repressed emotions, diet, as well as the more obvious physical “stuff” can all impact the formation of and resolution of these trigger points.

Perhaps, one day, researchers will understand the mind-body connection better, and physicians can treat workplace injury victims on a more holistic level — help them develop a catalogue of physical therapies, dietary changes, and psychological insight to deal more effectively with their chronic musculoskeletal problems.

The moral here is that, if you’ve been struggling to recover from a seemingly minor workplace injury, appreciate that the human body is incredibly complex and dynamic. Be compassionate and maintain faith while you and your medical team work through your specific medical puzzle.

Of course, while you’re engaging in rehabilitation, consider getting the ball rolling on your North Carolina workers’ compensation case. The team here at DeMayo Law can help identify a powerful way forward with your claim. Call us now for a consultation at (877) 529-1222.

Legislators Propose New Tools to Stop North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Fraud

February 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Charlotte News & Observer is reporting important breaking news on North Carolina workers’ compensation. Journalist Mandy Locke reports that several state legislators are piecing together a bill to detect and punish employers who fail to purchase appropriate workers’ compensation insurance.

The special committee aims to take several key actions, including:

•    Putting employers’ workers’ comp insurance coverage on the public record;
•    Forcing NC agencies to hand over information for analysis to ensure that companies abide by their insurance and tax requirements;
•    Calling for new strategies to limit the frequency and cost of workers’ comp claims (any legislators reading this should peruse the back-issues of this blog, which are chock full of creative ideas to reform the system!)

Per the News & Observer’s article “already, the [state] controller’s office is helping the Industrial Commission identify the tens of thousands of businesses failing to carry insurance…eventually, the hope is to use the data to catch businesses that may be misrepresenting the scope of their business…to avoid certain taxes and insurance.”

But not all the news is good news, at least from injured workers’ point of view. Thanks to last year’s legislative changes, the North Carolina Industrial Commission will be reducing reimbursement rates in April: “in-patient costs will drop 10%, outpatient and ambulatory center surgeries will be cut 15%, and implant costs will not exceed 20% above cost.”

So what might this flurry of legislative action mean for your case? What do you need to pay attention to?

To understand best practices for workers’ comp in North Carolina, based on the new rules and changes to the law, look to the team here at DeMayo Law for steady, intelligent, and up-to-date guidance. Call our offices at (877) 529-1222 to schedule your free workers’ comp case consultation.