Topic: Michael A DeMayo

April Showers Bring … North Carolina Construction Accidents?

May 23, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

April showers don’t just nourish the sweet smelling flowers of May — they also can precipitate serious North Carolina construction injuries.

That sounds perhaps somewhat cynical, but it’s true. When inclement weather strikes, accident rates at workplaces often go up. Why? When it rains or snows or blows, the wooly weather creates extra hazards at construction sites. Even though professionals are trained to deal with wet and furious weather, when you aggregate these hazards, bad weather impacts accident rates.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t go to work when it rains?

No. Wild weather also causes more auto accidents. But that doesn’t mean that you should only drive when it’s sunny out. In fact, ironically, if you only worked (or drove, or did anything) during good weather, your ability to deal with bad weather would likely degrade.

For instance, let’s say you only decide to work on sunny days because you want to minimize your accident risks. But then you get caught out on a surprisingly wet day. Your ability to work safely during would be diminished because of your dearth of experience in those conditions.

The key to managing life’s dangers — and the dangers on construction sites — is to manage them systematically. You need to get educated and to understand your risks and options to protect yourself. You also need to develop habits and behaviors that are safety-focused.

Even more fundamentally, you want to make sure that you are working with a group of men (and/or women) who take safety seriously. Your construction company’s work culture, perhaps more than any other factor, will help you manage risk — or leave you exposed to excess risk.

What if you already got hurt in a scaffolding accident, ladder fall, burn, etc? The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has an extensive, highly successful record of helping workers’ compensation beneficiaries quality for benefits after construction accidents.

Please give us a call now at (877) 529-1222 for a thorough and free evaluation of your matter.

You do not need to fight your own case or work through intricacies of your legal situation on your own. In fact, right now, you should be concentrating 100% on your medical recovery, on taking care of your family, and on managing your own chores and errands and psychology.

Leave the legal work — the accident reconstruction, identifying liable parties, etc. — up to a solid, professional legal team. Call DeMayo law now at (877) 529-1222 to find out more.

Your Complex North Carolina Construction Accident: who should be held responsible?

May 20, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you fell off a ladder or sliced open your leg or suffered a burn at a North Carolina construction site, your gruesome injury may take months to heal, and you are still haunted by vivid recollections about the fateful afternoon when it all happened.

Unfortunately, your case seems complicated. Maybe you were working for a subcontractor on a bigger site, and some other subcontractor’s signage error precipitated an engineering miscalculation, which resulted in your falling off scaffolding.

Or maybe some wild concatenation of factors — a mislabeled bucket, surface slicked by rain, an inaccurate step by you –conspired to cause your injury. Perhaps multiple people got hurt in different ways. Given all the money at stake, many different parties that could be liable (e.g. subcontractor, the general contractor, the landlord, the municipality, any of these parties’ insurance companies, investors, on and on and on).

Untangling complex construction accidents is both an art and science.

Even in relatively simple cases (or seemingly simple cases) there is often more to accidents than meets the eye. For instance, maybe you stepped into a bucket that shouldn’t have been in your way, and as a result, slipped and plummeted 20 feet to the ground where you broke your legs.

Why was that bucket there? Short answer: a naïve subcontractor’s helper left it on your scaffolding by mistake. Your intuition might be to sue the subcontractor for hiring an inept worker. But perhaps different and/or larger elements played into the injury. For instance, perhaps the general contractor erred in hiring a subcontractor with a shoddy record for
screening his people. As a result, maybe the general contractor should be sued for liability as well.

You also need to anticipate how the various defendants might respond. For instance, maybe you were working on only four hours of sleep and made an error that contributed to the disaster.

In some cases, companies can protect themselves by filing for bankruptcy or engaging in legal defer and delay tactics. This is further complicated by the fact that personal injury law in North Carolina is constantly changing.

Is there a solution to the madness?

As complicated as these matters can seem — and your matter maybe astonishing complex, even if you think it’s already pretty scrambled — you can relax for two reasons:

You do not have to think through these contingencies and solve these problems yourself.

If you find the right North Carolina construction accident law firm, you can effectively detach from thinking about your case and focus instead just on healing, helping your family, and dealing with your financial and emotional stresses effectively.

DeMayo Law is an experienced North Carolina construction accident law firm. Please reach out to us at (877) 529-1222 for a free evaluation of your matter.

Keeping Strong and Motivated While on Charlotte Workers’ Compensation

May 18, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

How can you stay focused and ready while out on North Carolina workers’ compensation?

More specifically, how can you avoid “getting soft” and growing dependent on this
income? How can you maintain a sense of autonomy and feeling of usefulness? How
can you keep your job skills sharp? What common “traps” do Charlotte workers’
compensation beneficiaries fall into during their idle time?

If you even begun to have questions along those lines, first of all, congratulations.

Many beneficiaries (or would be beneficiaries) never take the time to consider the
potential downside to winning a workers’ compensation case. That’s dangerous because there are always downsides to achieving any objective. If you fail to surface those potential problems, you could subconsciously hold yourself back.

In other words, it’s good that you are already thinking along these lines. However, you now have a practical challenge. How DO you stay on course, once you have “won” fair benefits?

Here are some ideas:

Figure out what jobs skills you want to protect and keep in good shape, and then work with your spouse or friends–or outside counselors–to keep those skills in shipshape.

For instance, maybe you are an accountant, and you broke your leg falling down the stairs outside a Raleigh Bank. Your body may hurt, but your mind is still pretty sharp. So you might want to spend some time everyday playing word and number games to keep your brain functioning at a high level. If you are too hurt/fatigued to practice physical skills, you can try to do them in your head.

For instance, maybe you are a construction worker who needs to stay in bed for the next three months because of a back injury. Very well. You can still imagine doing your work. That may sound silly. But if you spend 15 minutes a day or so visualizing successfully implementing tasks at work or moving your body, your mental circuitry will remain intact, and you will find it easier to return to the job force.

With respect to the motivation issue … you absolutely must strive to meet your needs for autonomy and productivity.

Even if you are confined to your bed or so sick that you only really have two or three hours of “productive time” a day, you need to find some way to make use of that time in a way that you will find gratifying and, ideally, financially remunerative. (Be sure your pursuit does not violate terms of your North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits!)

Again, planning, visualizing, and goal setting can help. But recognize that the motivation needs to be intrinsic–in other words, don’t do an activity in hopes that you will be rewarded at the end. Instead, do something that you find rewarding “in the doing.”

For help with your workers’ compensation case, look to the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation.

Winning Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case: A Top Priority?

May 17, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Life is full of imbalances and unexpected (and often unpleasant) surprises. As someone who was recently hurt in a North Carolina work accident, you understand, firsthand, how quirky life can be.

No one goes into work expecting to suffer a massive injury that sends him to the hospital and creates permanent life changes. But that’s what happened to you. Some days are more fraught and fateful than other days. Life is full of imbalances.

When it comes to your recovery — medical recovery, financial recovery, and spiritual recovery — imbalances also exist. To the extent that you can identify useful imbalances and leverage them is to the extent that you can speed up, cheapen and soften the whole recovery process.

What does that all mean?

It means that certain activities or projects that you do now can give you tremendous leverage — leverage that the vast majority of other activities or projects will not afford you.

For instance — and this is a bad example to illustrate the point — but let’s say that you wrenched your knee. Your knee got thrown out of its socket. As a result of all that pain, you are feeling lethargic and nauseous. You are unable to walk. You are unable to work.
You can do a lot of “medical stuff” to treat your various symptoms. You can take Advil to relieve some of the pain. You can take a nap to sleep off fatigue. Etc. But your biggest point of medical leverage is obviously to treat the knee effectively — to get it back in the socket.
The big point of leverage is the “knee surgery/repair stuff” — all the other medical treatments will only glancingly deal with the problem.

Likewise, when it comes to your personal financial situation, only a small handful of projects will yield the best results for you. Your challenge is to identify what those projects are and to focus your limited attention/stamina/resources on those problems.

In all likelihood, one of those projects involves your quest for North Carolina workers’ compensation. If you can get workers’ comp benefits quickly, you can staunch your cash flow problems and buy yourself some time/sanity to recover and figure out your next steps.

So what’s a great “point of leverage” to deal with your workers’ comp problems?
Instead of trying to manage the situation by yourself — assuming that you’re not an expert in NC workers’ comp law or in how to make recalcitrant employers and insurance companies work for you — consider getting in touch with the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo for a free consultation.

Call us at (877) 529-1222, or find out more about our services and success rates online. Do the small, important things that are necessary to heal your body and heal your finances, and you’ll likely enjoy better odds of long-term success.

How to Fix the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation System — Surfacing Hidden Dangers at Our Workplaces, Part 2

May 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

One of the cheapest and most humane ways to lighten the burden on the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is to suss out hidden dangers at our workplaces. In a recent blog post, we discussed two surprising but potentially very effective ways to create safer workplaces.

1. Reduce the availability of sugary, refined junk food snacks and replace them with healthier alternatives.

2. Create better information sharing platforms so that safety conscious workers and employers can better disseminate their useful insights.

Today, we’re going to look at one more insight from the world of business process improvement.

 If you’re not a business owner, you may not be that familiar with the concept of Systems.

Basically, a system transforms input into output and thus provides value to clients. Top management thinkers often use business process improvement thinking to identify gaps in service or quality. Then they make incremental improvement (via process improvement) and/or major change-ups (via reengineering) to get better results and continually improve.

 Most business thinkers — at least the successful entrepreneurs — engage in systematic thinking, planning, refinement, improvement, etc.

 But although the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is, in fact, a System, very few thought leaders apply this business process improvement “kaizen-type” thinking to the dilemmas we all face.

That all sounds a bit abstract. So let’s break it down a bit.

 The workers’ compensation system has thousands of stakeholders, including insurance companies, employers, state bureaucrats, attorneys, taxpayers, and of course workers.

 The many moving parts of this system are dynamic. But the purpose of the system is well defined — to provide a financial help for hurt and injured workers and to resolve disputes that arise during the compensation process.

 When problems arise in this system, the conventional approach is to blame stakeholders:

     “The insurance company didn’t play fair”

     “The sick/injured worker wasn’t really that sick and/or trumped up his damages”

     “The employer was bad because he didn’t have insurances”

     “The bureaucrats took way too long with the case.”

         “The legislators are in the pockets of the corporations.”Etc.

We’re obviously not saying that these judgments aren’t important. If you’ve personally suffered because of an insurance company’s cruelty or employer’s narcissism, you know how damaging this kind of passing-of-the-buck can be.

 But in addition to calling out lame stakeholders, we also could benefit from finding/repairing problems with the system itself — instead of just blaming people or companies or whole classes of stakeholders.

 Of course, if you’ve personally been hurt, the last thing you care about is fixing this system as a whole. You want specific, actionable advice about your case. Call the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation to help you maximize your results — 1.877.529.1222.

Solving the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Crisis by Eliminating Hidden Dangers at Work (Part One)

May 4, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Ever since the Charlotte News & Observer blew the lid off the North Carolina workers’
compensation insurance scandal last spring, our blog and many other thought leaders in the North Carolina community have wrestled with how to refine our system to improve worker care and reduce burdens on insurance companies andemployers at the same time.

It’s a tricky puzzle.

Obviously, no single entity can solve everything. But we might benefit, collectively, from surfacing and eliminating certain hidden dangers that lurk at many North Carolina workplaces.

For instance, anyone who studies North Carolina workers’ compensation issues readily acknowledges that chronic diseases, such as type II diabetes, obesity, cancer, and dementia, exact a horrific toll not only on the lives of the people in our state but also on our infrastructure.

The origins and treatments for so called metabolic syndrome (the cluster of diseases associated with obesity and diabetes) is surprisingly ambiguous. But many health authorities are beginning to rethink certain common dietary paradigms. For instance, according to the official USDA statistics, we are consuming less fat today (during this obesity epidemic) than we did during the 1960s (when there was no diabetes/obesity epidemic).

Conversely, we consume a LOT more sugar and refined carbohydrate.

In light of these and other observations, many health authorities have been recommending
that people worry less about fat consumption and more about sugar/refined carb consumption. If these authorities are right, one way we could make our workplaces healthier is by eliminating or reducing worker access to sugary sweet junk food.

Obviously, workers need to eat. But perhaps instead of vending machines stuffed with processed junk food and sodas, we should have more healthy snacks available, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and the like.

We can also benefit from better information sharing. Odds are that numerous workers and
employers have developed ad-hoc systems to reduce dangers at their workplaces. These systems just happen to work really well. Maybe a Raleigh construction team has developed particularly nifty way of preventing scaffolding accidents. If that solution could be shared broadly, it could help the entire scaffolding industry eliminate or at least reduce certain types of accidents.

Thanks to the Internet and mobile technologies, we now have a lot of ways to share
information better. If we can somehow collectively collaborate to exchange workplace safety lessons — in real time and across industries — we can almost certainly drive down rates of injury and thus, indirectly, relieve some burden on the North Carolina workers’ compensation system.

We’re going to talk more about this issue in a follow-up blog post. But if you or someone you know needs help with your Charlotte workman’s’ comp case, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team now at 1.877.529.1222 for a free case consultation.

Keeping Strong and Motivated While on Charlotte Workers’ Compensation

May 2, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

How can you stay focused and ready while out on North Carolina workers’ compensation?

More specifically, how can you avoid “getting soft” and growing dependent on this income? How can you maintain a sense of autonomy and feeling of usefulness? How can you keep your job skills sharp? What common “traps” do Charlotte workers’ compensation beneficiaries fall into during their idle time?

If you even begun to have questions along those lines, first of all, congratulations.

Many beneficiaries (or would be beneficiaries) never take the time to consider the potential downside to winning a workers’ compensation case. That’s dangerous because there are always downsides to achieving any objective. If you fail to surface those potential problems, you could subconsciously hold yourself back.

In other words, it’s good that you are already thinking along these lines. However, you now have a practical challenge. How DO you stay on course, once you have “won” fair benefits?

Here are some ideas:

Figure out what jobs skills you want to protect and keep in good shape, and then work with your spouse or friends–or outside counselors–to keep those skills in shipshape.

For instance, maybe you are an accountant, and you broke your leg falling down the stairs outside a Raleigh Bank. Your body may hurt, but your mind is still pretty sharp. So you might want to spend some time everyday playing word and number games to keep your brain functioning at a high level. If you are too hurt/fatigued to practice physical skills, you can try to do them in your head. For instance, maybe you are a construction worker who needs to stay in bed for the next three months because of a back injury. Very well. You can still imagine doing your work. That may sound silly. But if you spend 15 minutes a day or so visualizing successfully implementing tasks at work or moving your body, your mental circuitry will remain intact, and you will find it easier to return to the job force.

With respect to he motivation issue … you absolutely must strive to meet your needs for autonomy and productivity.

Even if you are confined to your bed or so sick that you only really have two or three hours of “productive time” a day, you need to find some way to make use of that time in a way that you will find gratifying and, ideally, financially remunerative. (Be sure your pursuit does not violate terms of your North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits!)

 Again, planning, visualizing, and goal setting can help. But recognize that the motivation needs to be intrinsic–in other words, don’t do an activity in hopes that you will be rewarded at the end. Instead, do something that you find rewarding “in the doing.”

 For help with your workers’ compensation case, look to the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Trap: Be Aware of “Easy Escapes” to Your Money Problems

April 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Be Aware of “Easy Escapes” to Your Money Problems

Whether you got hurt in a Charlotte scaffolding injury or endured a wicked case of thoracic outlet syndrome after working as an executive in Raleigh, you’ve been desperate to get your financial situation sorted out — and fast. Without your income stream, you’ve been racking up credit card debt, and your spouse or partner has been forced to work extra hours and/or take on more shifts to compensate. You feel tremendous pressure, in other words, to “get healthy ASAP” and, ideally simultaneously to bring in an income.

To that end, you’ve been searching for solutions to your North Carolina workers’ compensation problem. If you can get adequate workers’ comp, you can cover your budget and — at least temporarily — relieve some of the pressure from you and your family. However, while you are waiting for your matter to resolve, you still need to eat and spend money to support your lifestyle.

Plus, given the extent of your injury and your medical prognosis, you may not be able to return to the kind of work that you’ve been doing for months or even years. If you’re doing heavy labor, for instance, that kind of work may be “out” for you, permanently.

Many people in your situation might find themselves tempted by “make money from home” scams and internet work. While it’s true that you can make a living operating a business or even doing freelance work online, pitfalls abound.

You can all too easily spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on scammy enterprises or just a poorly thought out business plan. Even if you are prudent and educated and experienced at starting a business offline, you will almost certainly find the online world confusing and disoriented. This isn’t to say that you cannot make some kind of career transfer — adopt the skills that you’ve been using to make money on the web. But you need to be careful.

More specifically, you need to learn, operate “lean,” use your current skills and knowledge (as opposed to learning too much “new stuff”), and avoid reinventing the wheel. Operating a business online is all like operating a business offline — if you don’t have the right knowledge, skills, mentors — and a bit of luck — you’re going to have trouble.

One of the biggest rules in business, for instance, is that you need to generate cash flow. That’s true for most of your business and for your personal finances.

To that end, one of the easiest ways for you and your family to generate cash flow might just be to resolve your workers’ comp case quickly. To that end, get in touch with the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo to go over your options regarding your workers’ comp case.

How to Fix the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation System — Surfacing Hidden Dangers at Our Workplaces, Part 2

March 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

One of the cheapest and most humane ways to lighten the burden on the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is to suss out hidden dangers at our workplaces. In a recent blog post, we discussed two surprising but potentially very effective ways to create safer workplaces.

1. Reduce the availability of sugary, refined junk food snacks and replace them with healthier alternatives.

2. Create better information sharing platforms so that safety conscious workers and employers can better disseminate their useful insights.

Today, we’re going to look at one more insight from the world of business process improvement.

If you’re not a business owner, you may not be that familiar with the concept of Systems.

Basically, a system transforms input into output and thus provides value to clients. Top management thinkers often use business process improvement thinking to identify gaps in service or quality. Then they make incremental improvement (via process improvement) and/or major change-ups (via reengineering) to get better results and continually improve.

Most business thinkers — at least the successful entrepreneurs — engage in systematic thinking, planning, refinement, improvement, etc.

But although the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is, in fact, a System, very few thought leaders apply this business process improvement “kaizen-type” thinking to the dilemmas we all face.

That all sounds a bit abstract. So let’s break it down a bit.

The workers’ compensation system has thousands of stakeholders, including insurance companies, employers, state bureaucrats, attorneys, taxpayers, and of course workers.

The many moving parts of this system are dynamic. But the purpose of the system is well defined — to provide a financial help for hurt and injured workers and to resolve disputes that arise during the compensation process.

When problems arise in this system, the conventional approach is to blame stakeholders:

•    “The insurance company didn’t play fair”
•    “The sick/injured worker wasn’t really that sick and/or trumped up his damages”
•    “The employer was bad because he didn’t have insurance”
•    “The bureaucrats took way too long with the case.”
•    “The legislators are in the pockets of the corporations.”
•    Etc.

We’re obviously not saying that these judgments aren’t important. If you’ve personally suffered because of an insurance company’s cruelty or employer’s narcissism, you know how damaging this kind of passing-of-the-buck can be.

But in addition to calling out lame stakeholders, we also could benefit from finding/repairing problems with the system itself — instead of just blaming people or companies or whole classes of stakeholders.

Of course, if you’ve personally been hurt, the last thing you care about is fixing this system as a whole. You want specific, actionable advice about your case. Call the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation to help you maximize your results — 1.877.529.1222.

There Is No Magic Way to Shortcut Your Way to a Successful North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim

March 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you fell off a ladder at a Raleigh construction site and broke your ankle in several places; or you developed a wicked case of thoracic outlet syndrome after working in a very stressful bank job in Charlotte, you want someone to help you.

You want to fight and win your claim–to compel your former boss to treat you fairly and make the insurance company treat you like a human being.

Our Charlotte North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm is in the business of helping people like you get better outcomes and find new hope after everything seems lost. To that end, many of the articles we publish on this blog intend to galvanize positive, productive thinking — that is, to help would-be beneficiaries take a more positive and productive stance in how they approach their struggles.

Positive thinking is obviously important, as is goal setting, resilience, finding good people, etc.

But beware the “miracle solution” mentality.

No law firm, no matter how brilliant, well-credentialed, and resource rich can win every case. Even if you get a fair settlement amount, you will need to do a lot of work, by yourself, to repair your body, move forward with your career (if that’s even possible anymore), and fix your finances.

The moral here is that you want to embrace a paradoxical mentality.

On the one hand, stoke your faith that you can get through this experience, no matter what happens with the insurance company, your boss, the NCIC, etc.

Simultaneously, accept and even embrace the complicated state of your circumstances. Understand that you will NOT “solve everything at once.”

If you consciously inhabit this paradoxical mindset–accepting your complex fate but pushing relentlessly for positive results–you will likely get a far better outcome.

Make that first step by calling the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo at 1.877.529.1222 now for a free consultation.

Horrorshow Workers’ Compensation Story: A Temp’s First Day on the Job Is His Last Day on Earth…

March 7, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Workers’ compensation cases in North Carolina (and elsewhere) can be gruesome–horrifying, even.

Consider, for instance, the tragic fate that befell Lawrence DaQuan Davis, a 20-year-old temporary worker who got crushed to death at a Jacksonville bottling plant last August. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has gone after Davis’s temporary employer, the Bacardi Bottling Corporation, citing the company with a dozen safety violations. Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, reflected on the tragedy: “a worker’s first day at work should not be his last day on earth…employers are responsible for ensuring the safe conditions of their employees, including those who are temporary.”

Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, temps get hurt at work at greater frequency than regular shift workers. The reasons for their increased vulnerability are diverse and dynamic. Here are a few:

•    Temporary workers are less familiar with operating procedures and facilities–they don’t understand how to navigate, use machines, adhere to training procedures, etc;
•    Temp employees don’t know the “regulars” as well–they lack an evolved, developed set of communication processes. Good companies will impose certain processes on temps, so that they quickly get up to speed — so that they can communicate well with regular employees. But great relationships based on trust take a long time to build. There is a reason why police officers, fire and EMT workers, Navy Seals, etc. train so closely together as a corps. Comradery prevents miscommunications and improves responses to emergencies;
•    Temporary workers also lack training needed to use certain instruments or machines — they’re at more risk for making rookie mistakes.

North Carolina workers’ compensation cases can become quite emotional and consequential, particularly if a worker has died or gotten seriously hurt.

According to a report at workerscompensation.com “Davis was cleaning glass from under the hoist of a palletizing machine, when an employee restarted the palletizer.”

If you got hurt as a temp in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your damages. Call the DeMayo Law team today for a free consultation at 1.877.529.1222.

Facebook Jealousy and the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Beneficiary

March 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you got injured at a construction site in Charlotte, or you hurt your wrist typing memos at a bank in Raleigh, you need North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits to meet your financial needs. You also want to square away your situation for social reasons.

That sounds strange, but it’s true.

Human beings are social creatures. As much as we rail against the evils of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” we intuitively, instinctually, and subconsciously measure our own worth by checking out how other similar people are doing. This can be dangerous, especially if you’re a frequent habituator of social networking sites like Facebook or Pinterest. You might find yourself easily swept up by waves of jealousy or longing:

•    ”If only I was fit and healthy like my old friend from high school.”
•    ”If only I had enough money like my ex-girlfriend from college who just had her third kid.”
•    Etc., etc.

This kind of “let me compare myself to other people” thinking almost never leads to good places, even if you’re healthy and doing great in life. When you feel rotten or sick — when you are can’t even deal with the basics — this relentless drive to compare can drive you to depression.

Here’s what’s even worse: when you’re sick and injured, you ALREADY lack for energy and resources. When you fuss over Facebook and get jealous — instead of using your limited energy to find solutions to your problems, get support, take positive action — you’re just basically burning a vital and limited resource.

Don’t take this the wrong way: social media can be useful. If you use Facebook to reach out for support, that’s great. Do that. Just be sensitive to the fact that you might–again, instinctually and without any conscious effort–find yourself making comparisons that put you in a negative light and that lead to emotions like jealousy, depression, and anxiety.

Here is a good alternative to this kind of futile cycling–connect with the North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm of DeMayo Law today for a free consultation. Our team can help you understand your options, create a taut battle plan for taking the right actions, and keep you motivated and supported throughout your quest for benefits and fair treatment.

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.

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.

Worst Case Scenario North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case: Man Whose Feet Were Smashed in a Roofing Accident Gets Only $75 out of $70,000 Owed!

January 29, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

This is one of those North Carolina workers’ compensation cases that boils your blood and makes you want to stop whatever you’re doing and rededicate your life to reforming the system.

The case concerns the fate of a man named John Ashworth, who worked for Statewide Roofing in Franklin County. In 2008, Ashworth fell off a roof and shattered both feet. His boss, Robert Wayne House, lacked North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance — a sadly not uncommon turn of events these days. As the Charlotte News & Observer exposed last year, tens of thousands of businesses in North Carolina have been (and still are) failing to meet their workers’ comp insurance obligations.

In any event, House owes Ashworth over $70,000 in lost wages. He also owes another hurt worker over $100,000.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission has pressured House to pay off his debts. But, so far, he has paid just $75 to Ashworth. The 53-year-old calls that pittance payment “not even worth my time” and says he spent nearly a third of that money ($25) just on parking and gas while traveling to his hearings out in Raleigh.

For now, the injured roofer gets by on Medicaid, Social Security Disability payments and food stamps. But Ashworth and others fume about the lack of safety net for hurt workers whose employers lack insurance.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission is well aware of the problem.

Over the past few years, the NCIC has heard from around 500 hurt workers (annually!) whose situations “rhyme” with Ashworth’s. The NCIC can award payments. But ensuring that those compulsory payments actually get paid can be an onerous, if not impossible, chore.

When the News & Observer broke the big story last year — that 30,000 plus employers lacked workers’ comp insurance — the NCIC did act, somewhat. It threatened several employers with prison time and massive penalties if they failed to remunerate injured workers. This prompted some employers to pay, but some analysts believe that this process is akin to trying to get blood from a stone.

Many employers, including House, Ashworth’s old boss, are broke themselves. They have no means to provide the funds. That means that Ashworth and others must rely on complicated and frustratingly inconsistent strategies to pay bills and simply survive.

If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a North Carolina workplace, maybe you’re missing out on surprising strategies and legal options that you can leverage to get better results. Call or email the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo right now to schedule a free case evaluation.

Are You Too Proud to Get Help for Your Charlotte Workplace Injury?

January 17, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a bread winner and hard working individual, you hate your Charlotte workplace injury for at least two reasons.

#1: The injury has caused you much physical suffering.

Whether you sniffed a lung full of particulate matter at a Raleigh machining plant or ruined your hands and wrists typing up a never ending series of white papers for your boss, you’re wracked with so much physical agony that it’s difficult for you even to surf the web.

#2. The injury has rendered you powerless to do what you once could do effortlessly.

You need to put food on your table. You need to engage in productive labor. You want to look strong to your co-workers and to your family. You want to provide useful services to your community. But your injuries have rendered you incapable of performing like you used to be able to perform, and that really stings, badly.

Unfortunately, one of the most diabolical, destructive myths about North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiaries is that hurt workers are “lazy” or “just want to sit on the couch and collect checks.” Sure, some people abuse the system. But such cases are few and far between.

Your situation is much more common. Most hurt workers are eager to go to work. Often, this zeal gets them in trouble. They ignore serious signs that they need to stop or at least to cut back. Their pride-induced workaholism aggravates their injuries or even leads to new ones. Today’s mild carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to tomorrow’s full body thoracic outlet syndrome. Today’s sprained ankle or twisted knee can pave the way for a serious injury fall, and a broken back.

Don’t let your pride in what you do — and in who you are — hold you back from getting effective counsel and help. The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo is passionate about representing people like you — people who want to do good work for their community and get their lives back on track. We can help you make smarter, more effective decisions about your injury. Call or email us now to set up a free case consultation.

After Your Charlotte Workplace Injury — Co-Workers Mean and Unsupportive?

January 15, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you suffered a Charlotte workplace injury — a fall on a construction site, a burn at a chemical lab, or a typing accident at a Research Triangle area bank, e.g. — you may be in for a rude awakening.  Your co-workers may not fully support your claim… or may even actively side with management to undermine your quest for fair compensation.

It can be a hard blow.

Why does this happen? Reasons abound:

•    Especially if you work in a “blue collar” industry — like house painting, construction, manufacturing, delivery — you need to stay strong and tough. Weakness of any sort is not permitted.
•    Many workplace cultures are almost cult-like, so co-workers may be loathe to challenge leadership.
•    Workers are also scared for their own health and livelihood — so they may say or do hurtful things to you to protect their own ambitions, pay checks, and bodies.
•    In some extreme cases, co-workers can even outright lie or fudge facts to impede your claim. This may happen if a co-worker caused or exacerbated your on-the-job injury. For instance, perhaps you’re a construction worker who fell off a temporary mooring, when the guy assigned to stabilize the base went on an inopportune coffee break. He may deny responsibility because he wants to avoid getting fired or reprimanded.

So what’s the solution?

The first part of your solution is to seek effective legal representation, as soon as possible after your accident. The Charlotte workplace injury team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can provide a free, fair, and detailed consultation about your case and help you find the clearest path to get compensation. Dealing with a betrayal — or even a cold shoulder from a supposed friend — can be quite challenging, and there may not be a “quick fix” for it. Just recognize that, if you’ve experienced the sting of uncooperative co-workers, you’re not alone, and help is available. Talk to the team at DeMayo Law now to get effective, robust guidance.

Building a Safer 2013: Ideas for Reducing Workplace Injuries in North Carolina and Beyond

January 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Workplace injuries in Charlotte create a catastrophic domino effect.

Here’s an example of how this “bad luck domino” sequence might evolve:

Betty, a 45-year old bank executive, suffers a surge of pain in her arms and wrists, after typing out a contract in her office in the Research Triangle. She goes to the doctor, who diagnoses her with carpal tunnel syndrome. She begins massage therapy, cortisol injections, and other treatments, but the process fails to relieve her pain. Within several weeks, she is too incapacitated to move, and she must take time off of work.

Betty seeks workers’ compensation benefits, but her employer fights her tooth and nail. The legal battle drags in dozens of parties and several law firms. When all is said and done, Betty’s case of carpal tunnel syndrome drains millions of dollars of productivity from the economy. Meanwhile, the case consumes court time, which can create a backlog, which in turn forces other workers’ comp plaintiffs to wait; the waiting exacerbates their injuries and extends their recuperating time; and so on and so forth. A bad domino effect.

If we could collectively find ways to deal with the “front end” of Helen’s cascade, then everyone involved in the North Carolina workers’ compensation system would win — law firms, insurance companies, businesses, the state, and most importantly, hurt/sick employees.

The big question is: HOW can we reduce the number of serious injuries and keep that number headed south, in perpetuity?

Policymakers obviously want to help and protect hurt workers. However, few people understand the need to think through this goal systematically. We should not simply strive to reduce the number of workers’ hurt in North Carolina. We should build and refine systems to reduce injuries. That’s a subtle but important difference. It’s the difference between striving to win the lottery and striving to build a successful business.

To build a great system to thwart workplace injuries, we must measure results, test strategies, get feedback from honest and diverse perspectives, and iterate. In an ideal world, insurance companies, the state, attorneys, employees, employers, and occupational safety experts would collaborate to try to find efficiencies.

For instance, let’s just say that carpal tunnel syndrome is a big problem — a major cause of workers’ comp claims. And let’s also say that data suggest that CTS cases could be cut by 30%, if employees had to take 5 minute breaks for every 30 minutes worked. Those are all arbitrary, made-up numbers. But let’s assume them for this thought experiment. Now, imagine if we used those numbers to create statewide “anti-carpal tunnel syndrome” workplace policy. And imagine if it worked. Not only would we reduce CTS cases by 30%, but we’d reverse the whole “bad domino effect” we discussed!

For help understanding your rights and remedies regarding your North Carolina workers’ compensation case, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today.

Take Ownership of Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case

January 8, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’re the spouse of someone hurt at a construction site in Charlotte, or you threw out your back lifting a heavy crate at your Research Triangle office, your life feels chaotic and confusing. You want to take back control and ownership over your legal fate.

This instinct can be useful, but it can also backfire, if you’re not careful.

Even if your case appears fairly cut and dry, you still should probably get in touch with a seasoned, insightful North Carolina workers’ compensation firm. Odds are, you are not a lawyer with expertise in this area. Minor, seemingly trivial mistakes that you make during the first few days and weeks after your injury can come back to destroy your claim… or create an unnecessary series of legal headaches.

Here’s the reality: human beings are flexible thinkers. But we need a strong knowledge base to develop intuitions that are trustworthy. Albert Einstein, for instance, was clearly an “out-of-the-box” thinker. But he spent years studying physics, pouring over Maxwell’s equations, etc, before he developed the theory of relativity.

Workers’ compensation law may not be the same thing as advanced theoretical physics. But the analogy is not wholly unsound! If you don’t understand how to create, investigate, develop, and execute your case, the odds of your “figuring it out on the fly” are slim to none. The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo succeeds so often because we understand the process.

There’s always an elements of chance with every case. But what we do is not guess work. We follow a system that we’ve honed, refined, and optimized over years to get superior results for our clients. Whether you choose our firm or a different law firm, acknowledge your knowledge limitations. Find trustworthy people to help you deal with your workers’ comp situation.

Save your focus for the stuff that you know how to do — and the stuff that you absolutely must control — such as your health, your diet, and your relationships.

What If You Obtain Some Workers’ Compensation Benefits… But Less Than You Want?

January 1, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

The quest for North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits is often sold as a binary proposition. Either you WILL get benefits, or you won’t.

Either you will obtain zero money to pay for your medical bills, surgery, and time off work; or you will obtain more than enough to meet those needs and then some.

Reality check: many Charlotte workers’ compensation cases wind up in compromise.

You might win some benefits — some money from the insurance company, e.g. — but not get everything you want or need.

On one hand, “half a loaf is better than none.” If you win only $300 a week in workers’ comp benefits, that’s still $300 a week more than $0 a week. You can still leverage the money to pay key bills and stay financially afloat.

On the other hand, a “half a loaf” resolution can feel like a Pyrrhic victory. You could

Framing the results of your North Carolina workers’ compensation case:

Pay attention! The following concept can give you critical leverage, whether you emerge from your workers’ comp quest empty handed, full-pursed or somewhere in between.

Will you be a “Larry David” about the results and see the glass as “ half empty”?

Or will you be an optimist and see the glass as “half full”?

The way you FRAME your results can have a profound, lasting effect on your degree of satisfaction. The good news is that you can control how you think about the situation. The bad news is that learning how to access that control is neither intuitive, nor simple. If it were simple to be an optimist, then the world would house far fewer cynics.

Becoming an optimistic does not mean ignoring reality; closing your eyes to real problems; and gambling despite dire odds.

If you commit to “being more sunshine minded,” you won’t change your attitude in days or weeks. Only slow, purposeful progress, when diligently pursued, will transform your pessimism.

Incremental progress adds up. If you drove 50 mph up a barely perceptible 6% incline on a theoretical highway that just climbed and climbed, within two hours, you’d be at an elevation equivalent to the top of Mount Everest!

Small differences in your attitude, when aggregated and persistently pursued, can change the way you think about your North Carolina benefits and leave you feeling more satisfied and in control of your life.

So start thinking positively, and get 2013 off to a great start. Connect with the DeMayo Law team now for a free consultation about your workers’ comp case.

2013 Goals for North Carolina Workman’s Comp Claimants

December 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

2013 approaches — or at least it should approach, assuming the Mayans got it wrong! — and workers’ comp claimants in North Carolina and elsewhere are trying to set their New Year’s resolutions.

What goals will you strive to reach in 2013? When you start any to-do list – especially a list of hopeful resolutions – you can easily overwhelm yourself by taking “too much” on your plate. For instance, here’s a short list of stuff that could make your list:

•    Get back in shape
•    Lose 20 pounds
•    Clean up your finances
•    Have key conversations with your mother, brother, and boss
•    Fix up the porch
•    Get your retirement portfolio in order
•    Heal from your workplace injury
•    Get workman’s compensation
•    Travel Europe
•    et cetera

Our to-do lists can easily start to “sprawl” and actually cause us more stress and agita then they relieve. It’s great to set goals and to write them down and focus on them over time. But it’s equally important to avoid “biting off more than you can chew.” Ironically, instead of “more more more,” think “less less less.” What are the least amount of objectives that you can add to your plate that will satisfy your needs, completely?

Jim Collins, a great business theorist, advocates that people create what he calls “stop doing lists” instead of “to-do lists.” We’re all overwhelmed and overworked. If you’re injured or sick, you have even less energy and time than you ordinarily might have to get things done in your life and make forward progress.

Rather than rail against these constraints, acknowledge them. Work within them to shortcut your path to success. For instance, maybe you’d love to fix the porch, build the addition, and help your sister move into her new place. But you simply do not have the time or energy to devote to those projects. So cross them off your list. What’s essential? Ask yourself that question again and again: is this essential for what I need for my purpose?

Once you “lean down” your 2013 resolution list, you may then arrive at three, perhaps four, “key goals” for the New Year. Then you can systematically focus on those goals and bring your entire attention to bear on them. For instance, one of your goals might be to finalize your worker’s compensation claim. Another goal might be to heal from the illness and get back to doing something constructive. And a final goal might be to take an awesome, two-week vacation to a place that you’ve never been, like the South of France.

Once you have a vision for what you want to achieve, you can then find resources, tools, and people to help you bring those ambitions to life.

The takeaway message is somewhat counterintuitive:

•    Limit your resolutions to only the “essential stuff”;
•    Once you’ve paired down your list, focus on your resolutions relentlessly, perhaps twice a day, and search for resources and serendipities to shortcut your way to success.

The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to talk to about your North Carolina workers’ compensation case.

Envisioning Success with your Workers’ Comp Claim: A Key Mistake So Many People Make…

December 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

We all know that the images that we hold in our head of success — regarding a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim or anything else — can powerfully influence our behaviors, thoughts, and actions. When you think about the color yellow, for instance, all of a sudden “yellow objects” seem to burst into your field of view – you see daisies, dandelions, yellow cars, yellow houses, et cetera. So the focus that we hold in some sense determines the nature of our conscious experience and directs our subconscious thinking as well.

Countless “success gurus” talk about this reality of human cognition. They encourage people to write down their goals, “think positive,” and develop emotionally vivid and specific pictures of final outcomes. You certainly might consider following some of this advice – getting specific about your goals, conceptualizing success, and focusing on the “good stuff” in your life as opposed to the annoying frustrations, which also certainly likely abound.

But there is a subtle road bump you might hit!

If you focus on “escaping from a bad situation” as your positive outcome, you can accidentally short circuit the process. The brain’s teleological focusing mechanism doesn’t seem to understand the word “not.” For instance, if you focus on “not smoking,” your brain will become deaf to the word “not” and just think about smoking. It’s akin to the “don’t think about a purple elephant” problem. There: you just thought about a purple elephant!

If you’re experiencing issues with respect to your workers’ compensation problem – a lack of money, a lack of clarity, a lack of health – avoid focusing on “relieving that lack” and instead focus on what you want to be true, when all is said and done. You may be tempted to focus on the day you leave the doctor’s office without your crutches — or tossing your crutches into the trash can. But that visualization keeps you focused on being ill. Instead, perhaps imagine yourself walking on healthy legs in the park with your grandchildren. Conjure up a vision of life as you want it to be, ideally, long after the sturm und drang of your health issues and your employment issues have been dealt with.

For help getting started on the path to success, get in touch with the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo for free, insightful, and confidential input on your possible North Carolina workman’s comp case.

Change in Course on New North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Laws?

December 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

2012 has been quite a year for the North Carolina workers’ compensation system.

The big story of 2012, as everyone knows, broke in April, when the Charlotte News and Observer revealed that 30,000+ businesses in the state lacked adequate workers’ comp insurance. This blockbuster story exposed the exquisite vulnerability of so many employees; and the revelation sparked such a public upheaval that Governor Beverly Perdue and state lawmakers felt compelled to overhaul the relevant laws ASAP.

But the overhaul proved prickly.

The changes to the laws included (and left out) items that created their own “sub controversies.” For instance, lawmakers agreed to make some of the News and Observer’s data confidential to protect insurance interests. Not a universally lauded decision, by any stretch.

Another huge question emerged from the debate: does the public have the right to know whether certain companies carry workers’ compensation insurance?

The laws passed earlier this year prohibited workers from finding this info out. But now state representative Dale Folwell, who introduced the provision to the bill that blocked workers from checking out the records of their employers, has indicated that he wants to reverse course. According to a new N&O piece, Folwell now blames the North Carolina Rate Bureau and NCIC for inserting language into the bill that stops employees from learning about employer insurance coverage. The leader of the North Carolina GOP in the Senate, Harry Brown, said that he thinks state lawmakers will fix this issue next legislative session. But Brown worries about when and how the line should be drawn. Brown told the News and Observer: “I think the public should know but…we just need to be careful that we do it right.”

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can provide straight answers about your North Carolina workers’ compensation options. Whether you’ve recently been hurt on the job, and you’re still striving to get your bearings, or you’ve been wrangling with an uncooperative boss and/or insurer, our team is here for you. Get in touch today.

Does Your Employer Really Have North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance… Or Is It A “Ghost Policy”?

December 18, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Charlotte News & Observer reports that the Joint Senate-House panel on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Fraud Prevention is currently hard at work trying to figure out how to deal with the problems of “ghost policies.”

This is a peculiar type of insurance coverage that employers take out to protect “future” workers. Coverage may not apply to current people, like you or your coworkers!

Ghost policies create a special kind of challenge for the workers’ comp system. Employers can cite the fact that they own this coverage to show ostensible compliance with guidelines … without providing you any real protection.

The trouble is that regulators have an incredibly hard time identifying and thwarting companies that intentionally misclassify workers to get out of tax obligations and thus reduce their North Carolina workers’ comp insurance costs.

The News & Observer piece suggested that ghost policies have largely been confined to the construction industry. But this quirky, disturbing practice may be spreading to other industries. Lawmakers are debating vigorously over what to do about general contractors, who need to provide insurance protection for all site workers, but who also utilize subcontractors who may use this “ghost policy escape hatch” to create confusion.

The News & Observer quoted a VP for the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina, who said that “the potential for misunderstanding … is just tremendously increasing with those ghost policies.” A representative for the state’s Homebuilders Association told lawmakers that the problem has to do with system abuse as opposed to some fundamental flaw in the law.

The number and diversity of solutions proposed for the ghost policy model is, frankly, hard to track. Some people have suggested developing an NC unemployment fund to cover workers who fall through the cracks. Others want fundamental changes to the law.

What should you do, if you’re struggling with your North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits?

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo is well equipped, experienced, and battle proven. Get in touch with us today to discuss what you can do, starting right now, to gain clarity on your objectives and the most appropriate tactics to take. Don’t allow the larger debates over the law – and over questions like what to do about ghost policies – deter you from making tangible progress and thinking effectively about your challenges and possible solutions.

Learning to View the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Process as a Process (Not as a Single Event)

December 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In today’s post, we’re going to try to shift your mindset about workmen’s compensation in North Carolina.

Most injured workers and their families picture the quest to get adequate, ongoing benefits as the equivalent of a quest to hike Mount Kilimanjaro or swim across the English Channel – a challenging project which can be conquered with enough vim, perseverance and luck.

That type of metaphor misleads – big time!

There is a reason why we call the North Carolina workers’ compensation system a “system.” A system is a repeatable process, something that gets done over and over again. A “project” is a one-time event, akin to climbing a big mountain or swimming across the sea.

This difference may seem fuzzy to you right now, but try to appreciate the distinction.

The way you optimize a process is very different from the way you optimize a project. Since you only “do” a project once, for instance, you just want to figure out the fastest, most efficient solution. If that means “burning your bridges,” so be it. Not so when it comes to tweaking a process! If you plan to cycle through a system again and again, you must avoid “burning your bridges” and also document what you do in detail. It’s not about crossing the river or reaching the peak – it’s about creating a sustainable, comfortable, repeatable method.

Switching from the project-based to the process-based mindset is not easy or intuitive. But it’s crucial. For instance, a setback on a project might be devastating. A setback during a process can actually HELP you because it gives you insight into how that obstacle can be met next time. Those who are stuck in the “project mentality” may view their workers’ comp obstacles in a purely negative light. Those who make the leap into the “system mentality” will see obstacles as learning opportunities to be leveraged to improve future passes through the process.

Of course, doing this all on your own – especially if you’re sick, tired, financially overwhelmed, and unfamiliar with even these basic paradigms for understanding North Carolina workers’ compensation – is kind of a recipe for disaster.

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has an established track record for helping people exactly like you discover what works, avoid what doesn’t work, and generate results and clarity. Get in touch with us now for a free consultation.

Drop Your Expectations That Other People Will Understand What It’s Like to Be on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation

December 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a recently injured employee, you want to find the simplest and most certain path for collecting North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits. You also have a deeper need to be understood. You want your boss, your co-workers, your spouse, your friends and family – and indeed all of society – to appreciate your position, avoid judging you, and offer support.

You’re in a vulnerable position right now, and you need this empathy to get through your challenges.

Unfortunately, that empathy may not be easily forthcoming.

You may see cable news pieces or read editorials that disparage North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiaries as lazy or indulgent. Your boss and/or co-workers may turn on you or try to discredit your testimony to protect the company. Even friends and family members may prove to be less than empathetic and may demand that you “get it together” and get back to work — bring more money, be more productive.

Just understanding that you may encounter this kind of “empathy gap” can be helpful.

If you do experience this isolation, know that you’re not alone. It happens to all too many claimants or would-be claimants. It’s really a terrible tragedy. Part of the problem is that people get trapped in their own paradigms of viewing the world and thinking about problems. If you have never been sick and injured and off of work, you can’t really know what that feels like.

Finding Empathy in Oneself and in Other Trustworthy Sources

If you’ve been running an empathy deficit, you may be discouraged and may fear that you will never get the listening that you so crave. Don’t give up hope so easily. First of all, you can find empathy within yourself. This may sound challenging, but it can be done. Secondly, you can tap into other sources, such as the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo. Our attorneys and associates deeply understand the diversity of perils that would-be beneficiaries face, and we can help you solve your problems in an organized, simple, and compassionate way that will leave you feeling clearheaded and more hopeful than you’ve been in a long time. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

You Got Hurt While Driving Home in the Snow: Are You Still Eligible for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

December 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Perhaps you got hurt at work by wrenching your back lifting boxes into an office supply closet. If so, no one would doubt that you were actually “at work” when the injury occurred or that you were engaged in a work-related project.

So your case might be pretty simple.

Not all cases are so cut and dry. When “grey” situations arise with respect to your claim, your quest to collect benefits may turn surprisingly frustrating and contentious. Here’s a good example a legally ambiguous situation.

Imagine you’re a consultant for a large firm assigned to attend a sales conference in Western NC. Business wraps up. So you hop on the freeway and head for home. But you encounter a snowstorm. While chatting with a work friend on your car, your car skids on the icy/snowy freeway, and you crash. The fender bender leaves you with whiplash that requires treatment to the tune of $40,000.

Can you collect workers’ compensation to offset the expenses of the treatment?

The situation may be cut and dry one way or the other. Or it may not be, depending on the nature of your work, the nature of the accident, and even the substance of the conversation you had been having with the friend/co-worker!

These kinds of legal ambiguous situations have occurred thousands of times throughout the history of workman’s comp. If you’re caught in a similar kind of ambiguous situation, the choices you make (or fail to make) can literally make or break your case.

Key pivotal choices include:

•    The quality of your Charlotte workman’s compensation law firm;
•    The speed and alacrity with which you investigate the claim;
•    The agility with which you respond to questions from insurance company, an employer or other interested party.

Begin to stack the deck in your favor by connecting with a solid, highly reputable law firm, like DeMayo Law, for a free consultation, so you can understand what you might be up against.

The End of the Uncertainty about Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case (What’s Causing All the Stress)

December 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Why is your North Carolina workers’ compensation case causing you so much agita?

That’s a loaded question. Dwell on it for a second. When you mentally fixate on your situation – what happened at work, how your employers have reacted so far, what the potentially liable insurance company has done – you likely feel some negative feelings.

So what’s causing these feelings? What’s at the root of your stress?

Your instincts might be to blame your lack of “stuff.” Your lack of money. Your lack of cooperation from your employer or the insurance company. Your lack of ability to function, physically, or live your life free of pain.

These all might be problems that are currently holding you back in your life. But they are likely NOT the core constraint that’s causing you the frustration.

The core constraint, almost certainly, is your lack of certainty.

Uncertainty – both negative uncertainty (“is the diagnostic dire or not?”) and positive uncertainty (“will I get the promotion or win a big North Carolina workers’ compensation award?”) — can cause stress because it causes your mind to “spin out” diverse positive, negative, and neutral scenarios. When you envision yourself in these different scenarios, the stakes of any actions mount.

It’s not hard to get on board with the notion that instability could cause stress.

But what IS somewhat counterintuitive is the idea that the instability in and of itself – independent of the positive or negative stuff associated with it – might cause stress. Yet research from diverse fields bears this out.

Painful events and setbacks do cause stress in the short-term, but they don’t necessarily impact our happiness or satisfaction in the long-term. Taking an extreme example… consider studies on the hedonic effect of getting paralyzed. You might think that losing your ability to move your arms and legs would radically decrease your life satisfaction and happiness. In the short-term, it does. But over longer periods of time – a year plus – even this kind of epic medical crisis does little to impact baseline happiness and life satisfaction.

What this means is that, if we can manage the instability and uncertainty surrounding North Carolina workers’ compensation cases, we can go a long way towards resolving the emotional problems that accompany it.

Think about all the pressing questions that, when you dwell on them, cause you stress. They all involve your “not knowing” some key factor:

•    Will I get benefits at all?
•    If so, what will my weekly allowance be?
•    How will my finances change when/if I get the compensation?
•    How will my financial plans change if I don’t get the compensation?
•    When will I be able to get back to work?
•    How serious is the injury?
•    Who can help me resolve these and other questions?

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo cannot fix everything in your life and tie up your circumstances in a near little bow. But we have ample experience helping people in very, very similar situations get great results and resolve their stresses.

Don’t Let Setbacks in Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case Put You on the Defensive

November 29, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your boss of 20 years is suddenly refusing to compensate you for a workplace injury in Charlotte; or you’re getting terrifying communications from an insurance company to the effect that the insurer is plans to give you far less money than a fair amount for your injuries, you may be tempted to abandon “forward progress” in your life and work only on protecting ‘what you have left.’

This is an understandable sentiment.

Whether you twisted your back in a construction accident, hurt your ribs and shoulders in a work delivery car accident, or developed painful chronic joint problems in your hands after working as a bank clerk at a Research Triangle area bank, your injury has crippled you. You can no longer generate income, engage in fun recreational activities, participate fully in relationships, and so forth.

The indirect effects of your workplace accident may be even more horrific – and costly – than the direct effects. When you cannot work, for instance, you may start to feel helpless and angry, which may encourage you to engage in destructive behaviors, which can in turn have their own indirect consequences. And so on and so forth. And then when you layer on the stress and agita caused by a non-cooperative employer or coworker and/or a surprisingly vicious insurance company  well, one can understand how the quest to get compensation can feel demoralizing.

You must move forward in life to make progress

Part of what separates successful people from unsuccessful people – perhaps more than anything else – is resiliency. How fast can you rebound from setbacks in your life and surprising challenges? Compelling scientific research suggests that resiliency is necessary, especially when you are facing big, multi-pronged, potentially life-altering challenges.

One key to resiliency is maintaining a positive, highly specific vision for your future. It’s not enough, for instance, to want to ‘get better.’ Visualizing yourself healthier, ambulatory, back working and doing things you love, etc. can be helpful, of course. But ideally you don’t want simply to reclaim the status quo – get back to where you were in your life before the accident. Ideally, you would like to transcend not just your injury and all its consequences but also any limitations that you faced before the accident or event.

No ones suggesting that you be a Pollyanna: you must pay attention to the realities of your situation. If you shattered your legs and ripped up your joints and ligaments, odds are that your professional ice skating days are over. You don’t want to fool yourself about that! But you also want to look deeper. Think more expansively about what your life could become – not just what it could have been.

For help managing all aspects of your North Carolina workers’ compensation claim, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team.

What Oklahoma Congressman’s Workers Comp Success Story Says About Your Chances For Collecting Workers’ Compensation in Charlotte

November 22, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Mike Christian, an Oklahoma Congressman who was injured in a car crash in 2009 while driving to the state capital, was recently awarded over $51,000 in workers’ compensation.

This ‘under the radar’ story could have interesting lessons for you, if you’re struggling to figure out whether you’ll be able to collect workers’ comp to pay for your injuries.

According to the story in AP, the Oklahoma City Republican hit a truck on February 26, 2009, while he was driving to work. The accident led to back and neck injuries. Representative Christian was driving in his personal car, but he was commuting to work. Legislators in Oklahoma can get reimbursed for one day of driving every week. As a result of that little subtle fact, the trial judge ruled in his favor, and the liable insurance company elected to pay the check instead of appeal.

Even without diving deeper into the case — or into the travails that Representative Christian had to endure during his quest — we can still extract very useful lessons here:

1. Just because you are a powerful figure – e.g. a famous person, political representative, or a wealthy CEO – does not mean that your journey to collect workers’ compensation in North Carolina (or elsewhere) will be easy.

Here was a state legislator – someone who was literally running the government – who had to fight tooth-and-nail to collect money from an insurance company. If you’re having difficulty navigating the system — figuring out what to do and how to do it — hopefully this tale can give you some emotional relief and help you be less hard on yourself. Getting compensated can be tough!

2. Extremely minor details can have massive impacts on your chances to collect a claim.

Imagine if Representative Christian had not been officially reimbursed for driving once a week to his job. He might still have prevailed, but his road to victory would have been more challenging. What are the small distinctions about your case that will make it harder (or easier) for you to prevail?

3. We all need help sometime, and there’s no shame in asking for assistance when you need it.

Representative Christian is a Republican legislator in one of the most conservative-leaning states in the union. Yet he availed himself of a critical resource — i.e. workers’ compensation.

The point is that asking for help – or for even government assistance – does not mean that you lack industry, persistence, or self-starter-ship. If you have reservations about seeking government assistance based on political ideology, let go of them. Instead, focus on what’s best for you and your family.

The team at the law office of Michael A. DeMayo can help you make smart, sound, and strategic decisions about your workers’ comp case. Get in touch with us now for a free evaluation of your claim.

Can You “Manifest” Success with Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case?

November 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve been struggling to get results in your North Carolina workers’ compensation case, you might be tempted to abandon hard-headed, logical thinking about your benefits, your finances, and your life in general.

Perhaps you’ve recently become enamored of books like The Secret or of Wayne Dyer’s books about the Power of Intention. As a result, you might believe that you can just essentially wish for the universe to provide benefits… and then just sit back and reap the rewards.

This post is by no means meant to be a cynical, simplistic attack on theories of “manifestation” and other similar practices. In fact, many of the alternative, hocus-pocus-y theories about productivity, creativity, and self-improvement are less far out than you might realize… and some ideas are also backed by intriguing research.

For instance, consider the region of the brain known as the reticular activating system, also known as the RAS. For decades, scientists have recognized that the RAS helps you process your reality. For example, if you cue your conscious mind to notice pink objects, you will — all of a sudden! — start to notice the “pink stuff” in your present environment. This is why, when you buy a new car, you “all of a sudden” see that same make and model on the road everywhere. Thanks to how you’ve programmed your RAS, your brain is now cued to see your new car everywhere.

“Manifestation” people, like Wayne Dyer, suggest that you can use this focusing property of the brain to generate specific positive outcomes in your life. For instance, Dyer would probably tell you to produce and hold onto an emotionally charged, highly specific vision of what success with your North Carolina workers’ compensation case would look like. If you do so, you might be more primed to recognize opportunities and ideas that will help you achieve that end.

Now, there is a difference between self-priming your brain in this interesting way and just expecting the universe to “provide” for you.

You need to develop and emotionalize positive goals. But you also need to take action and overcome numerous and unexpected hurdles. The journey may be far harder than “just close your eyes, imagine workers’ comp checks coming to you in the mail, and wish for it to be so.”

Visualization is powerful. It’s fired up spiritualists for thousands of years as well as high performance athletes, business executives, and political figures. One key, perhaps, is to combine this intention/manifestation “stuff” with hard-nosed, data-driven, boots-on-the-ground action.

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you build a specific roadmap to solve your workers’ comp problems and anticipate and refute the obstacles you encounter.

Taking Opioids for Your North Carolina Workplace Injury? Follow the Guidelines!

November 8, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you or someone in your family has been prescribed opioid medications to deal with the pain stemming from a Charlotte workplace injury, please be sure to follow your doctor and pharmacist’s guidelines. A worrying new report put out by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), entitled Longer-Term Use of Opioids, examined patient behavior in over 21 states (including North Carolina) and found a shocking degree of non-compliance among patients.

For instance, one out of every 12 workers who was prescribed opioids for a workplace injury remained on the drugs three to six months after they were supposed to stop taking them. Similarly worryingly: many patients failed to follow-up with the treatment and psychological evaluations.

The WCRI study looked at over 300,000 cases and over 1.1 million prescriptions – that’s a lot of data. The trend was pretty clear – and distributing.

This is a big deal. According to a National Council on Compensation Insurance study from 2009, one out of every four workers’ comp dollars goes to prescription costs.

When hurt workers fail to adhere rigorously to their rehabilitation plans and medical treatment, their recalcitrance stresses the entire system.

1.    First of all, workers on average may need to take more time off work.
2.    Secondly, patients may be spending more money on prescription medications than they “ought to” – this also creates waste in the system.
3.    Third, some people might be not getting the treatment that they really need.

According to new theories about addiction, we may engage in addictive, compulsive behaviors as a response to helplessness in our lives. Unless those fundamental feelings of helplessness are addressed, we may continue to take drugs – including physically addicting opioids. If we simply try to eliminate the physical addiction – break-off the opioid intake – we may not eliminate the root cause of the addiction (e.g. helplessness stemming from the fact that you can no longer support your family or enjoy the career that you once did). Compelling evidence for this alternative frame comes from studies on Vietnam vets, who got hooked on heroin during the Vietnam War but who easily and completely kicked their heroin habit upon return to the homeland. This evidence suggests that the psychological stresses of war in and of themselves provoked a compulsion to seek relief through opioids – i.e. the heroin was simply a substrate. Once the vets returned to a peaceful environment, many felt more in control — and thus less in need of meds.

In any event, the moral is that, if someone you love has been struggling with a workplace injury in North Carolina or elsewhere, good, strategic, continuous help can relieve the psychological stressors and also ensure that you get treated fairly by your employer and your insurance company. Connect with the DeMayo law team today to schedule your free consultation.

Are the Stresses on the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation All (Or Mostly) Due to Our “Diet Troubles”?

November 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

A new “Be Active NC” report from 2012 has profound implication for the North Carolina workers’ compensation program. New research suggests that healthcare costs – in particular, healthcare costs related to the diseases of civilization, such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and so forth – may be nearly singlehandedly creating profound and potentially fatal stresses on the system.

Consider: nearly two out of every three adults in North Carolina is now obese. More than 40% of teenagers or kids are obese or overweight. One report estimates that over 20% of prescription and medical bills (from 2010) can be tied into obesity and overweight.

The question before us all is: what can we do to deal with our obesity problem better?

Clearly, the past methods have not been working. Over the past several years, Americans – and North Carolinians included – have been getting more and more obese. Twinned with this obesity epidemic has been an epidemic of other diseases, most notably Type 2 diabetes, but also including Alzheimer’s disease, certain types of cancer, hypertension, “bad cholesterol levels,” gout, and literally dozens of other health issues.

Physicians and policy experts who are trying to understand and deal with this problem begin from a certain assumption about what causes obesity and overweight and build from there.

We all assume that people who eat too much and don’t exercise enough become fat; and that the solution for overweight/obesity thus must be to put obese people on starvation diets – cajole or force them to eat less and exercise more.

An alternative hypothesis suggests that this fundamental description of the problem – and description of a potential cure – may be misguided.

According to Dr. Peter Attia and science journalist Gary Taubes, founders of the new non-profit, Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), obesity should be considered to be a disease of poorly regulated fat tissue driven, perhaps primarily, by a “bad diet” in the form of excess sugars and refined grains and carbohydrates.

Dr. Attia and Taubes’ organization was recently ceded with over $5 million in money from a private hedge fund; they and several high-profile scientists are setting to work to test this alternative hypothesis. If it’s correct, it may offer us new hope and new ideas for how to counter not only the obesity/diabetes epidemics but also how to indirectly solve related problems, such as the financial difficulties of the North Carolina workers’ compensation system.

For help understanding what you can do to fight your case more successfully, connect with the team here at DeMayo Law.

Choose a Good Workers’ Compensation Doctor, Not Like This Guy, Who Just Got Hit With 22 Counts of Sexual Assault

November 1, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Choosing your North Carolina workers’ compensation doctor can be challenging; you want someone who’s going to treat you effectively and who will support you if/when you ever need to defend your story in a court of law.

Most practicing physicians in North Carolina and elsewhere are ethical and devoted to providing good care. But every once in a while, a “bad egg” turns up. Consider, for instance, a terrifying story out of California, where local workers’ compensation Dr. Scott Dodd Anderson just got accused of 22 counts of sexual assault. Dr. Anderson’s legal imbroglio has been fulminating for over two years now. Originally, he faced 15 misdemeanor counts along with 26 felony counts. That’s dwindled down to 9 misdemeanors and 13 felonies – still a very serious situation.

According to local Deputy District Attorney, Laura West, Dr. Anderson “violated his position of trust by committing sexual offenses against four of his female patients during their examinations.”

A report in the Sacramento Bee detailed the disturbing allegations. One anonymous accuser said that Dr. Anderson treated her on multiple occasions. During a visit on September 23, 2009, he “put one of his hands in a place where it didn’t belong.” The woman told the doctor she was uncomfortable and rescheduled her appointment with another physician. When she came in again, Dr. Anderson was there again, and she went ahead with the appointment, despite her discomfort, because “it’s a workman’s comp case… you have to go to your doctor’s appointment.” She worried that her case would be in jeopardy if she stopped the treatment.

Whether or not Dr. Anderson winds up convicted or not, the tale encapsulates a terror that many would-be workers’ compensation beneficiaries feel. You already feel disempowered because of your injury/illness and because of a looming potential legal battle with an insurance company or employer. The last thing you want to do is to battle your physician as well.

When you lose trust in your physician – even under normal circumstances – the feeling can be unsettling and scary. We need to trust our medical professionals to give us good guidance.

To get vital, useful assistance with your North Carolina workers’ compensation case, get in touch with the highly respected professionals at DeMayo Law. Whether you are having an issue with your workers’ compensation physician, a battle with an insurance company, or any other problem, our experienced team is standing by to help you figure out what to do and how to do it best.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation and the Quest for Perfection

October 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Contrary to the stereotype of the typical North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiary, most out-of-work injured employees are both desperate to get back to work and also passionate about reclaiming control over their own lives. While it’s true that a certain very small segment of the workers’ comp population does want to “take it easy” – and there will always be people who will abuse benefits programs – odds are enormous that you belong to the first category.

Perfectionism – the big, hidden enemy of so many hurt/injured employees

Critics of the Charlotte workers’ compensation system will disagree with the first paragraph of this blog entry. They will cite statistics and anecdotal evidence suggesting that hurt/injured workers tend to get mired by their disability. Far too many people blow off their rehab/therapies, waste time surfing the web and watching TV, and otherwise avoid the tough but critical work needed for success.

But this problem of “slackerdom” is really often a reaction to inner perfectionism. It’s almost like many think: “if I can’t succeed totally with my life, why bother trying at all?” If you believe that the system is stacked against you – that your employer, an insurance company, or some other party will almost assuredly “win” any legal battle with you – you might figure “what’s the point in fighting hard for my rights?”

Imagine playing high stakes blackjack against the house, knowing that the deck was literally stacked against you. What would be the point in investing time, energy, and focus into making your blackjack game better, when you already know the outcome already? It’s easier to “tune out.”

So when the critics look at the facts on the ground – see hurt and injured workers “slacking off” and not pursuing rehab best practices – they may just be seeing the residue of a broken system.

Who wants to play a game when you don’t know the rules and you don’t believe you can win?

Obviously, your workplace injury and fraught financial situation are not “games.” However, there are aspects of your situation that are “game-like,” in that you’re striving to reach certain metrics (e.g. dollars per week in benefits). But you probably don’t know the rules that well, and you probably feel like you are playing against a “better opponent.”

Evening the playing field is possible, even if you are in a weakened state, physically, emotionally, and financially. The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you understand what steps to take, what processes to follow, and what else to do, legally speaking, to set yourself up for better results.

Setting Expectations After a Workplace Injury in Charlotte

October 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

A workplace injury in Charlotte has completely upset your financial and life plans.

Whether you and your spouse have been planning to start a family; or whether you have been dealing with crushing credit card debt or a burdensome mortgage, you were barely holding it together even before you got hurt. Now, you must reevaluate in light of new and unpleasant realities, such as:

•    You have no idea how serious the injury might be;
•    You don’t know when you can go back to work;
•    You don’t know whether you will be able to quality for North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits or, if so, how and when you will get those benefits;
•    You may have critical bills to pay or creditors to deal with, and you are not sure how to handle the avalanche of financial obligations and other commitments;
•    You may have obligations to take care of other people, including small children, a spouse, an elderly parent, etc.;
•    You are worried about your own mental health and stress level.

There is obviously no silver bullet that’s going to relieve all of these stresses in one fell swoop. But the team here at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo can help you at least begin to understand how to make life after your Charlotte workplace injury more manageable.

The process begins by completing two critical steps. The first step is to acknowledge where you are now in rich, honest detail. Forget about your past. Forget about what your plans were. Your reality has shifted. Your ability to respond effectively will depend in large part on how honest you can be with yourself about what you face, what resources you retain, and what potential real challenges you face.

The second step – equally critical – is to define what an ideal outcome would look like, given your honest assessment of the present circumstances. To make this cognitive leap, however, you do need to “let go” (in some sense) of your present reality and just imagine things in an ideal state. In other words, if you had no constraints, what would your life look like? How would you act? What would you be doing? The more specifically you can answer the questions like this, the easier it will be for you to find strategies and resources to help you navigate from your present reality to your preferred future.

Let the team here at DeMayo Law help you get a handle on your challenges. We can provide a free and fair evaluation of your legal options.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation: A Brilliant New News & Observer Piece Takes Us Beyond Superficial Numbers

October 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You might be surprised by how many people talk and think about North Carolina workers’ compensation issues knowing little more than ìboilerplateî statistics and tired talking points.

It’s fine to have an opinion – even an ill-informed one – about what ìshould be doneî to repair the system, make it more equitable, and ensure that beneficiaries access the care they need. But it’s also trickier to sort truth from fiction, since most popular articles and websites on the subject miss the mark.

One of the best sources for ìcutting through the clutterî about North Carolina workers’ compensation is the investigative team at Charlotte’s News & Observer – available online and in print. One recent article by Michael L. Walden highlights why. Walden analyzed why North Carolina economic forecasts tend to be shortsighted and based on overly simplistic interpretations of economic indicators. For instance: the total number of jobs in North Carolina has essentially stayed static between 2000 and 2011. Many economy gurus use this statistic and ones like it to ìdemonstrateî that our state’s economy is sinking or stagnating.

But, as Walden points out, North Carolina has a generally ìbouncyî economy – at least when you compare our state with the other 49 – due in part to our reliance on manufacturing jobs. We tend to lose more jobs during downtimes and gain more jobs during uptimes. As Walden points out, ìaggregate production in North Carolina is now 2% higher than prior to the recession (in 2007) versus no improvement to the nation.î

The moral here is: When you read editorials, you may not be getting the full story.

These insights may all be well and good, at least from an intellectual ìlet’s debate how to fix the systemî perspective. But what if you or someone is hurt and sick? What if you are a spouse or caregiver of someone who’s hurt and sick? What might these news stories imply for your quest for ìbest practicesî?

The curious reality is: not much!

In other words, if you’re dealing with a specific benefits question, you can essentially tune out the news, especially if you’re working with a creditable, highly qualified North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, like the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo. Our team can help guide you and give you the necessary strategic advice to make better decisions and maximize your quest for benefits.

Taking to Your Spouse about Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Dilemmas

October 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Contrary to the stereotype, most people who apply for workers’ compensation in North Carolina are proud, hard working, almost stubborn individuals who, in an ideal world, would much prefer to fend for themselves than to accept help from the government.

But there are times in everyone’s life where you need help – you need to have the courage to go beyond your stubbornness and pride and ask help from those who can offer it.

Along those lines, counterintuitively, asking for help from total strangers can sometimes be a LOT easier than asking for help from the people that we care about most.

For instance, it probably wouldn’t take much encouragement for you to call or otherwise connect with a high profile Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm (such as DeMayo Law) to discuss what happened to you and strategize your potential options. But if you have certain new needs or vulnerabilities that you want to discuss with your spouse or children, even the thought of having “that conversation” can overwhelm you.

For instance:

•    Perhaps you need to ask your spouse to go back to work or take a second job to help support the family;
•    Perhaps you want to ask your spouse to treat you more kindly and respectfully regarding the accident/injury itself or your rehabilitation;
•    Perhaps the event – and your frustrating quest for benefits (so far) – has stirred up deep seated issues with the relationship, and you need a larger, more free ranging conversation.

Spontaneous Conversations Versus “Planned” Conversations

In modern America, we think nothing of planning at length for big business meetings or big school presentations. For instance, before a major sales event, you would likely want to review what you plan to say in detail – ideally, getting feedback from your team. Sire, there is a time to be extemporaneous. But when you enter an important negotiation, you need to take time to plan.

Unfortunately, while we all recognize the need for planning in our professional lives, we often don’t plan enough for our important personal conversations. As a result, these conversations tend to go “all over the place.” More often than not, the result is hurt feelings, tears, and anger as opposed to a solid plan and a “win win” resolution.

To prevent that outcome, take time now to plan out what you will say, how you will say it, and how you would ideally like to behave during the conversation. Be as compassionate as possible – both with yourself and with your partner – and focus on a positive vision for the outcome of the discussion. What would it look like and/or feel like, if the talk succeeded beyond your wildest imagination? That’s always a nice question to dwell on when you’re trying to solve a tricky issue.

Dealing with Hypochondria as a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Beneficiary

October 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Perhaps you suffered a Charlotte workplace accident or illness that left you severely sick or otherwise physically incapacitated. Or maybe you endured a “chronic” injury, such as a typing injury you sustained while working as a secretary of a bank in the Research Triangle.

In any event, you crave a return to good health. When you don’t feel good, nothing else really matters. You can have a billion dollars, a castle in Spain, and fame and glory; but if you can’t get out of bed because your spine hurts, all of that fame and fortune is worth a hill of beans.

North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiaries (or people who want said benefits) often go through a period of becoming far more aware of their bodies following the illness/accident/event. Speculation abounds about why this takes place. Some people argue that the injury/illness increases the salience of the physical body. Others suggest that people who are forced to take time off of work have less to preoccupy themselves with – so they find new “stuff” – like an obsession with their bodies – to fixate on.

Psychology aside, hypochondria can be a real problem for this population.

After all, if you’re legitimately hurt/ill, you have a real medical problem. You might also be waiting for test results or waiting to see how rehab or medication will impact your health. These uncertainties can create a kind of mental tension, which your mind naturally “works on” by hypothesizing both catastrophic outcomes (e.g. “what if it’s terminal cancer?”) as well as grandiose hypotheses (e.g. “if this rehab tech works, I’ll be back to work in two months, rather than 12!”)

It would be glib to suggest that hurt workers moderate their expectations.

Easier said than done!

But it may behoove you to test the reality (or lack thereof) of your thoughts. You may also find it hugely helpful to keep a health journal, so you can objectively identify whether your hypochondriacal musings have any merit. If they don’t, you can use “the facts” that you’ve recorded in your journal to assuage yourself when the anxiety/depression starts.

Of course, your own insights should never be substituted for the ongoing guidance of a wise, licensed physician. Likewise, your own intuition about how/whether you might be able to recover benefits should not be considered a substitute for a consultation with experienced and well recognized Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm.

Why Is It So Hard to Follow Great Advice about North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

September 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re kicking yourself. Perhaps you’ve been denied workers’ compensation in North Carolina, and you’re searching desperately on the web for some resource or idea to help you “right your ship.” Or maybe you’re just beginning to investigate your options, and you’ve gotten overloaded by pamphlets, printouts, and advice from half a dozen authority sources on the subject.

Some of the stuff that you’ve read is common sense. Other “stuff” is important to know/do, but you just lack the willpower/time/energy to get around to doing it. Maybe you’ve even been scouring the DeMayo North Carolina workers’ compensation blog archive for a few hours — reading the helpful tips and ideas and counterintuitive concepts that we’ve discussed — but you’re still too “fried” or overwhelmed to take action.

What gives?

With all this great advice – online and elsewhere – how come it’s so hard to commit to the most basic tasks you need to solve your benefits dilemma?

The Myth of the “One Big Push”

In North Carolina, and elsewhere in the United States, we’re entranced by the notion of the hero’s journey. We are taught to believe that single heroic acts can make “the difference.” Our TV shows and films and other cultural artifacts all celebrate this concept. And, indeed, there is some truth to it. There are certain critical moments in your life story, where the decisions that you make can have profound consequences. In retrospect, these pivot points may be obvious. But the reality is that there is an imbalance in your life – some moments do “count” more than others do.

Unfortunately, if you spend all of your time looking to make these moments happen, you can make yourself crazy… and also fail to achieve what you want to achieve. The biggest pivot points in our lives only really become “obvious” pivot points in retrospect.

Think about your own life. What are the big moments in your life? Did you anticipate them? Did you “make them happen” in one big push? Odds are: you didn’t. Odds are: you either had been working hard towards a goal and then you crossed a threshold at an unknown time during your disciplined march towards that goal — or the big moment was just thrust upon you by random.

The point is, if you want to exercise control over your life – and, more specifically, over the destiny of your North Carolina workers’ competition benefits – you need to focus less on a big push and more on disciplined, incremental progress towards a positive outcome.

That’s how Olympic athletes do it. That’s how highly successive businesspeople do it. That’s how great performers in every domain do it. They’re not trying to win the metaphorical lottery. They’re trying to make concise, highly directed, little steps in a direction governed by a dream and a vision.

You can always course correct. You can always change direction. But the difference between success and failure is not necessarily the difference between going in one direction and not another – it’s the difference between going in A direction as opposed to not going anywhere.

You must take action. You must get in the game. Once you’re in motion, you can change your direction. But if you stagnate, you’ll get overwhelmed, and you’re never going to make the progress that you want to make.

Preparing for a Life without North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits (a Paradoxical Success Tool!)

September 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You might fail in your quest to obtain Charlotte workers’ compensation benefits.

And that’s scary.

After all, you’re likely in desperate financial need, and you also have a burning sense of justice about your situation: you believe that your employer and/or an insurance company should provide at least some remuneration for your therapies, medical treatments, lost wages, et cetera.

You may, indeed, have a case; and if you think you might, then definitely connect with the tested and aggressive legal team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo.

All that said, when you operate from the mentality that you “have to” get benefits or else your life will be a wreck, you lose some control over your life and destiny. And that loss of control can actually harm not only your spirit, but also your quest for benefits.

It’s a paradoxical situation. The more psychologically dependent you become on a “good” outcome, the less in control you feel over your situation, and the more difficult it might be for you to take the steps needed to get a successful resolution. It’s a bit like how a suitor’s desperation can make him unappealing to the object of his desire.

So how can you inoculate yourself against the desperation? After all, you really do have needs that must be met, and you might not have any a Plan B if the benefits don’t work out. You don’t want to live in fantasyland and ignore real dangers.

It is possible to embrace this paradox: to see the reality of your unmet needs AND simultaneously strive to retain control over your destiny as much as possible.

Here’s how to shore up your situation.

1. “Game out” your worst case scenarios.

What “bad stuff” might happen to you, if you fail to collect North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits?

For instance, say the proceedings get delayed for months or years beyond what you’d like. What would happen to you? Write down your fears. Write down what you might do. How might you cope? Whom might you turn to for help?

Often, our fears are most debilitating when they lurk inside us. When we surface them – write them down – they become more tractable. We can figure out solutions around them. We can nullify their psychological effect by thinking them through.

2. Exercise what business guru Jim Collins calls “Leading Above the Death Line”

In his landmark analysis of businesses that thrive in chaotic environments, Jim Collins documents a concept called “leading above the death line.” If you went bankrupt, that would be a major setback. But at least you could ultimately reboot your finances, all things being equal. If you lost your life, however, there is no “reboot.” So try to identify the “lines in the sand” that you think that cannot be crossed, and then use judicious “pre-thinking” to figure out how to stay as far away from that “death line” as possible.

Talking to Your Employer about Why He Or She Doesn’t Have North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance

September 18, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The big story this summer, as far as North Carolina workers’ compensation is concerned, has obviously been Charlotte News & Observer’s expose of the Tar Heel State’s employers’ woeful lack of workers’ comp insurance.

A series of News & Observer articles inspired the legislature and Governor Perdue to enact changes to the law to encourage employers to do the right thing… and to punish businesses that fail to comply.

Very interesting stuff.

But how is it potentially relevant/useful for you, if you work in Charlotte, and you want to protect yourself and your family?

It’s a delicate subject. Your employer may not want to discuss whether he or she has workers’ comp coverage, and that creates something of conundrum. If your employer lacks insurance, and you get hurt, you could be in serious trouble. You might even need to jump through many hoops to get appropriately remunerated, if that’s even possible.

On the other hand, you don’t want to “bother” your employer or create a confrontational atmosphere. Here are some tips for how to gingerly approach the subject.

1. Wait for the right time.

Think of this like a negotiation. You want to set the stage. You want to think things through. You want to rehearse it in your mind – or even playact it with your spouse or a friend. Make sure that you get the timing right. You want to ask the question in a way that’s respectful and that also ensures that you’ll get a discrete response. You can check out the book “Getting to Yes” for insights to how to approach negotiation – the section on the “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement” (BATNA) is particularly intriguing and useful.

2. Divorce observations from emotions.

When you talk to your employer, do your best to separate your feelings from observations of the facts on the ground. For instance, instead of saying something along the lines of “I am scared that your lack of coverage is putting me in danger,” say something more along the lines of “I notice that you’ve never told me whether or not you have workers’ comp coverage. After reading this article in the Charlotte News & Observer, I’m worried that you might lack coverage. I’d like some reassurance that you are complying with the law.”

In other words, avoid accusing. Stick to the facts. And try to be empathetic, if possible, to your employer’s position. If your employer lacks the appropriate insurance, odds are that he or she is scared and concerned and may need some understanding from you.

3. If the situation is truly problematic, it may behoove you to get in touch with an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

Protect your rights, and come up with a strategy to protect yourself and potentially collect damages, if you’ve already been hurt or injured at work. Talk to the DeMayo Law team today.

Businesses Look Out: Governor Perdue Creates North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Scofflaw Task Force

September 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Two weeks ago, Governor Beverly Perdue shook up the world of North Carolina workers’ compensation when she created a “Scofflaw Task Force” to punish state employers who misclassify workers for the purpose of avoiding expenses and gaining competitive advantage.

Wayne Goodwyn, the NC Insurance Commissioner, will head up the force, which will help workers report employers who violate NC workers’ compensation rules and also promote legislation to try to compel businesses to come into line. Governor Perdue’s orders follow on the heels of powerful series of articles reported by the Raleigh News & Observer. The series exposed how many state trucking, healthcare, and construction companies have bent or broken workers’ comp rules. Shockingly, 30,000 + companies in the state that should carry workers’ comp insurance have none – or have inadequate insurance, according to the News & Observer. Some companies also use so-called “ghost policies” to try to get around regulations. Unfortunately, when hurt employees try to activate these ghost policies, they cannot get money to pay for time off of work, lost wages, and so forth.

Goodwyn’s task force will aim to rally various agencies and helps violators voluntarily come into compliance. The team must report its progress twice a year and suggest reforms, propose legislation, and surface roadblocks that might impede progress.

Don’t expect fast action from the Scofflaw Task Force – the first report is not due until next year, just around the time when Governor Perdue is set to leave office. But many workers’ comp advocates are at least tentatively hopeful that the state government is taking steps in the right direction. We’re fortunate to have independent media organs, like the News & Observer, to point out the inefficiencies of the system and to spur real reform in Raleigh.

“Big picture” news notwithstanding, if you or someone you care about has a worker’s comp issue – for instance, you just found out that your employer does not have enough (or any) insurance – the team at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo can give you powerful, effective guidance to collect benefits and regain control over your situation.

A Strategy for Consolidating Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Problems – “Putting the Leaves into the Big Pile”

September 6, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In our previous post on the “consolidation of problems problem” that afflicts nearly every would be North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiary, we talked about an intriguing metaphor for handling the “open loops” that your workplace injury/illness has created in your life.

Rather than “dive-in” and clean up your problems immediately, you might find it resourceful to simply assess and organize your potential problems first. You need psychic breathing room and clarity. Just like raking leaves into a pile can make the job of cleaning up after a storm easier; so, too, can consolidating your diverse concerns about workers’ comp help you prepare for victory.

A Roadmap For Best Practices

Step #1: Write down all concerns about your North Carolina workers’ compensation situation, even if they seem “out there” or unrelated.

Give yourself time to do this – half an hour or so, at the minimum. Take a fresh sheet of paper, and just start listing out all of the different random, tangential concerns you have about your situation. These might include worries about your family’s financial future, concerns about your health, frustrations about the way a co-worker reacted to the news of your injury/illness, etc. Just get everything down on the paper.

Step #2: Take a break and then “add more to the pile”

Take at least an hour long break away from this exercise, and then come back and do it again for another 10 or 15 minutes. During your hour break, your subconscious will have some time to access the “stuff” lodging your “psychic attc” – the subtle, subconscious stuff that you might find difficult to access during the first part of the brainstorming exercise.

Step #3: Process and organize.

You might find David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodology for processing and organizing and reviewing these “open loops” useful. But even if you don’t use Allen’s highly specific process – in which you process first, then organize, then review – just use whatever system makes sense to you (and is easy) to figure out what projects are the most important to you, what “stuff” needs to come before what other “stuff,” and what “stuff” you can defer for a week or longer.

Step #4: Take action and review and reorganize your list as needed.

Again, David Allen has a more complete foundation for dealing with multiple diverse projects. But as long as you keep all of your key issues consolidated in one location, and you regularly review them, and you start taking positive action towards completing them, you’re going to feel a tremendous sense of invigoration. You might be surprised by how quickly you can manage your problems.

The team at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to take you further and provide essential legal assistance to help you obtain a recovery. Connect with us today for a free consultation.

Consolidating Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Challenges to Overcome Them

September 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

There is one cause of stress for North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiaries that almost no one talks about: we might call this the “consolidation of problems problem.”

Whether you twisted an ankle and tore a ligament at a construction site, suffered bruises and lacerations when a vicious pit bull jumped you while you were delivering a package for work, or your car got a mangled in a truck accident, you have been floored by both the extent and the intensity of your challenges.

Going on workers’ compensation in North Carolina is nothing like a “vacation” in any sense.

In fact, it’s almost like the opposite. As we’ve talked about at length on this blog in previous posts, your challenges are diverse. They go beyond your obvious short and long-term medical challenges and extend to the emotional, financial, logistical, and relationship realms.

It’s natural to try to work on the most pressing issues first – the easiest ones. But even dealing with your pressing/easy problems won’t necessarily make you feel any better or more complete. This is because these problems are like leaves dumped into your yard after a blowy North Carolina hurricane.

The metaphorical detritus is everywhere on your lawn. Simply eliminating one pile of leaves or removing a big branch from the eaves of your house might feel pretty good, but it’s not going to give you the huge sense of closure and accomplishment that you really want.

But what if, instead, you took some time to consolidate all of your different “problems”? In other words, how would you feel if you raked all of the leaves and detritus into one big pile? So now you have a huge pile of leaves in one area, but the rest of your yard is pristine. You haven’t removed any of the debris from your property – you haven’t solved any of your North Carolina workers’ compensation problems – but you’ve now put them in one place to deal with when you get a chance.

Odds are, this organization will bring you tremendous composure and clarity – along with the energy and optimism you need to tackle the “big pile” at an opportune moment.

Consolidating your problems is also good because you can now bring in outside help more easily. For instance, instead of doing all the work yourself, you can do the metaphorical equivalent of hiring a bunch of kids from the neighborhood to shovel the pile into a pickup truck and cart ur away for you.

In our next post, we will talk more specifically about strategies you can use to consolidate your workers’ comp problems in short order, so you can “clean up your lawn” and gain some much needed green space and clarity.

What Are the 3 Most Important Tasks to Get North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits ASAP?

August 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Here’s a cool exercise for you. Ask yourself this question every morning, right after you get up, and every evening, before you retire: “What are the three most important projects I need to do to maximize my North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits?”

If you asked yourself that question every night and every day for 30 days — and you journaled the answers and reviewed them as appropriate – can you even imagine how much progress you would make?

Unfortunately, hurt and injured workers are rarely encouraged to think through their problems and develop inner resourcefulness. Yes, it’s often crucial for people who are struggling with a less than compassionate boss or difficult insurance company to leverage outside resources, like the Charlotte workers’ compensation firm of DeMayo Law.

But even the best legal team is not going to be able to right every wrong in your life or solve every indirect issue pertaining to your workers’ comp quest.

To learn how to think more resourcefully, you need to adopt smarter, success oriented habits.

One of those habits is learning to focus on what’s important as opposed to what’s urgent.

In other words, you likely have a basket of projects and challenges associated with your workers’ comp situation. In addition to locking down your benefits, you also need to figure out what to do next with respect to employer, your rehab schedule, what to do with the kids while you’re recovering, etc, etc. Some of these projects are both important and urgent. For instance, if you rent an apartment, paying the rent every month is an important and urgent task. It comes with a built-in timer.

On the other hand, we can all too easily get sucked into busy work — the unimportant but urgent stuff, such as a frantic e-mail from your cousin about her “baby mama drama” — at the expense of the important but not so urgent stuff, such as questions about how to rejigger your retirement plan now that you’ve been knocked off of work for several months or possibly several years.

Using the rule of identifying and working on your three most important tasks per day is a great way to keep your focus on the important/non-urgent tasks.

Doing Less to Achieve More with your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation

August 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Take a minute and answer this question for yourself: What activities are you doing right now to further your quest for North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits?

•    Are you seeing appropriate doctors and keeping track of all the reports you get from them?
•    Have you notified your employer about what happened and kept a record of that encounter?
•    Have you researched Charlotte workers’ compensation law firms?
•    Have you and your partner gone over your budget in the wake of your injury/illness to determine what you need to do next and how you want your financial picture to look, now that you’ve gone through all that you’ve been through?
•    Have you kept a journal of all of your experiences on workers’ comp?
•    Have you done exhaustive research about your rights and obligations under the state’s workers’ comp law?

Perhaps you’re already engaged in all or some of these tasks.

But likely you’re probably also engaged in non-essential activities, such as napping more than you used to, moping around the home, getting angry/frustrated about your situation without taking the necessary positive action steps towards getting yourself out of it, etc.

Doing the Purge – Digital Budgeting

Business and productivity expert Jim Collins introduced a kind of time management tool called Digital Budgeting. Basically, Collins believes that many people in the business world and elsewhere do way too many things – this diffused channeling of energy makes getting results extremely difficult. This is an important to learn, whether you are a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or you’re someone struggling to get/maximize North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits.

Collins recommends starting something called a “stop doing list” – basically, you identify projects and tasks that do not provide value and/or enjoyment in your life and then you systematically stop doing them. This activity demands that you focus your time and energy and helps you avoid the busy trap. For instance, let’s say that you’re doing everything that we talked about at the beginning of this list… plus you’re taking care of your kids, watching a lot of sports, sleeping till noon, wasting time online, and ruminating over what went wrong and what “could have been.”

To make headway, you need to start to “chop out” the activities that are not providing you value — that are not moving you towards your goals. Your “purge” doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be totally exact. You just need to start. Find a few activities that you do right now that you know are not productive, and then “stop funding them.” In other words, give them no more time, money, or attention.

This may be difficult at first — but if you can intellectually convince yourself and if you can review your “stop doing list” regularly — you’ll develop the will power and fortitude to stick with it. You’ll then eliminate a source of a drag on your time/energy, and then you can leverage this reclaimed time/energy to make more progress with your case and rebuild your life.

For help managing the ins and outs of your workers’ comp case, look to the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo.

“Ready, Fire, Aim” to Blast Your Way to North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Success

August 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You want to succeed with your North Carolina workers’ compensation journey. Badly.

But winning a North Carolina workers’ compensation case can be extremely difficult: life is full of setbacks. You want to make progress, but you’re not sure how to proceed. You’d like help, but you’re not sure how to recruit the right help. Maybe a tested and trusted North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, like the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo, could give you leverage. But you have diverse problems in your life – financial, emotional, physical, relationship issues, et cetera.

Fortunately, there is a pretty well trusted two-step process that can help you move forward with your diverse problems.

The Yin and Yang of Strategy Planning and Action

Here’s how it goes:

1: Strategically plan, based on an ideal vision.

What exactly are you hoping to achieve with your workers’ comp journey? What would success look and feel like in the real world – be as a specific and granular as possible.

2: Take action based on your plan; then reflect and get feedback on what’s happened.

The best plan in the world isn’t worth a hill of beans until it’s been proven by contact with the real world.

Once you do take action, however, you then extract usable information about what worked and what didn’t work. Then, based on these actual real world lessons, you go back to step one to refine/redefine you find your strategy. Then you process through the model again.

If you keep going from strategy to action back to strategy back to action, eventually, you will build momentum towards success with respect to your problem. This model is often called the “ready, fire, aim” model. It’s more counterintuitive than what we are taught in school — “ready, aim, fire” — but on a practical level, it makes a lot of sense. It allows us to accommodate for the real world “stuff” that often turns our grand plans upside down. It also builds in control mechanisms to keep us focused on the big picture, while we’re hacking through the “trees” with a proverbial machete.

Putting theory into practice with a Charlotte workers’ compensation example

Let’s say that you really want to improve the mobility of your leg after a serious accident in the shipping area of your workplace. Your first step should be to make a strategic plan for recovery – obviously in conjunction with your doctor. This plan might involve medication, surgery, rehabilitation, et cetera.

Once you’ve locked that plan, you then need to get into action. You need to take your medication, do the rehab exercises, et cetera. If you don’t want to go blindly forward, you need to reflect on your success (or lack thereof) and build off the successes and eliminate stuff that’s not working.

So maybe after a week, you realize that the drugs you’re taking are giving you strange side effects, and you don’t want to take them anymore. So based on this feedback, you and your physician revise your strategic plan by eliminating the drugs from the plan. Then you move forward based on your new plan. As you iterate this process, you get closer and closer to an ideal way of solving your North Carolina workers’ compensation problems.

What Happens If You File for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Before You’re Even Hired? A Look at Fatta v. M&M Properties Management

August 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

An interesting new North Carolina workers’ compensation case passed through the State’s Court of Appeals.

The case, Fatta v. M&M Properties Management, involved a key piece of legislation called the North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA), which prevents employers from firing workers for filing a claim – or for even telling an employer that he/she is going to file a claim.

The Fatta case concerns a manager in training at a property company. While in his early tenure — he had only been working with the company for three weeks — the man hurt himself cleaning a hotel room. He reported what happened to his employer and indicated that he was thinking about filing a workers’ comp claim. While this was happening, the company gave him a bad performance review, citing the fact that he took long breaks, struggled to provide good customer care, and in general proved to be a less than adequate match.

In any event, he was shortly fired.

The claimant not only moved forward with his North Carolina workers’ compensation claim but also sued his employer per the REDA. M&M Properties said that he couldn’t sue because he hadn’t even filed his claim before the termination period. But the court said nope, the action was allowed under REDA.

Fatta’s claim was ultimately denied, however, because the company proved that the firing had nothing to do with the threat to file the claim – it had to do with well documented evidence that the manager wasn’t cutting the mustard with his work responsibilities.

Understanding the subtleties your claim

What’s interesting about this case is that the claimant “won the battle but lost the war” – that is, he was able to beat the company on a point of law, but ultimately he was not able to collect benefits.

The implications of this are interesting, if you’re researching a North Carolina workers’ compensation firm, like DeMayo Law. You want to make sure that anyone who represents you has experience not only dealing with potentially complex employee/employer litigation but also has the resources and connections to answer your questions and get you additional help if you need it.

Getting Beyond the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Anger

August 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Anger – it plays a lively, yet subtle role in the North Carolina workers’ compensation process.

•    For instance, you might be angry at your employer or your boss or coworkers for being less than sympathetic – for challenging your version of events, putting your safety at risk, failing to adhere to the values of your company, and so forth.
•    You may be angry at the actions of an insurance company that has acted in bad faith or otherwise made life needlessly and unfairly complicated.
•    You might be even angry at friends and relatives who have been less than supportive of your bid to get compensated.
•    You might be angry at a physician or rehab specialist or other caretaker who either didn’t do a good job or who led you to feel more confused and frustrated than you were before.
•    You might be angered by the glut of information you’ve found online – it’s confusing to sort the good information from the bad about Charlotte workers’ compensation.
•    You might even feel angry at yourself because of your perceived incompetence, lack of skill, lack of understanding of the nuances of workers’ comp law, etc.

Unfortunately, we are taught in modern American society to avoid expressing anger outright.

Our M.O. is to internalize our bad feelings – to try to act as if “nothing really bad” is happening.

According to back injury specialist Dr. John Sarno, our repressed anger, fury, frustration, and anxiety can actually manifest internally in the form of muscle tension and muscle knots, which in turn can trigger physical symptoms, such as numbness and tingling, heart palpitations, and beyond.

Sarno’s ideas are theoretical. But the general point is that subtle feelings like anger and anxiety are often indicators that certain needs are not being met. Aim to surface these unmet needs and do something positively to try to meet them.

Part of dealing with the overwhelm and uncertainty of your situation is getting the right people on board to move in a positive direction.

•    Finding a great rehab specialist, for instance, can be a blessing.
•    Connecting with the friends and family members, who support you physically and emotionally (and possibly financially), can also be a blessing.
•    And finding a great Charlotte-based North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, like DeMayo Law, can be profoundly helpful, in that the team might be able to help you quickly access workers’ comp benefits to pay for critical care.

Connect to someone on our team immediately for help with your situation.

Don’t Irresponsibly Waste Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Money

July 31, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you struggled long and hard to acquire North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits – or whether your employer or liable insurance company cooperated and gave you everything you wanted right out of the gate – you may soon find yourself flush with funds.

What you do with that North Carolina workers’ compensation money can have a profound effect, not only on your lifestyle and your ability to get therapy, medicine, rehab and medication, but also on your long term financial trajectory.

It’s human nature to indulge in outsized and irrational reactions to situations.

When bad “stuff” happens to us – such as an accident at work, a typing injury or other soft tissue problem, etc. – it’s easy to visit “worst case scenario” places.

Likewise, when things go well, it’s easy to celebrate and imagine that things will always be this good from hereon out. We need to modulate our emotions and expectations. Specifically, once you collect Charlotte workers’ comp benefits, you need to be savvy about how to make those benefits last – and how to integrate them into an overall smart financial plan.

If you treat the money as a windfall — and use it to purchase expensive electronic equipment, services you don’t really need, vacations, etc. — you could ultimately suffer major, even catastrophic, consequences.

First off, depending on what you do with your money, you could inadvertently commit North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud, which is a crime punishable by, among other things, jail time. Secondly, if you fail to put in place structures and systems that help you achieve your financial goals, no injection of money – be it cash benefits, salary money, money from a passive income source, etc. – will “make things better” for you.

Unfortunately, bad financial habits can be devilishly difficult to change and repair.

There is no reason to get overwhelmed, however. Your financial problems have likely been building up for some time now. Likewise, you will not solve everything in a day. The key is to take incremental, positive steps in the right direction. For instance, the team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you understand your Charlotte workers’ compensation situation much better and put you on a track towards success.

Enjoying a More Productive Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Experience: A.K.A “Turn Off CNN!”

July 26, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You never expected to be injured at work, waylaid by significant illness, or suddenly “far behind” your plotted career trajectory. But life happened, and now you need North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits to tide you over as you recover and try to rebuild your career.

The challenge for you is pretty straight forward: how can you be productive and maximize the minimal amount of energy you have to build your career and get things done? It’s a simple question with a complex answer.

When we are healthy, and we have a lot of free time in our hands, we tend to be relatively lax about what commitments we allow to enter our world. We take time to answer emails to old friends. We take long leisurely lunches. We sleep in. Etcetera. As any North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiary – or new parent – understands, when your energy/time gets reduced, you need to be far more choosy about your commitments.

One easy way to “lop off” unnecessary commitments is to apply something called the 80:20 rule – a.k.a the Pareto Principle. Take a look at all the “stuff” that you committed to doing right now, and rank those activities in terms of how important they are for your happiness. Now take the bottom 20% of the activities that leads to your happiness, well being and productivity (e.g. watching CNN) and lop them off. They are gone. You are not going to do those anymore.

Similarly, find the 20% of activities that give you the most joy and monetary return, and figure out how you can spend more of your time and energy doing those things.

Another cool concept is to apply something called zero based thinking – a concept developed by productivity guru Brian Tracy. The idea is simple. Take a scan of every commitment in your life right now. Ask yourself a basic question: if you had to start over with the commitment – that is, if you had no obligation to do it – would you?

The beauty of exercises like the Pareto Principle and “zero based thinking” is that they compel you to make choices about your commitments that you might otherwise delay or defer making. And part of being a more productive North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiary is changing your habits and behaviors.

Final note: If you need help managing your various commitments and struggles, the team at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo is on your side and here to help. Connect with us for a complementary and thorough consultation regarding your case.

Books to Read While Well Laid Up on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation

July 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Many people who want or need North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits find themselves enormously challenged by a variety of subtle sources of stress in their lives.

On this blog, we try to surface some of these and give you tools and strategies to deal with them. But this blog can by no means give you the complete education you need to face various contingencies and difficult situations. Aside from booking a free and confidential consultation with the experienced pros here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, you might also avail yourself of a series of excellent books to get familiar with basic strategies for how to cope with diverse problems of being off work. Here are a few key books:

1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This book is one of the classic “self help” books – it’s in the public domain, so you should be able to get it for free. Napoleon Hill spent a great deal of time with some of the early 20th Century magnates, like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. He studied their methodologies and philosophies and boiled down their lessons into his book, Think and Grow Rich. While Hill’s philosophy is generally celebrated as a means for “manifesting” prosperity, the steps and thought process he lays out should be useful for people on workers’ comp in Charlotte who want to equalize their finances, set goals, and regain a general sense of control.

2. A great series of novels (e.g. Piers Anthony’s Xanth series).

When you are off work and/or otherwise incapacitated, you can easily fall into the trap of letting your mind fall idle – that is, surfing the web mindlessly, watching way too much reality television, or just simply “vegging out” and not really moving your mental life forward. Now might be the perfect opportunity to dive into a fictional universe – not just to pass the time but also to keep yourself intellectually engaged and thinking creatively. Pick up a series that’s outside your normal reading “comfort zone”. For instance, if you’re a fan of historical fiction, take a break and delve into some science fiction; or vice versa.

3. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Ferriss’s book is essentially a study on outsourcing. Considering that you have a diminished capacity to work and be productive, you might find some of Ferriss’s tips and “hacks” useful and inspiring.

Principles for Assembling the Best North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Team Possible

July 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a recent post, we built a case for why you need a properly vetted North Carolina workers’ compensation team to help you through your various financial, medical, and legal issues.

In all likelihood, you’re currently trying to wrangle a basket of challenges in diverse areas of your life. And even if you are in relatively stout health after the accident/event that rendered you incapable of working, there is a very low likelihood that you can deal with all of these diverse challenges on your own efficiently and successfully.

How do you pick the right team for your needs?

Here’s a thought exercise to help you. It is an exercise designed to help you surface the underlying principles and values that you hold… the ones you haven’t yet made conscious and concrete yet. Here’s what you do. Imagine that you have a friend, Mr. X, who is going to build your entire North Carolina workers’ compensation “dream team” for you.

What instructions would you give Mr. X?

Spend about 10 minutes writing down all the possible primary instructions you would give Mr. X. Don’t censor yourself or worry about being too silly or persnickety. You can edit this list later. But the point is to get the most prominent ideas out of your head onto paper. For instance, you might say:

•    I want my doctors and any professionals involved to be licensed and credentialed – no black marks per the Better Business Bureau or other regulatory or licensing agency;
•    I want any rehab specialist to be located within 10 miles of my home or to be willing to drive to me;
•    I want this process to be wrapped up as quickly as possible – I don’t mind sacrificing some of my benefits in order to “be done with this” ASAP;
•    And so forth.

In working through this imaginary conversation with Mr. X, what you’re doing is you’re coming up with the values and principles that you want to govern the team building process. It’s so important to get these cleared up early on in the process; if your values and principles are lurking in your head – not on paper and not communicated to people who might be helping you – you will end up stressed out and overwhelmed.

After you’ve made your big list, take the time to “snip out” values that are really not that important to you – distill the list down to no more than 10 or 12 points. And then share that list with whomever you invite on board to assist you. Doing this one exercise will improve your North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits process tremendously.

For help analyzing your situation and a free case evaluation, connect with the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo.

Choosing Your Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Team: Getting “A” Players

July 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

To make serious progress with your Charlotte workers’ compensation case, you almost certainly need the help of a team of people who have the proper skill sets to get you results.

This isn’t to say that you absolutely must use a Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm, such as DeMayo Law, to succeed. The system is designed so that, at least theoretically, individuals can get results themselves. But in practical situations – especially situations involving complex insurance “stuff”, employers who don’t play by the rules, and long-term medical situations — you’re likely going to need help.

The question is: Where do you get the right help, and how do you coordinate that help to best effect?

Even in the best of times – that is, if you were completely healthy and you had a lot of money and leisure time to put together your workers’ comp “dream team” – you might be hard pressed to design and follow best practices. This is because team building is not necessarily intuitive to most people. Recruiting truly top level individuals can be a daunting task. You might stumble upon a great person by accident. But odds are, you’re going to have to work at assembling the right kind of help.

Getting there means being choosy. It means interviewing prospective team members extensively. But that’s not the way many people operate. Most people respond to the “the latest and loudest” – the most aggressively marketed messages. You need to engage in a thorough recruiting process – just like you might if you were hiring a key person for your company. This will involve interviewing the prospective team member extensively, checking references – calling old clients (not just simply looking at reviews on yelp or whatever). It means that really getting to know that the person or company’s values and mission, and determining whether it matches with your own.

Now, if you’re facing an imminent and urgent legal situation – such as a possible lawsuit against a negligent employer or duplicitous insurer – you may not have the luxury to do a long recruiting process. Indeed, one of the things we often come back to here on this North Carolina workers’ compensation blog is the theme of acting and then course correcting down the line.

In other words, you’re going to have to operate in an environment in which you don’t know all the answers. That can be scary. But embrace this methodology. People can and probably should help you with your workers’ comp struggles. But your doctors, rehab specialists, attorneys, etc should be carefully screened; and if you don’t have the best people on your team, then have the courage to get those people off the team and find better people.

We’ll discuss principles for finding good people in our next post, so stay tuned.

Putting HB 237 in Context: Beyond the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Headlines

July 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The big news of 2012, at least as far as North Carolina workers’ compensation is concerned, is obviously the passage of HB 237, a bill signed into law last week by Governor Beverly Perdue.

As we have covered in previous posts, the law is designed to encourage businesses to comply with insurance regulations. It comes in the wake of a high profile news series in the News & Observer, which documented how thousands of in-state businesses lack North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

The measure fell far short of some advocates’ expectations. The Executive Editor of the News & Observer said “if the data from the NC Rate Bureau was made private, we would not have been able to publish [the landmark] story.” John Bussian, a representative of the North Carolina Press Association, also had problems with the bill – specifically the provision that made employer information proprietary: “the fact is, neither the media nor the government can gauge whether employers are complying with the workers’ compensation law with that database.”

Beyond the Headlines

How much will HB 237 change the North Carolina workers’ compensation system?

Are we collectively focusing on the right “stuff” to reform workers’ comp, make it fairer, encourage employers to be more compliant with insurance requirements, and so forth? Perhaps. But in all likelihood, the Sturm und Drang surrounding the News & Observer story — and the subsequent battle over legislation — may be overblown.

Here is the reality: Given the will and economic incentives, there are dozens, possibly hundreds, of strategies that we can collectively deploy to improve the system. For instance, and these are speculative, but they are potentially useful to consider:

•    Consider a statewide ban on sodas and other sugary beverages, similar to the proposed and much ballyhooed New York city ban. This could reduce obesity and diabetes rates in the state, which would in turn reduce pressure on the healthcare system and possibly reduce injuries at the workplace;
•    Launch a campaign to encourage North Carolinians to get more sleep, thereby theoretically reducing the number of fatigue-related accidents and workers’ comp claims;
•    Create a conference to bring together insurers, attorneys, regulators, employee groups, and employer groups to search for mutually beneficial strategies and tactics to improve the system’s efficiency, utility, costs, etc.

This speculation is not intended to downplay the debate over HB 237 – it could turn out to be an important and useful law. But we generally need to think “bigger picture” and see the context in which laws like HB 237 are debated and passed.

On a more practical front, if you or a loved one needs help dealing with your benefits situation, the team at DeMayo Law is here to help.

Big North Carolina Workers’ Compensation News as Governor Perdue Signs HB 237

July 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Unless you’ve been living under a rock – and/or you’re not that concerned about North Carolina workers’ compensation – you have probably been reading a lot about Republican Nelson Dollar’s sponsored bill, HB 237 – a measure designed to compel lax employers to get appropriate North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance coverage or risk the opprobrium of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Governor Beverly Perdue signed HB 237 into law last week…but not everyone is happy about her decision!

In fact, both the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and the North Carolina Press Association – as well as state editorial boards – asked Perdue to veto the bill.

Why are so many people so unhappy with it?

Before we get into that question, let’s step back to the source of the drama. The News & Observer (a paper based in Raleigh) broke a pretty amazing story last month – revealing that potentially tens of thousands of employers lack appropriate workers’ comp coverage.

Why is this a problem? It’s a problem because, if/when workers get hurt on the job, and their bosses lack coverage, the cost of care gets passed down to the taxpayer and/or the worker does not get full and fair treatment or reimbursement.

It’s a big deal.

Indeed, the News & Observer piece is probably the reason why lawmakers acted in such haste to deal with the issue. The problem is that HB 237 comes with a provision designed to keep certain information private – that is, information passed from the NC Rate Bureau to the NCIC. This could be problematic because if the Rate Bureau chooses, it can bar injured workers, for instance, from learning whether or not an employer has workers’ comp coverage.

Groups opposed to the bill argued that HB 237 will reduce the transparency of the North Carolina workers’ compensation system; supporters countered that half a loaf is better than none – that the law will help hurt workers get proper repayment for lost wages and medical bills.

What will happen because of HB 237?

•    Will the new law encourage employers to play more by the book?
•    Will the media groups ultimately be convinced that the provision is relatively innocuous?
•    Will hurt and injured workers (and their families) ultimately get better treatment?

These questions may have profound implications if you or someone you love needs good care – and reimbursement for any harm suffered. Connect with the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo for a free and fair consultation.

Commissioner Hall Cracks Down on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance Violations

June 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Employers who violate the North Carolina workers’ compensation laws may one day find themselves standing before Deputy Commissioner, George R. Hall III, and other officials at the North Carolina Industrial Commission, pleading for mercy – that is, for the privilege to pay massive fines in lieu of jail time.

Could the times really be a changin’?

In two recent blog posts, we explored the fallout of a Charlotte News & Observer story that found that a ridiculous number (up to 30,000) of state businesses may lack adequate workers’ compensation insurance. Governor Beverly Perdue (among others), apparently found the statistics disgraceful – even terrifying – and put pressure on the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) to step up to the plate.

The Industrial Commission appears to have gotten the message.

Recently, for instance, the Commission fined the owners of a trucking company in Beaufort County over $100,000 – extracting assets that the owners had actually deeded to their children in order to pay the workers’ compensation claims of two widows who lost their husbands in crashes while working for the company.

Back in 2004, Gregory and Joyce Nixon dropped their workers’ comp coverage to streamline costs. Ironically and tragically, less than two weeks later, one of their drivers, David Murray, died in a truck crash. Three year passed – and Murray’s wife still had not gotten workers’ comp coverage – when a second driver, Richard Maynard, lost his life in a truck crash.

Murray and Maynard’s widows ultimately had to bring suit to get their workers’ comp money.

Although the NCIC brought the hammer down on the Nixons, the Commission has shown sympathy for other business owners, who’ve come up with every excuse under the sun to explain why they lacked proper coverage. Explanations cited included:

•    Economic problems
•    Bankruptcy
•    Unemployment
•    Foreclosure
•    And beyond

It’s important to recognize: some of these explanations are not only legitimate excuses but also deeply tragic in their own right. Even though the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo often needs to go to battle against recalcitrant employers and insurance companies — those who block our clients from getting fair recoveries for their medical bills and other needs — we recognize that it is unfair and unproductive to paint people on the other side as villains.

We’re ALL struggling to come to terms with difficult financial and medical issues. We all need a little more empathy and understanding as we try to meet our various needs.

If you need help dealing with your workers’ comp benefits, connect today with our team for a free and confidential consultation.

A Compassionate Look at the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance Problem – Part 2: Employers – And Everyone Else

June 26, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a recent blog post on the state of the North Carolina workers’ compensation system, we explored the implications of a disturbing survey recently conducted by the Charlotte News & Observer, which found that nearly 30,000 businesses operating in NC may be uninsured or underinsured.

We talked about how employees need to recognize the inherent dangers of working for a company that lacks good insurance coverage. If you or someone you care about worked at a company that lacked coverage, you may want to talk to someone at the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo immediately to understand your best next steps.

Beyond the tactical implications of the investigative article, what are some deeper points to consider? Here are a few insights the study can tell us:

1. The message is not getting through to business owners that they need adequate North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance.

Approximately 140,000 businesses have insurance, while 30,000 or so might not.

That’s a huge disparity! It suggests that there is a massive breakdown in the system. It’s not enough to blame business owners or to blame insurance companies. Some deeper, core constraint must be to blame. It’s incumbent on everyone who has a vested interest in the health of the workers’ compensation system to explore that constraint and figure out how to eliminate it or make it irrelevant. For instance, maybe business owners need to be notified about their responsibilities in a different way – or rewarded or/punished differently.

2. The “underinsurance problem” suggests that there could be other large scale problems with the system that might cause drag, inefficiencies, and excess costs.

Assuming that the Charlotte News & Observer did their homework properly, it’s hard to contextualize this problem as a “fluke.” Odds are that there are other gaping inefficiencies in the system that could possibly be surfaced and eliminated to everyone’s benefit.

3. We collectively need to do more “holistic thinking” about how to serve all the clients in the North Carolina workers’ compensation system better.

All too often, the discussions about how to reform workers’ comp become trivialized. It becomes law firms versus businesses, employees versus employers, employers versus insurance companies, etc, etc. In other words, there is this mentality of “the pie is only so big, so let’s grapple for our slice, tooth and nail”.

A more generous view: every stakeholder can benefit from positive reforms and improvements and efficiency.

So let’s expand the pie, instead of just slicing and dicing it.

A Compassionate Look: The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance Problem: Part 1 – Employees

June 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Research conducted by the Charlotte News & Observer has found that up to 25,000 businesses (or so) in North Carolina may not have adequate (or any) workers’ compensation insurance, in violation of state laws.

In general, if a company conducts business in the state — and employs four plus people — that company must either carry insurance or have assets to self-insure to provide for the medical care and other costs of injured workers.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) has authority to punish businesses that do not comply with these North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance rules. But in reality, the NCIC is not exactly a stern taskmaster. This means that many businesses skate by with less than adequate coverage, and that leaves the entire system vulnerable to problems.

Say someone who works at an underinsured business gets injured and needs care. The costs of that care will get passed on to us all, ultimately, in the form of higher taxes. There is another subtle and indirect – but possibly even more dangerous – consequence of the “underinsurance” problem. Namely: when hurt workers lack guarantees of reimbursement, they may delay or defer care that they need. As a result of deferring care, then may take far longer to heal… and their injuries can costs thousands more than they should have.

Hurt workers are not without recourse, however. They can sue their companies or try to get the NCIC to mediate an agreement. But it can be a mess.

If you haven’t been hurt, but you suspect your employer is underinsured or uninsured…

Ask questions, now, before someone DOES get hurt. Document all conversations about the subject, and time and date stamp them. If your employer lacks insurance, urge him or her to investigate the proper coverage right away. Often, business owners fail to get insurance simply because they don’t know they need it… or because they’re “too busy” dealing with other aspects of running the company. Owners need to know that this is not a matter that can be deferred – in certain cases, employers can even risk jail time.

If you’re already been injured

The team at the experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm, DeMayo Law, can talk to you about your situation and help you plan your next steps. We can help you stay grounded, in control, and strategically focused on getting the right benefits, connecting with quality resources, and pursuing all avenues to get fair treatment.

Counterintuitive Findings of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Study Highlight Dangers of Simple “Policy Solutions”

June 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Fixing the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is a top priority, not only for policymakers but also for insurers, employers, employees, and everyone else concerned about the quality of care delivered in our state.

Good intentions are one thing. Hard data is another.

To that end, a recent study conducted by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is pretty telling. Let’s dive into the details and try to extract lessons that might be meaningful, if you or somebody you care about has been recently injured in a workplace accident, and if you might need help from a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, like DeMayo Law.

The WCRI looked at the initial impact of something called an outpatient fee schedule reduction — a policy attempt to reduce the hospital costs of outpatient stays. Prior to summer 2009, the reimbursement rate was around 95% for most NC hospitals – that fee schedule changed dramatically down to 79%. The study looked at eight months after that fee schedule reduction.

Unsurprisingly, the payment to charge ratio went down (from 82% to 72%). But surprisingly – shockingly, even – the average charge for outpatient services spiked by 17% over the rate for a controlled period prior to the enactment of the new fee schedule.

To summarize: the overall percentage of reimbursement was lower, but the costs of services on average was higher – possibly negating the savings.

If you or somebody you love is struggling to make a claim, deal with an unfair employer, or battle your way through the thicket of an insurance company’s bureaucracy, these findings may not seem like much to you. But the lessons here are pretty broad. They suggest that “quick fixes” to problems at the level of NC policy – or even at the level of your own life – can often backfire… or at least lead to very different outcomes.

In other words, it confirms the hypothesis we proposed in another recent blog post – that the trajectory towards a workers’ comp “win” is often far from straightforward, even if your claim is simple, and even if you know precisely what you want and how you want to get it.

Four Wheels vs. Eighteen Wheels – An Interview with Michael A. DeMayo

June 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to Charlotte attorney Michael A. DeMayo, if you are involved in a highway accident with a tractor trailer, statistically speaking you’re likely to be either severely injured or killed. Data released by the United States Department of Transportation shows tractor trailer accidents totaling around 500,000 each year, with a high proportion ending in fatalities. In an interview with State Law TV, DeMayo explains that this is just simple physics. Your four wheel vehicle is going up against a vehicle that outweighs you 50, 60, even 70 times, depending on the load this tractor trailer may be carrying.

If you consider that you will most likely encounter a tractor trailer on the highway, and factor in highway speeds of 55 to 75 or 80 miles an hour, the potential for disaster is clear.

Demayo goes on to explain that there are different, very specific issues involved with a tractor trailer accident than a regular car accident or other type of personal injury claim. Eighteen wheeler accidents are by their very nature more complicated. First of all, there are a variety of government regulations that govern interstate tractor trailers on our nation’s highways. These regulations range from how many hours a driver can be behind the wheel to how much weight can be loaded on the truck, and many more.

Because the federal government’s purpose is to insure the safety of our highways, there can be stiff penalties for companies that flout these laws, and great incentive for trucking companies to try to hide this information if they are not in compliance of these regulations.

When asked who is held responsible for a tractor trailer accident, DeMayo’s answer shows just why these cases are so complicated.  In a typical scenario, he says, there are many parties who may share liability for the accident, including the driver, the carrier, the owner; possibly even the shipper. They each may have their own insurance and their own legal representation. All these layers of coverage (known as umbrella coverage) tend to complicate a tractor trailer accident claim.

Because these claims are so different than auto accident claims, an injured victim needs a highly experienced personal injury law firm such as DeMayo Law, who specializes in these sorts of cases and knows how to maneuver through these many layers to find the necessary information.

Michael A. DeMayo makes a very important point during this video interview, which is that tractor trailer accident cases need to be investigated immediately. He notes that in every tractor trailer accident his firm has been involved in that involved significant injuries, the trucking companies took action immediately. Lawyers, accident re-constructionists and teams of investigators are immediately sent to secure the accident scene and begin building their defense.

If a victim waits a week or more before hiring an attorney, they are already at a disadvantage, because the trucking company has already had so much lead time.

Watch this fascinating interview here.

Click here for more information about tractor trailer and semi-truck accidents, or contact the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo to discuss your accident claim.

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!

 
 

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