Topic: Workers Comp Personal Struggles

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.

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

February 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figure out two things:

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

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

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

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

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

February 7, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

And they just might be!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looming North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Study Sparks Concern among Labor Leaders

January 31, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s not often that a North Carolina workers’ compensation study becomes a lightning rod for political controversy.

But we live in unusual times.

In December, NC state lawmakers established a nine member commission of state legislators (made up of almost all Republicans) to study North Carolina workers’ compensation. The commission will release a report in February — a document that could have profound implications for the nearly 90,000 state employees of the Old North State.

Some union leaders and their advocates are concerned about how this study will be conducted. Specifically, they fret that it will fail to take into account workers’ positions.

An organizer for the NC’s Public Service Workers’ Union, UE Local 150, Dante Strobino, told a local paper “they [the legislators] could fast track the study and give us even less time for worker and public input. Or they could just scrap it altogether and make whatever cuts they want based on purely ideological arguments.”

North Carolina has banned collective bargaining for public workers — it’s only one of two states in the entire union to do so — so unions believe that they are particularly disempowered here. Workers worry that legislators will cut off so called longevity pay for state workers; change retirement and healthcare benefits; and even write a ban on collective bargaining into the state’s constitution.

Workers’ advocates also fear any changes that might make public sector work appear more distasteful. Talented people might opt out of government careers and flee to the private sector. This brain drain could then stimulate leadership crises among the ranks of public workers.

It’s hard to separate truth from facts, especially when it comes to heated issues, like North Carolina workers’ compensation reform. Advocates on both sides tend to approach the topic from an ideological point of view. So we often reach a point of gridlock. Name-calling and fear mongering rule.

That’s obviously not so great.

We cannot square the circle regarding how this study should be done.

But if you’re a worker – or a friend or loved one of a worker – who has been struggling with an injury or illness, we can help you. We at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo are renowned for winning complex and difficult workers’ comp cases. We can provide a free, thorough, confidential consultation. Don’t wait another day to get answers to the stuff that’s been confusing you: call our team now.

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.

A North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Success Story

January 22, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a recent piece on the state of the North Carolina workers’ compensation system, we reviewed the story of Raleigh resident John Ashworth, who suffered career ending injuries to his feet in 2008, when he fell off a roof. Ever since, he’s been battling his ex-employer to collect $70,000 in lost wages. His old boss, Robert House, didn’t have workers’ comp insurance; to date, he’s only paid Ashworth $75.

House claims that he is broke and out of business. Not an uncommon situation.

Last April, the Raleigh News & Observer revealed, in a shocking expose, the 30,000+ state employers lacked adequate workers’ comp coverage.

Critics say that the North Carolina Industrial Commission has been anemic — unable to punish and wrangle employers effectively. Our state lacks a systematic way to deal with these kinds of cases fairly and quickly.

Silver linings do exist, however.

Consider the happier story of Frank E. Boykin, who suffered a brain injury four years ago and lost muscle function, short term memory, and other medical problems. Boykin fell behind on his child support and even landed in jail once because he lacked money to provide his teenage child.

Boykin’s old boss, Andy Salvatore of Smithfield Auto Center, had refused to pay the $120,000+ he owed to the injured man. Eventually, after much heel-dragging, the NCIC acted, and officials arrested Salvatore for failing to appear at an NCIC hearing. The legal action prompted Salvatore to settle Boykin’s claim and provide him $1,000 a month as well as $100,000 in medical bills.

In a conciliatory spirit, an NC Deputy Attorney General told the boss that he would be spared $100,000+ in penalties (for not carrying North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance) if he made good on his arrangement with Boykin.

Meanwhile, advocates for hurt/injured workers in the Old North State want more systematic approach to cases like Boykin’s and Ashworth’s. Perhaps we need to follow the lead of South Carolina, which has a far more robust set of mechanisms for punishing employers who don’t pay claims and also draws on a special state fund that collects $18 million a year for people like Ashworth and Boykin.

Do you need help understanding your rights and potential remedies under North Carolina law? The DeMayo Law team can help. Talk to one of our friendly associates today, and set up a free consultation with us to explore what you might be able to do.

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.

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.

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: Reading Real Life North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Success Stories

January 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

On this North Carolina workers’ compensation blog, we speak a lot in the abstract about tactics and techniques potential beneficiaries can use to succeed: to bring back a sense of order; to compel insurance companies and recalcitrant bosses to play fairly; to develop better behaviors to handle the diverse problems caused by injury/illness.

However, you may wish to supplement this information with “lessons from the real world.”

What have other workers’ comp beneficiaries in North Carolina done to identify their hurdles, overcome their obstacles, and gain financial stability and clarity? You don’t need to guess at these answers! You can find loads of success stories for free on the Internet.

You will be stimulated by the “blow-by-blow” stories of those who have overcome similar challenges, but you do need to be careful. Not all the stories you’ll read will be “legit.” Moreover, what works for one person in a similar situation might not work for you. Intangible factors about your case or injury could create new issues… and even new opportunities.

Reading success stories can help you motivate to get out of a slump, enjoy empathy (only a very few who’ve never been through the workers’ comp rigmarole understand what the process feels like), and find curious resources to help with various aspects of the journey.

Nevertheless, you really need to take great care. Following bad or inept advice can make your situation infinitely worse and potentially destroy and otherwise sound case. The “medical guidance” of a random yahoo should never substitute for the advice of an experienced, licensed physician. Likewise, you can’t “substitute around” what a focused workers’ compensation law firm, like DeMayo Law, can do for you, even if your case seems simple right now.

The bottom line: too many hurt workers find themselves isolated, alone, and bereft of critical empathy. Even though your family members and colleagues may nominally offer support, they may not be able to appreciate what you’re going through. So dedicate some time to connect with others who have successfully emerged from similar crises.

For help understanding your legal rights and potential tools, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team now for a consultation.

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.

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.

Will You Collect North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits Before Voyager 1 Leaves the Solar System?

November 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Your wait to collect your North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits can feel epic – measured in astronomical time units as opposed to earth years. Or at least it sometimes feels that way!

Even when you have your claim ‘under control,’ legally speaking — and you have a great Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm on your side — you may still need to reconcile with delays, insurance company nonsense, and other annoying ‘stuff’ pertaining to your injury, your case, or your employer.

When you don’t know how much longer you need to ‘fight’ to get your benefits, the wait can feel eternal. If you knew it would “just” take five more months, for instance, then you could plan your life around that eventuality and move on. But the fact that you don’t know if or when you will collect creates tremendous anxiety.

Consider, as a metaphor, the experience of scientists who are following the Voyager I space probe. (Yes, it’s a ‘far out’ metaphor, but it’s surprisingly useful one, so keep reading.)

Voyager I was launched back in 1977 to study the outer planets, like Jupiter and Saturn. It did a yeoman’s job. Since then, it’s travelled around 15 billion miles from Earth. That’s three times as far from the sun as the planet Pluto. Now, scientists believe its on the verge of penetrating into interstellar space, beyond the influence of our sun. Once Voyager exits the solar system, it will be the first manmade object to reach interstellar space, so the probe’s status has become a hot topic in the astronomy world lately, even though it was launched 35 years ago.

The problem is that scientists are not sure whether Voyager I is on the verge of escaping from the solar system – it may have even done so back in August! – or whether it will stay under the sun’s sphere of influence until around 2025, by which time the power will have died out.

In other words, the situation that the Voyager scientists face is actually somewhat similar to your own situation. You might get an answer tomorrow or a month from now about your case. Or maybe your case has already been decided. Or it could be years before you get resolution!

The Voyager scientists in some small way probably feel a bit like you do – anxious just to know, one way or the other, whether they will get the information they crave.

Unfortunately, there is nothing the Voyager scientists can do but sit back and wait. But you have options to improve your clarity and odds. Get in touch with the team here at the DeMayo Law for help with your North Carolina workers’ compensation case.

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.

What’s Thwarting Your Quest for Workmen’s Compensation in North Carolina? [Not What You Think!]

November 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’ve been struggling to collect workmen’s compensation benefits in North Carolina for a while. You feel agitated and practically ready to scream in frustration.

Why you are having such a hard time?

You may not have asked yourself this question before. Or maybe you have asked it, and you answered it by claiming to be helpless. For instance:

•    ”My employer just turned on me for no reason, and he’s not supporting my claim”;
•    ”The North Carolina workers’ compensation bureaucracy is too complicated, and I get a headache every time I try to understand even my basic rights”;
•    ”The insurance company is screwing me over”;
•    ”The accident made me too sick/depressed to take effective action.”

There is a strong likelihood that you have been struck by unfortunate circumstances. Perhaps you have had the displeasure of discovering that your boss is not the kind of boss that thought he or she was.  Perhaps a seemingly trustworthy insurer has turned out to be anything but. And those things may all be true. Nevertheless, in your rush to figure your situation out, you may have misdiagnosed your problem – or at least failed to address certain key aspects of your frustrations.

What seems to be holding you back may be a phantom constraint.

So what’s the real problem? How can you find out?

Here’s a really neat, fun, and insightful exercise. Pick one aspect of your workmen’s compensation problem. For instance, maybe you’re feeling pain in your wrist after a typing injury. Ask yourself why it happened. Your answer might be ‘because I worked myself to the bone and never really took breaks.’ Now, ask yourself what’s the root cause of that problem — why did you work so hard? You might come back with an answer along the lines of ‘I wanted to do a really good job to impress my superior and earn more money.’

Then drill down yet again! Ask yourself why it was so important to show off to your superiors and make money. You might then realize that you did so because you felt a strong sense of duty to provide for your family. Why? Because your family is incredibly important to you.

Your passion and desire to support your family sparked your “overwork,” which sparked your injury.

With that insight in your pocket, you can think about how you might be able to meet your needs  to support your family without struggling so much or putting yourself at risk.

It’s very difficult for us to understand the subtle, often subconscious forces that motivate us to take actions (or fail to take actions). It can be tremendously useful to work with an experienced person – or a team of good people – to make progress.

Get in touch with the team at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo for assistance with your claim now.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Quiz: Are You an Independent Contractor or an Employee?

November 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’ve been hurt in a workplace injury in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, the last thing you want to do is to parse technical lingo about your employment status:

•    What exactly was your working status at your job, when you got injured?
•    Were you an independent contractor?
•    Were you an employee?
•    Were you en route to work (and therefore ìat workî); or were you sufficiently engaged in non-work related activities so as to be ineligible to be considered ìat workî?

These nuances may sound irrelevant or even just boring to think about. But they can mean the difference between your being able to collect thousands of dollars every month in benefits and your being able to collect zilch.

The answers differ from case-to-case. For instance, say you work construction jobs. You recently did subcontracting work on a new architectural project in Charlotte. You and two coworkers slipped on a misplaced rivet on Day Two of the job. You wrenched your back and tore a ligament in your ankle. You went to the doctor and got a lousy prognosis: you can’t work for at least six months, if not a year.

So: will you be eligible to collect workers’ comp during your time off?

The answer may hinge on your employment status. Were you just a “worker for hire” at that job – an independent contractor – or were you an employee? Factors that could determine that status might include:

•    Subtle elements in your contract;
•    The kind of work you were doing;
•    How you were doing the work;
•    Who was supervising you;
•    Et cetera.

In one scenario, you might be considered an independent contractor, in which case, you might not ever collect workers’ comp benefits. In another scenario — only ever so slightly different — you might qualify to be considered an employee and get the sought-after benefits.

This would all be confusing enough, if everyone agreed on the precise definitions of relevant terms. But gray areas abound in workers’ comp law, and you may need to fight vigorously to be classified the right way to receive fair compensation.

The experienced, empathetic, knowledgeable team at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo can guide you to make smarter decisions, even if your case is complicated and full of subtleties like the ones discussed above. Get in touch with our team today to find out what can be done regarding your situation.

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.

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.

Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation End Game: How Carefully Have You Thought It Out?

October 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you just got sick or injured at work in Charlotte, and you’re still disoriented and unsure of how/whether you’ll be able to obtain benefits; or you are already months into the process, and you’re prepping for a hearing, you may be making a big mistake. It’s a mistake all too many North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiaries (or would be beneficiaries) make.

You are failing to articulate an “end game.”

What does that mean?

It means that you’ve likely become so entangled in the minutiae of your workers’ comp case that you’ve given scant, if any, time to considering what you would like your life to look like, after everything has been successfully resolved. Don’t beat yourself up – this is a common problem. It’s not like you have nothing on your plate – you undoubtedly have a tremendous amount of work to do, and you’re likely facing numerous simultaneous stresses, medical, physical, emotional, and otherwise.

But without a positive vision anchoring your quest, you’re likely going to have trouble allocating your resources and sustaining necessary attention.

How do you go about solidifying such a vision?

You do it in multiple stages.

Stage 1: Brainstorming “good stuff” about your future.

Take 10 to 15 minutes – after you finish reading this blog post – to brainstorm positive “stuff” you’d like to see on your future. For instance, you might want your medical condition resolve. You might want to eliminate your financial problems. You might want to feel better about a certain relationship. You might want to be back at work – or at least back at a career that you find fulfilling. Don’t worry about making sense of these positive thoughts. Don’t censor yourself. Just get these thoughts down.

Stage 2 – Analyze and edit

At a separate point in time – give yourself at least an hour, preferably a day or longer – return to your brainstorming list, and start to pare it down to formulate a vision. Ultimately, you’re aiming for something along the lines of a paragraph or a page in length. During the editing stage, focus just on forming your brainstorming into something more tangible, specific, and doable.

Stage 3 – Rinse and repeat

Go through this process at least twice, if not more – and you can always revisit it, if you get stuck or cease to be inspired.

Stage 4 – Reflect on your positive vision statement often

Spend time during the morning and the evening reviewing your positive vision statement, and focus on what it will feel like when you’ve actually achieved success.

Of course, succeeding with a difficult workers’ comp case often requires a lot more than just positive thinking and changing your mindset. You also need tools, resources, and people with experience and expertise to help you. Look to the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo for essential assistance with your case.

A More Methodical Approach to Your Most Pressing Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Problem

October 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You live in Charlotte, and you need workers’ compensation because you hurt yourself at your job or while engaging in an employment activity.

In some sense, your quest is pretty simple: you just want your employer or your employer’s insurance company to compensate you, while you heal, go through rehab, and otherwise “right your ship.”

In another sense, your journey is exquisitely complicated and unclear.

Here’s the basic problem. Whether you got hurt in a one-time terrifying event – such as a construction accident mishap or a slip and fall on a factory floor – or you got injured slowly over time (e.g. as a result of working in a less than ergonomic position for 20+ years) – you can pretty clearly identify one or several “things” that went wrong and that need to be fixed ASAP.

For instance, maybe you shattered some vertebrae in your back. You need to repair and heal those vertebrae. Or maybe you developed carpel tunnel syndrome, and you need to fix your wrists and hands. From a certain perspective, it looks like your situation was caused by something simple and should be fixed by something simple.

On the other hand – and this is the subtle part! – simple accidents can lead to complex injures. And even if your injuries are simple, the solution to even a simple injury can be complex.

Consider the theoretical example of the shattered vertebrae. If your back is broken, not only must you deal with your back pain, but you also might need to take medicines, rest in a certain position for long periods of time, and undergo multiple surgeries. Every time you undergo a surgery, you may need to take other medications, some of which may have side effects which may require the use of even more medications, which can in turn change how your body regulates fat storage or change your biochemistry and other complex ways. You also will face logistical, financial, and relationship-based problems. If you have a shattered vertebrae, for instance, you may no longer be able to take care of your children. Thus, you may need to hire full time child support or call in a favor from an estranged brother or sister.

The end result is that your life becomes a lot messier and financially more difficult.

Thus, simple accidents – and even simple injuries stemming from simple accidents – can lead to a lot of complex “stuff” in your life that you need deal with effectively. Most remedies for workers’ comp are overly simplistic, in that fail to address all or even most of these secondary and tertiary issues.

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo in Charlotte can help you with the big, important legal issues – compelling an insurance company to treat you with respect, e.g.. But just understand that anyone who promises you overly simplistic, speedy solutions is just not being honest with you.

$31.8 Million Settlement from GlaxoSmithKline: Implications for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation

October 18, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

GlaxoSmithKline recently earned the dubious achievement of being on the losing end of the biggest healthcare fraud settlement in the history of the United States. As part of that settlement, the behemoth drug maker will pay North Carolina $31.8 million. These funds will be disbursed to various programs, including Medicaid and our public school system, which will receive nearly $4 million. If you have been waylaid with a workplace injury or illness, and you need North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits, what should you make of this story? How will it affect you, personally, if at all?

There are lessons to be learned here, but they are subtle:

1. The wheels of justice can take time to turn, but they can work.

State and federal investigators spent a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy to bring GlaxoSmithKline to heel, legally speaking. Surely, the job wasn’t easy. But at the end of the day, the drug manufacturer did have to pay for making untrue statements about the efficacy and safety of certain drugs, providing kickback to physicians, and failing to fully pay rebates to Medicaid and similar benefits programs. If you currently feel like you are up against ìinsurmountable oddsî – e.g. a big insurance company refuses to pay you – you may have more options at your disposal than you realize.

2. Elements of the system are just fundamentally unfair.

In an ideal world, patients could trust drug companies to provide effective safety warnings, equitable reimbursement, etc. They could rely on honest physicians to guide them, too. But alas, in the real world, our situations can get more fraught and complex. Fortunately, you can turn to respected advocates, like the DeMayo Law team, to even things up.

3. You are not in this alone.

If you feel alone, isolated, and overwhelmed due to your workplace injury or illness – isolated even from friends and family who want to help – you can easily spiral into a mentality of “no one knows what this is like.” But the GSK story illustrates that the problems that we all face with respect to workers’ compensation are, in some sense, universal.

That’s tragic, in a sense. But it’s also a relief; we can see our own story in context and thereby blunt the isolation effect. The team at DeMayo Law has helped many people in very similar situations to yours; we can help you, too.

Getting Over Chronic Injury: Could Managing Repressed Rage Be a Key to Dealing with Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Situation?

October 16, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Like thousands of North Carolinians every year, you sustained a chronic injury at work. Now, you require Charlotte workers’ compensation benefits to help pay for your medical care, lost wages and other costs.

You may simultaneously want to “dial-in” to listen to your emotions.

Whether you work in manufacturing, computing, medical, dental, or any other type of labor, you likely subject your body to repeated and potentially unnatural physical stresses on a daily basis. Many ergonomic professionals believe that these physical strains can, over time, create damage to bones, muscles, tendons, and connective tissue called fascia. And that may be true. Indeed, a substantial part of your recovery might involve physical therapy – working on the damaged muscles, joints, bones, tendons, ligaments, etc. to rehabilitate them.

At the same time, ample evidence suggest that stress and repressed emotions – specifically, anger – may exacerbate or even cause some of the pain and debilitation.

An alternative hypothesis about why back pain often persists — even among people who show few, if any, signs of structural damage — suggests that stress/anger/and other hard to express negative emotions can lead us to physically embody stress in the form of muscle knots, tension and myofascial trigger points.

Thus, to completely heal from your injury, you may need to focus not only on rectifying the physical stressors – both acute and long-term. You also might need to examine and deal with emotional stresses in your life. For instance, if you hate your boss, your day-to-day work life may lead you to clench up and develop tightness in your upper back and chest and jaw. You may secrete a lot of potentially damaging hormones, such as a superabundance of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

The mental factors, in other words, might precipitate physical factors, which then precipitate damage or at least increase vulnerability to structural damage.

Obviously, you need to speak to your physician about the best course of action. But the point is that many workplace injuries are actually far deeper and more diverse than victims realize at first.

To connect with excellent resources and develop a plan to ensure that your employer and/or insurance company plays fair, get in touch with the team here at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo today.

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.

What If Your Employer Lacks Adequate (Or Any) North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

September 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Charlotte News & Observer’s summer blockbuster expose of the state of North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance caused an uproar in our community. The news pieces even inspired state lawmakers and Gov. Beverly Perdue to “do something” about the disastrously low rate of compliance among Tar Heel employers with workers’ comp insurance requirements.

In a recent blog post, we talked about how workers can best approach potentially recalcitrant employers about their workers’ comp coverage… without risk of losing face or making your employer feel unduly uncomfortable.

What can workers who are operating in a “gray zone” do to protect themselves — in other words, if you don’t know whether your employer has insurance coverage, what do you do? Obviously, if you’ve already been hurt or made sick, step one is (after seeing your physician) should be to get in touch with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, like DeMayo Law.

But there are also steps you can take to protect yourself from injuries/accidents at work, so you don’t wind up “in the system,” having to fight tooth and nail for compensation.

For instance:

1. Improve your diet by reducing how much sugar you eat.

Powerful new research suggests that North Carolinians’ love affair with sucrose may be at the heart of our state’s (and our nation’s) obesity problem, at least if researchers like Dr. Robert Lustig are to be believed. Reducing how much sugar you eat is not necessarily easy, but it might increase your health, help your immune system, and give you more stamina and alertness, which can in turn limit your vulnerability at the workplace.

2. Get stronger.

Other new research suggests that increasing your muscular strength using slow, safe, high intensity resistance training can reduce the otherwise inevitable bone loss and loss of lean tissue that coincides with getting older. If you’re stronger, you’ll likely be less at risk for lifting injuries and other problems at your workplace.

3. Reduce stress.

Powerful research from multiple disciplines suggests that stress can impede the body’s immune system, warp our decision making capabilities, and do lots of other nasty stuff to our brains and bodies. Find ways to limit/reduce stress in your life to reduce injury.

If you’ve already been hurt, get in touch with the team here at DeMayo Law to discuss what you can do to make your situation better and potentially get compensated for your damages.

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.

What Motivates People to Commit Workers’ Compensation Fraud in North Carolina and Elsewhere?

August 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Workers’ compensation fraud in North Carolina and elsewhere costs taxpayers tremendously and harms every stakeholder in the system – insurance companies, lawyers, employers, employees, the government, and fellow North Carolinians.

Why then are so many beneficiaries tempted to break the rules?

The answers are diverse. They include:

•    Some cheaters just grew up without an appropriate ethical foundation;
•    Some people turn to fraud after struggling so long with the system they felt they had “no choice” but to ignore the law;
•    Some commit fraud out of ignorance;
•    Others commit it out of desperation to feed their families… and/or to enjoy a better life.

Corrupt systems take their toll on all stakeholders

We can and should be compassionate with the people who commit fraud – i.e., avoid judging them as “bad” people but rather as people who have made mistakes because they tried to meet their needs using inappropriate strategies. But we also need to acknowledge that bilking the workers’ comp system out of money can ricochet throughout the system and cause harm in all sorts of indirect and even impossible to predict ways.

For instance, imagine someone defrauds an insurance company out of few hundred thousand dollars by faking a back injury. And one day, the alleged victim is spotted playing rugby with some friends – clearly, his back is not injured. This revelation then in some sense “spooks” that insurance company – and possibly other insurance companies as well.

Going forward, all these insurers now compel anyone who complains of a back injury to go through a strict gauntlet of tests and scrutiny. Inevitably, several “false positives” gets screened out of the system, i.e., people who are legitimately hurt get denied coverage because of this extra screening.

Now imagine all the indirect consequences that results; people who now CAN’T get workers’ comp benefits – the strains on their families, the strains on the community, etc. And you can see how a single act of fraud can “pay it forward” throughout the system in a negative way.

All this is to say that, if you are struggling to figure out how to collect benefits and deal with your multiple, diverse struggles, look to the team at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo for sharp, compassionate, and ethical help.

The Impatience Problem: You Want Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits NOW

August 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

When can you start to collect North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits?

This is a mission-critical question. It speaks both to the urgency of your situation and to the expectations that have been set for you and so many millions of others who’ve been rendered disabled by accidents or workplace injuries.

Dealing with this impatience is one of the most difficult, rarely talked about chronic sources of stress for beneficiaries and would-be beneficiaries alike. You want things to “be like they were.” You want your boss or the insurance company in your way to “cooperate” and just “let you live your life.”

The constraints on your success are diverse and constantly surprising. Just when an insurance company, for instance, agrees to pay its “fair share” to you, you discover that now you face a new medical setback, which may cost you thousands of dollars more than you anticipated, so your life is thrown out of whack yet again.

Managing the chaos is possible. Good people and good resources can help you achieve your goals faster and with more certainty. For instance, the team at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo will be happy to discuss your situation and give you a free, strategic case consultation.

But understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’re not going to solve your Charlotte workers’ compensation issues in a day, either. It’s going to take time. You’re going to need to heal and “recombobulate”, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. If you recall the old proverb, “the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time,” you will be better off.

Understand, too, that you might face setbacks as you go forward, even if you have the best help in the world. You might encounter unpleasant surprises, financially, physically, emotionally, and relationship wise. But you need to keep moving forward, keep striving to recover and better yourself.

Keep your focus on the journey as opposed to the destination.

How Could They Do This to Me? Dealing with Betrayal during Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Struggle

August 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s not like you ever wanted to have to rely on North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits to feed your family, pay medical bills, and live your life.

But a workplace injury or occupational disease has rendered you incapable of earning a living at your former job, and you just want your employer and your coworkers to behave compassionately and treat you with understanding and respect.

While some employers do reach out to hurt workers — and strive to treat them well and ensure that they get good care — not every employer is thrilled to open up his or her pocket book.

What’s worse: some employers “make it personal.” A once supportive boss may, for instance, attack your character by asserting that you were bad at your job, lied, came in late, etc. Even more upsetting can be the betrayal of coworkers. Some North Carolina workers’ comp cases evolve into bitter “he said, she said” type arguments. Once supportive coworkers — who might have even offered to provide favorable witness testimony for you — may “switch sides” and abandon you in favor of your employer.

These betrayals would hurt, no matter what. But when you are down and out and sick, they bring a whole new level of sadness, frustration and hopelessness to the situation.

Understand that you do not have to fight your battle alone!

You do not have to let an immoral employer or cowardly ex-co-workers intimidate you into giving up your claim or into settling for less than you deserve. The experienced team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, for instance, can take effective action on your behalf and ensure that your employer, the liable insurance company, and other parties treat you appropriately and fairly… and that our state’s laws are leveraged powerfully and effectively on your behalf.

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.

5 Critical Reminders about Your Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Rights and Responsibilities

August 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’re considering filing a Charlotte workers’ compensation claim, you might want to print out and save the following article for reference. Here are five “must know” facts for claimants.

1. Even if you caused the accident or workplace injury, you can still file and win a claim.

The whole point of the workers’ comp system is to create a “no fault” environment to resolve claims. Even if your employer did nothing wrong – and you did – you can still win benefits.

2. Chronic injuries and diseases caused by your work are compensable!

Even if you didn’t break your arm in a forklift accident or inhale toxins at an industrial facility and suffer acute breathing spasms, you can still collect Charlotte workers’ compensation. Chronic injuries, like repetitive strain injuries (RSI) that you got at a secretarial job, for instance, are compensable.

3. Don’t forget Form 18!

You have two years to alert the North Carolina Industrial Commission about your injury or accident. To do this, you need to file something called a Form 18. You also need to alert your employer about what happened – ideally in writing. Keep copies of all notifications, and do this in writing please – don’t just do it with a phone call or in person chat.

4. Don’t just accept the first options the insurance company suggests!

After you have achieved your maximum medical improvement from the injury/illness, you maybe left with a permanent disability. How much you get depends in part on your negotiation skills. The liable insurer will almost certainly try to get you to agree with the easiest/least expensive option… for the insurance company! Do your due diligence and get the facts on all the choices potentially available to you.

5. You can reopen your case – within two years, but no more than that!

If you are not satisfied with the settlement arrangement, or if your injury/disease worsens, you can strive to get more benefits and/or additional rehab or medical/surgical help. But you need to file with the NCIC within two years, or risk losing your rights to additional compensation.

For help navigating the labyrinth of our state’s benefit system and to ensure powerful results, turn to the seasoned team here at the law offices of Michael DeMayo.

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.

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.

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.

How Clear Are You on Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Goals?

July 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you’re struggling to collect North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits, or you’re in the beginning stages of researching your options after an injury or illness, odds are you are suffering from a significant clarity problem – and you may not even realize it.

Many people act without a thorough and highly specific ideal outcome in mind. To the extent we do so is the extent to which we set ourselves up for frustration, lag time, and failure.

Getting clear about a desired outcome is actually a lot harder than many people realize. The skills required to attain this high level of clarity, consistently, are typically not taught in school; and they require diligence and practice to perfect.

Here’s one sure-fire way to gain at least a little clarity during an ambiguous situation. The idea is going to sound simple, but don’t dismiss it!

Here it is: Measure.

That’s all? Measure?

That’s all. According to Peter Drucker, one of the greatest management thinkers of all time, “what gets measured gets managed.” In other words, if can come up with a metric for the result that you want, you are far more likely to manage your way to get better results with it.

The key is to pick an appropriate metric for your situation. Ideally, you want to choose one or two numbers that you can track over the next weeks or months to ensure that you are moving slowly, tangibly, in an appropriate direction.

For instance, you can choose a metric to grade your physical recovery. Say you have a serious knee injury, and you are going through a rehab. You might grade your knee pain daily or even twice daily on a 1 to 10 scale; then work on getting that pain number down over time. In terms of your financial situation, maybe you can grade the degree of ambiguity over your budget on a 1 to 10 scale – or use whatever metric is appropriate – and then work on making that number more favorable.

The key point is, by grasping onto some benchmark you can work against, you can not only move yourself incrementally towards a desired end state, but you can also regain a sense of control that you might have lost since the injury/illness.

For help with your case, connect with the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo.

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.

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.

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.

The Tesla v Edison Debate: Amazing Implications for the Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Journey

June 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In your quest to find good information about workers’ compensation in Charlotte, you need to be selective and savvy about what sources you trust. Which experts should you listen to? What expert advice should you ignore… or at least take with a grain of salt?

To break down these simple but ultimately subtle questions, let’s change our perspective a second. Let’s tune into a different discussion going on in the world of science journalism – one which will, indirectly shine light on these quandaries and help us make better decisions.

Telsa v Edison: Revisionist History vs Conventional Narrative

Was Nikola Tesla a heroic modern figure? And was Thomas Edison not the altruistic genius inventor that most people believe he was?

Late 19 Century inventor Thomas Edison and genius innovator Nikola Tesla both indubitably created great inventions to help the human race. But a debate rages about how, exactly, these men contributed. Have they been credited fairly by most history books?

The historical debate is obviously complex – as these things always are. But here’s a gist. The standard historical texts credit with Thomas Edison with dozens, if not hundreds, of inventions; and while Tesla is certainly lauded by history books, he is far less well known.

•    Edison made a considerable fortune leading a team of inventors, and he took a lot of credit for what he and his team produced.

•    Tesla, on the other hand, was essentially a solitary genius who died alone, with an imaginary pigeon as his only friend.

Tesla fans, such as internet comic, The Oatmeal, are quick to point out the dozens of contributions that Nikola made to fields as diverse as electronics, x-ray technology, and magnetism.

Tesla fans allege that Edison treated Tesla very poorly and unethically. For an amusing and also educational vantage on this debate, check out the back and forth between the “pro-Tesla” Oatmeal and the “pro-Edison” response from Forbes Magazine.

How the debate relates back to the workers’ comp questions we raised earlier

There are a few lessons we can learn from the Tesla/Edison dispute that can help you manage the informational chaos of researching best practices for being a workers’ comp beneficiary:

1: Don’t expect to ever achieve full clarity.

There will always be people who will disagree with your point of view. There will always be counter arguments to the arguments, and counter arguments to the counter arguments. At some point, you need to turn off the flow of information and start taking action.

2: What you think of as “true” is often not the case.

If Tesla fans are right, the conventional wisdom about both Edison and Tesla is many ways backwards. That’s certainly the case with respect to a number of issues regarding workers’ compensation. So just because you certain default beliefs about workers’ comp does NOT mean those beliefs are necessarily productive, resourceful, or true.

3: Compassionate, experienced, scholarly people can you help you – often better than you can help yourself.

The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo can provide strategic guidance for your workers’ comp quest.

Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy to Collide: What Does It Mean for Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case?

June 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

At first blush, you might think that astrophysics and North Carolina workers’ compensation have about as much in common as do Lady Gaga and Albert Einstein. But let go of your skepticism for a second, and consider the following very interesting astrophysics development. There might be critical lessons for you “from the stars,” if you or someone you care about has been struggling to deal with an insurance company, recuperate from a chronic work induced ailment, or saddled with a less than compassionate employer.

Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy to collide, new research finds

North Carolina is located on planet Earth, which resides in the Milky Way galaxy, a consortium of billions of stars. To give you some sense of comparison, if the sun were the size of a very small grain of sand, the Milky Way galaxy would be approximately the size of the earth.

It’s big, in other words!

And it turns out that the Milky Way is on a slow motion (relatively speaking) collision course with a nearby galaxy called Andromeda, which is currently about two million light years away from us. By painstakingly measuring Andromeda’s trajectory using the Hubble satellite, scientists determined that the galaxy is headed our way at approximately 250,000 miles an hour.

At this rate, Andromeda and the Milky Way will collide and merge in about four billion years. Not exactly something to fret about any time soon.

Very interesting, but how does it relate back to my North Carolina workers’ compensation concerns?

Here’s how. Many aspects of the workers’ compensation journey happened in essentially “slow motion.” For instance, if you look hard enough, data could suggest that a certain type of rehabilitation will work (or not). But if you just pay attention to what you normally pay attention to – and fail to look for the subtle, “slow motion” signals – you can wind up struggling with your benefits issues.

Thinking “long-term” does not come intuitively to most people.

Even though human beings have a relatively unique ability to plan, we are still very much “creatures of the moment.” It is very difficult for us to intuitively sense whether a physical action or a dietary change that we undertake will have long-term negative (or positive) effects on us. It’s like… when you look at Andromeda through a telescope right now — even through the best telescopes we have — the collection of stars looks basically frozen in the sky. But it’s actually moving! Likewise, when you take a look at your current habits, resources, and beliefs about workers’ comp, you cannot judge what the outcome of those beliefs, habits, etc will be just by looking at the short-term.

A way around this “perspective” problem

The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo has represented hundreds of people in situations similar to yours. Since we have a better “data set” – more experience, and diverse experience – we understand the best kinds of trajectories for workers comp cases. So we can help you figure out a strategic way to approach your mission to get benefits, heal, and feel back in control.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Momentum – Punctuated Evolution

June 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a recent post on how to deal with the mountain of problems associated with your North Carolina workers’ compensation claim – what we metaphorically describe as kind of a “big elephant” that you want to shrug off your shoulders – we talked about how you need to get into action and seek continuous improvement towards a positive end state.

Whether you want to get your finances in order, straighten out your employment situation, deal with your health issues, or simply understand your potential legal rights and responsibilities with respect to North Carolina workers’ compensation, taking action is critical.

That said, there is another myth about how cases typically progress. A more subtle one!

While most people know that they need to “take action” to get things to happen in their lives, they don’t understand this second point too well. And that point is that progress does not happen linearly! It’s not like, day by day, your body will heal and heal and your financial circumstances will get better and better. On some days, you might see progress. But on other other days, you might feel like you are going in reverse.

Imagine you’re walking towards the Appalachians from Charlotte. You won’t just slope gently up and up and up until you get to the top of a mountain somewhere in West Virginia. Sometimes you will be going up, sometimes you will be going down. But as long as you keep heading in approximately the right direction, you will eventually reach the mountains. You will eventually get to the top. That is, if you continue to reset your perspective, reevaluate your progress, check your map, etcetera.

What does this all mean, specifically, for your workers’ comp case?

It means that, if you find yourself suddenly concerned about your medical situation or your legal battle, the answer is not necessarily to panic. The answer might be to panic! But not necessarily so. Because progress towards a worthy goal always has its ups and downs.

Of course, you also need to know whether you’re marching towards the proverbial mountains or heading towards a cliff. And you can’t really do that if your perspective is overly limited. That’s why it’s so helpful for beneficiaries or would-be beneficiaries to work with an experienced law firm, like the team at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo. Since we have gone through the process of getting clients the resources they need many, many times, we know the common hurdles that they face and how to bypass those obstacles or make them irrelevant.

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

May 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

Why is this discussion important?

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

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

May 22, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

The questions are endless.

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

So what’s the resolution?

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

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

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

May 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

Unfortunately, these are the wrong questions to ask!

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

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

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

More web resources:

Why to be optimistic:

Why to be realistic:

The Stress of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation on Your Relationships

May 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Many changes at once

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

How change affects relationships

Being compassionate with yourself

At Risk for Needing North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

May 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

Here are a few “red flags”:

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

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

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

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

You’ve had one or more “close calls.”

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Paying attention to intuition

Warning signs that you might be hurting yourself

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

May 8, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvard Researcher’s Nine Steps for Success

How to Build Your Will Power Muscle

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

May 4, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Web Resources:

Fearing Obstacles That Haven’t Yet Presented Themselves

Stop Worrying and Start Rebuilding Your Life

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation: When You’re Just Trying to Get By

April 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Many articles online about workers’ compensation in North Carolina and elsewhere focus on the technical aspects of how to get benefits quickly, maximize the utility of the benefits you collect, “fight the system,” compel employers and insurers to “play fair” and so forth. These are all important topics to address – indeed, this blog has spent a tremendous amount of time analyzing these issues.

However, many hurt and sick workers are concerned not just with getting benefits – and “closing the loops” associated with their benefits quickly and efficiently – but also with managing the core instability and frustration of the workers’ comp journey. It’s important to address these issues, too. And the distinction is important. Obviously, hurt and sick workers – and their families – need the appropriate strategies and tactics and resource partners to achieve sufficient results. But focusing on your grand plans – all the big picture thinking – can lead to a kind of overwhelm and dismay.

If you just read a little bit online, for instance, you can immediately recognize:

•    50 problems that you have that are associated with your North Carolina workers’ compensation situation;
•    20 tactics that you should be implementing yesterday to get control of your life;
•    30 possible resource partners;
•    100 North Carolina workers’ compensation law firms;
•    And that’s just the beginning!

Getting human beings to change and move away from the status quo is almost never a comfortable activity, even under the most generous and simplest of circumstances. In other words, if you are young and healthy and you are looking to change your diet or improve your fitness routine or get a little bit more productive… you still nevertheless will face challenges breaking out of old habitual thoughts and actions.

When you’re sick and injured – when you have a family to care for, bills to pay, hidden anger about your employer, your insurance company and possibly yourself, a painful rehab and a scary medical prognosis in front of you, et cetera – the thought of taking on even MORE risk can be almost too overwhelming to bear. Even if the risk is worth it, by any practical calculation. And so many would-be beneficiaries don’t bother taking any action about their cases. So the research that they do comes to naught. So they feel WORSE about their poor results than they would have had they done no research at all!

Not a Good Situation, By Any Means

So how can you begin to move it in some right direction — to get the wheel moving? Unfortunately, there is no cookie cutter answer here. But, if you can at the very least internalize the concepts that we’re discussing here – that taking no action is often worse than taking an inefficient or even negative action (i.e. one that moves you the wrong direction). Action creates its own clarity because of the law of inertia. Once you’re moving in any direction, you’ll find it easier to pivot and change course based on the feedback that you get.

More Web Resources:

The Hidden Cost of “No Action”

The Law of Inertia

What If You Find Out That Your Employer Does Not Have North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

April 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Businesses that employ more than three or more people in North Carolina generally must carry North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance.

If they don’t, the owners can actually be hit with a felony charge and face jail time, among other punishments. Why does the state care so much about this issue? What’s the big deal?

If your employer lack proper insurance — and then you get sick or hurt on the job — how do you expect to collect benefits to pay for your lost wages, the time you spend off of work, and so on and so forth? Perhaps the business owner has personal assets to cover care. But probably not. And many workers’ comp cases in North Carolina can lead to damages in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If your employer is operating on a shoestring budget – and doesn’t have a lot of significant assets, and does not carry insurance – you may not have any recourse at all!

Then your burden becomes your family’s burden – and/or the state’s burden and/or the federal government’s burden. In other words, a simple lapse of judgment on the part of your employer can cascade to have massive impacts not just on your future and your family’s future but also on the economy in general. The rest of our civil society must pick up the tab for the incompetence.

There are a few lessons to be learned:

1. If you are an employer and you do not understand your obligations under North Carolina workers’ comp law — or if you do understand them and you still lack insurance — make it an urgent, top priority to take care of your insurance issue.

Do it not just to protect yourself from felony charges. Do it to secure the well being of the people on your teams who help you produce and also to help society at large.

2. If you are an employee, and you know that your employer has not met his insurance obligations– or other obligations with respect to your safety, financial well being, or welfare — speak up!

Don’t wait until you get hurt or sick to learn about your employer’s incompetence. It’s within your rights – and it’s commonsense – to find out whether you would be protected if something happened to you on the job. If you need more clarification, you can always connect with a resource like the North Carolina Industrial Commission or a qualified North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

The North Carolina Industrial Commission

North Carolina’s Laws Regarding Workers’ Comp Insurance

ObamaCare and North Carolina Workers Compensation

April 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

With the Supreme Court set to weigh in on the critical healthcare mandate aspect of ObamaCare, experts here in the North Carolina workers’ compensation system are already thinking through how the court’s decision might impact the rights of workers and employers here at home.

The case before SCOTUS is monumentally complicated and highly politically charged. This is not the appropriate space to dissect the nuances of the arguments — and the predispositions of the various Justices. Some pundits believe that if Supreme Court scraps the mandate requirement, then much of “ObamaCare” would be hobbled. Others suggest that a Supreme Court smackdown might even ultimately help President Obama and fellow advocates.

We are obviously not going to get into the Supreme Court prognostication business here! But this case does hold interesting implications for North Carolina workers’ compensation. Not so much in how a ruling either way would impact healthcare. But rather… we can look at this cultural moment as an indicator of the interconnectedness of various governmental polices and initiatives.

Let’s make that a little less abstract.

The battle over ObamaCare has been a unique showdown involving the Executive, Congressional and Judicial branches of government. We tend to think about issues like health insurance or workers’ compensation in a vacuum. Indeed, experts in these fields can often get so interested in the subtleties and nuances and “10 levels deep” questions about their areas of focus that they lose the ability to explain what they are talking about in plain language to people who don’t know or don’t care what they do.

We can see some of this narrow-minded thinking with the whole healthcare debate. Practically no one who reports or analyzes healthcare stories has read the thousands and thousands of pages of documents that might be relevant to understand the implications for healthcare.

Let’s put this idea into context. What might it mean for people who are trying to simply understand what benefits they might be entitled to and why their employer or insurance company has given them a hard time?

First of all, understand that employers and insurance companies have an interest in protecting their companies and bottom lines. So, if you are encountering resistance, you shouldn’t necessarily be surprised. Second of all, when you’re traversing the gauntlet of the workers’ comp system, be aware that you will encounter many individuals who claim to be “experts” on the whole enchilada. In reality, the workers’ comp system is so complex, so byzantine, and so multifaceted that no one can “know it all.”

All that being said, a reputable workers’ comp law firm in North Carolina can help you make hugely substantial progress toward your goals.

More Web Resources:

Do the experts know anything?

Why people tend to oversimplify complex problems.

Employers Who Fail to Buy North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance – What Should Be Done? Part 1

April 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

A recent piece in the Charlotte Observer, “When NC employers dodge workers’ comp costs, employees pay the price,” has raised a huge conversation among professionals in the North Carolina workers’ compensation community.

Whether you’re a worker who got hurt on a roofing job, a family member of someone hurt in a work-related driving accident, or simply a curious citizen, we hope that you will enjoy this two-part series reviewing and analyzing the Charlotte Observer’s editorial.

According to the News and Observer, as many as 32,000 businesses in North Carolina that should carry workers’ comp do not. Dun & Bradstreet found that there are approximately 172,000 companies based in NC that employ more than three or more people. This means these companies must purchase insurance or certify that they have money to self insure. Meanwhile, insurers only wrote about 140,500 policies for businesses in 2011.

That’s a big gap!

And that gap is important because, as the Charlotte Observer piece points out, non-compliant companies put hurt workers at risk. An employer who fails to carry workers’ comp insurance can be charged with a Class H felony. Not exactly an armed robbery count — but it’s still a felony. Nevertheless, the enforcement of this law is pretty lenient. As the Charlotte Observer’s piece pointed out, two construction company owners were recently excused of this fraud charge after an investigation revealed that they let their workers’ comp policy lapse because of financial pressure.

In other words, yes, the employers did something wrong – committed a Class H felony, perhaps. But they weren’t trying to skirt the law or cheat the law as much as they were trying to keep their business afloat. That would be all well and good, except for the fact that — in this particular case — a 59-year-old employee got crushed by a load of gravel and suffered a permanent disability. The hurt worker is now out $60,000 in lost wages, and his hospital bills total $40,000.

So that’s $100,000. Where does that money come from, if his employer lacks assets and insurance?

Questions like these are far more than theoretical: they are practical and scary, especially if you or a loved one suffered a serious injury.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Industrial Commission appears to be kicking the can on this issue. As Observer points out: “The Commission makes no effort to figure out which employers don’t have protection. It only learns of noncompliant companies when a worker has been hurt and appeals for help.”

In other words, we’re closing the proverbial barn door after the horses have all run away.

Fortunately, there are resources out there that can help you understand what to do, how to navigate North Carolina’s complicated workers’ comp laws, and how to get benefits sooner, easier and with more certainty. Connect with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm to learn more about your potential case.

More Web Resources:

When NC Employers Dodge Workers’ Comp Costs, Employees Pay the Price

North Carolina Industrial Commission

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation System: Not Perfect, But Better Than the Middle Ages

March 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Let’s be frank: The North Carolina workers’ compensation system has a lot of problems, despite legislators’ attempts last year to tweak the laws, make them more equitable for businesses and employees, and streamline some aspects of the bureaucracy.

At the end of the day, legitimately hurt would-be beneficiaries still get mistreated by insurance companies, harassed by employers, and forced to jump through hoops to get money that, by all rights, should be theirs without any question. Likewise, unscrupulous people still take advantage of the system by committing North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud.

When you look at any of the interested parties involved – employees, employers, insurance companies, rating agencies, the state, etc – you can probably find ways for us all to improve how we approach the problem of workers’ comp.

On the other hand, we’ve come a pretty long way in terms of worker’s rights, especially when you look at the past several centuries of human history.

Back in Medieval Europe, for instance, serfs labored under ghastly condition to scrape out a living. You can be sure that a serf who got whatever the equivalent of “carpal tunnel syndrome” was — after spending too much time threshing wheat (or whatever) — did not have a grievance system that was anything close to the North Carolina legal system.

Does our progress mean that we can or should excuse the inefficiencies in our current system? Absolutely not. But it’s at least useful to start looking at our problems in historical context. Not only because it will make us feel better – at least we are not serfs, and we have some control and power over our legal destinies – but also because it can make us hopeful for the future. Who knows? In 30 or 50 or 100 years, we may look back on the current way workers’ comp works in horror. Our descendants will wonder: how could we have let so many inequalities and inefficiencies linger for so long?

If someone you care about needs help with a tricky insurance company situation or an unpleasant employer, connect immediately with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

How serfs were treated in the middle ages

The art of getting better over time

Identifying Best Practices – Help For North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Clients (Or Would Be Clients)

March 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

How can you make your experience on North Carolina workers’ compensation as successful, stress-free, and – dare we say enjoyable – as you can?

Here is a simple exercise you can do in 5 minutes that should offer you profound insights into the unspoken values and principles governing your quest for North Carolina workers’ comp.

Values and Purpose

There are oodles of books, websites, blogs, and other materials that emphasize the importance of defining values and purpose. Our values and purposes change based on different circumstances and different problems. For instance, ask yourself “why” you are reading this article. Your purpose will be different from “why” you got onto the internet in the first place. The frame of the problem changes the purpose and principles. That’s why it’s so important to be specific when it comes to exercises like the one we are about to do.

Having gone through that preamble, let’s begin the exercise.

Step 1: Grab a piece of paper or open up a word document, and take time to answer this question:

Why do you want to go on North Carolina workers’ compensation?

Really take some time here. Don’t just write “to get money” or some snarky answer like that. Really spend some time to probe the root purpose of your quest. For instance, you might need to ask “why” multiple times to hit “pay dirt.” For instance, if you first wrote down the answer “get money,” you would need to ask “WHY do I want to get money?” and so on and so forth until you reach a more fundamental purpose — ideally one that resonates with you emotionally.

For instance, after some drilling down, you might come up with the root answer “because I have a fundamental need to support my family and children.”

Step 2: Identify your values.

One of the best ways to come up with the values that will govern a project (including your quest for workers’ comp) is to imagine “outsourcing” it to somebody else. Say you could hand over the task applying for, collecting and spending your workers’ comp to somebody else. What would tell that person NOT to do? You can then derive your values by taking the negative of that statement. Example:

•    I would forbid the outsourcer from committing fraud or any other unethical behavior. (Value extracted: I will not commit or tolerate fraud or any unethical behavior)
•    I would not allow the outsourcer to tackle a job by himself or herself. (Value extracted: I want to use and trust my case to a competent authority, such as a trusted North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm).
•    I would not allow the outsourcer to work without keeping my spouse in the loop as well. (Value extracted: I must keep my spouse in the loop about what’s going on with the workers’ comp stuff.)

More Web Resources:

Drilling Down to Find Purpose and Principles

Change Must Be Purpose and Values Driven

 

Proposal: A Simple Solution for What Ails the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation System

March 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In recent blog posts, we have been talking about the roots of North Carolina workers’ compensation problems. On both an individual level and a societal level, we have examined how simple problems (such as dietary choices, exercise choices, ergonomics, etc) can cause profound problems for workers and for the system as a whole. We have also looked at how complex problems can often “give way” to relatively simple solutions. Both of these ideas are relatively counterintuitive. But both find support from emerging research in respected disciplines like complexity theory.

Today, we are going to examine speculative ways to “knock out” many of the seemingly impossible to dislodge problems with the North Carolina workers’ compensation system as a whole. These problems, as this blog and others have enumerated, can include:

•    Exorbitant premiums which exhaust employers and lead to fraud and other kinds of malfeasance;
•    Complicated bureaucracy which intimidates beneficiaries;
•    Suspicious and at times aggressive and malevolent insurance companies, who can make beneficiaries jump through hoops unnecessarily and even deny legitimate claims;
•    North Carolina government bloat – too many worker’ comp cases consume significant government resources;
•    Lost productivity – when workers get sick and injured, they lose capacity to be productive (or as productive). The result? A huge drain on the state’s coffers, productive capacity, and overall spirit and confidence.

Complexity theory tells us that simple solutions (provided that they are the proper ones!) can potentially knock out many of our complex problems.

For instance, let’s continue to roll with our earlier speculation about the efficacy of low carbohydrate diets. As authors like Richard Bernstein, Mike Eades, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Gary Taubes, and others have argued, carbohydrate restriction might be a “magic bullet” when it comes to treating chronic disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. If these guys are right, what would happen if North Carolina changed its dietary guidelines to come into line with the “low-carb” perspective?

First of all – and again, this is assuming that they are right about the science – North Carolinians would rapidly be able to reverse the state’s obesity and diabetes epidemics. So we wouldn’t spend nearly as much money or time or energy battling those problems. That would free up money to spend elsewhere. Second of all, we would create a stronger, more robust work force.

Acute events (e.g. slip and falls) as well as long-term stresses (e.g. bad workplace ergonomics) would still be a problem. But even THOSE problems would be significantly helped. A muscularly strong, healthy man with a strong lower back and good immune system is likely to “bounce back” from a fall or from a typing injury than is a compatriot who is significantly obese, diabetic, and weak.

In any event, this is an interesting thought exercise. And, again, the concept that massive, diverse, and seemingly unrelated problems can be solved by “magic bullets” like a well formulated low carbohydrate diet is not science fiction. Indeed, Complexity Theory suggests that “simple solutions to complex problems” almost certainly abound out there.

More Web Resources:

What if “low-carb” really is a magic bullet? What problems could be solved?

Complexity Theory: Simple Solutions to Complex Issues

The Root of All (Or Most) Problems with North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

March 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a recent blog post, we discussed how typical chronic injuries (which necessitate North Carolina Workers’ Compensation) can often stem from surprisingly simple causes.

This is counterintuitive. When a patient presents with many different symptoms, including fatigue, strange blood work, dysfunctional musculature, etc, physicians generally assume that “a lot” of things must have gone wrong for that patient. Not necessarily! In some cases, simple stresses or annoyances can have an accumulated effect. The results can be complicated, but the cause may be simple. (Incidentally, this is one of the precepts of an emerging, exciting branch of science called complexity theory).

Simplicity can yield great and surprising complexity. This concept can help us understand and identify broader problems with the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation system. If you ask any expert or specialist in the field, he or she could probably list off dozens if not hundreds of inefficiencies, inequalities, and general problems with the NC workers’ comp system. Fair enough. But, what if many, if not most, of these issues stemmed from one or two “common root causes.”?

A Candidate Root Cause?

The following theory is as counterintuitive as it is grandiose. But it just might be right.

Many people on workers’ comp suffer from chronic conditions, which make their struggles worse. These conditions include muscular weakness, immune problems, diabetes, obesity/overweight, heart disease, hypertension, etc. We typically think that all these different diseases or physical ailments must stem from different conditions. For instance, many people believe that hypertension results from diets high in sodium. The conventional wisdom will also have you believe that diets rich in saturated fat cause heart disease, that diets with “too many calories” cause obesity, that type II diabetics get diabetes because of “genetic predispositions.” And so forth.

In other words, we don’t see unifying strands. Every piece is seen as different. In order to explain the complex morass of problems that we see in the workers’ comp system, we must hypothesize complex causes. But emerging research powerfully suggests that many of the “chronic diseases” of western civilization (which no doubt cause or contribute to a huge swath of workers’ comps cases in North Carolina) stem from poor dietary choices.

Specifically, we’ve been eating way too many starches and sugars. As a result of this overconsumption of sugar (not salt, not fat, not calories), we’ve seen a spike in all sorts of diseases of western civilization, such as diabetes, immune problems, etc. The idea that certain starches and sugars are toxic is by no means a new idea. Journalists, iconoclastic physicians and activists have been preaching this message for well over a century and a half. Their ranks include: Banting, Pennington, Robert Atkins, Mike Eades, and journalist Gary Taubes.

If these “low carbohydrate” diet activists are correct about their theory, then we must be forced to concede something interesting. The USDA food pyramid guidelines (instituted in the late 1970s – early 80s) – which instructed population to eat less fat and far more carbohydrate – might have actually provoked not only the obesity epidemic but also epidemics of diabetes and metabolic syndrome and who knows what else!

It is an intriguing hypothesis – a kind of grand unified theory of nutrition and diet. But if the hypothesis is right, then maybe many of the seemingly intractable and complicated and unrelated problems that afflict our state (and our state’s workers) all stem from the single common cause: Bad dietary advice.

More Web Resources:

A Grand Unified Theory of Nutrition?

Burden of Obesity and Chronic Disease on Workers’ Compensation System

Simple Solutions to Complex Problems? Are There Magical Fixes for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

February 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Your North Carolina workers’ compensation issues are so diverse (and possibly hard to catalog) that you get a headache just thinking about all the fires that you have put out.

Let’s just surface a few of the deep obstacles holding you back:

•    You’re no longer bringing in income;
•    You are in constant chronic pain;
•    You’re confused about your medical prognosis and probably more than a little scared;
•    You have no idea how long it will take for you to recover your function – or how much of your function you can recover;
•    You may be fighting more with your spouse, family members, friends, and others who want to help you;
•    You may be completely confused and overwhelmed by all the different sources of North Carolina workers’ compensation “wisdom” on the web and elsewhere;
•    You may be locking horns with an uncooperative employer or shady insurance company;
•    You may be dealing with chronic problems that were draining your attention before you got hurt at work (e.g. relationship drama, struggles caring for an elderly parent, financial pressures, an imminent foreclosure, etc.)

It might be worth it to pause from reading this for a second and pick up a pencil or a pen (or open a Word document). Go ahead and type out your own list of problems and concerns associated with your workers’ comp claim.

If you filled out more than a single sheet of paper, you would be in the vast majority of beneficiaries (or want-to-be beneficiaries).
Bottom line: you’re dealing with a lot of complex, diverse and scary “stuff.” And you probably are laboring under the belief that you will need to solve each one of these “fires” separately.

That might be true. But we might be able to borrow from the insights of complexity theory to find a way around your issues. Complexity theory tells us that simple problems can have complex causes; conversely, complex problems can have simple solutions.

Perhaps, then, small changes in perspective, behavior, habit, or thinking can “knock out” many of your chronic problems at once. Here are three speculative “hacks” which can help you get started. These three ideas have a significant empirical and scientific support. Educate yourself by reading the references at the bottom.

1. Mindfulness Meditation

The ancient art of meditation traces its roots across cultures, religions, and continents. Most people associate “meditation” with Eastern traditions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, etc. But meditation like states are often created through other traditions – Catholics who count rosaries, for instance, are engaging in meditative practice. Recent scientific analyses of the effects of meditation on the brain suggest that mindfulness can be a powerful way to treat a vast number of ailments, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychological traumas.

2. Low Carbohydrate Diets

In their bestselling book, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, doctors Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney discuss dozens of carefully controlled studies that suggest that a properly formulated low carbohydrate diet (low in easily digestible starches and sugars, in particular) can essentially cure metabolic syndrome (which includes diabetes, obesity, and many other ailments associated). Essentially, the low-carb diet theorists suggest that obesity and many diseases result from problems with insulin signaling. Low-carb diets normalize insulin levels and thus help people heal from these problems.

3. Strength Training

In their book, The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution, authors Fred Hahn and doctors Mike & Mary Dan Eades debunk many common myths about fitness and exercise. In particular, the authors suggest that individuals who engage in regular, safe muscular strength training can protect themselves and/or heal from a staggering range of problems, including chronic lower back pain, osteoporosis, etc.

Of course, you need a guide to help you synthesize and structure your recovery. A North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm can point you in the right direction and connect you with more powerful resources to succeed.

More Web Resources:

The Benefits of Strength Training for Rehab?

A Simple Solution (low-carb) for a Complex Problem (obesity)?

Is 10% All It Takes for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation to Change?

February 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The behemoth that is the North Carolina workers’ compensation system seems like a tough beast to tame.

We want to smooth out inequities, give employers breaks, enhance trust among insurers, employers and employees, and, most critically, help employees receive a fair piece of the “grand bargain”. It all sounds like a lot of work. And it might be.

But intriguing scientific research suggests that complex systems – such as the North Carolina workers’ compensation system – can be powerfully shaped and molded with “nudges” as opposed to “sledgehammer blows.”

Let’s unpack that for a second. When you think about large systems – systems involving 100s of millions of dollars, thousands of people and employees and insurance companies – we intuitively believe that, to create change, we need lots of top down power. For instance, we need massive top down legislation. We need a huge influx of cash. We need rate cuts. Or rate hikes, depending on your point of view.

While using a sledgehammer can sometimes get the job done, sledgehammer blows are problematic for a few reasons:

1. They require massive amounts of energy and resources, so you can only fire off a very few;

2. Calibrating sledgehammer blows is very difficult. For instance, say you’ve got a gangrenous arm. A doctor saw off your arm at the shoulder to save you. You’ve cured the gangrene, but you’ve done it in a very sloppy way. The gangrene is gone, but we have no idea why it grew in the first place or what we can do in the future to fix/prevent it. We burn through a lot of our resources needlessly.

3. Hard to replicate. A hammer blow can work one time for one type of problem. But what happens when another problem emerges (and problems always do emerge)?

An Alternative to the Hammer Blow – The Chisel Or The Nudge

Another way to change complex systems is far less cost and energy intensive.

The other paradigm involves using nudges or slight changes in pressure and perspective, applied over extended periods of time. For instance, here is a good metaphor to illustrate the power of nudging. It’s easy to give someone a bruise on his arm by punching him on his arm hard. It is also, however, possible to cause a bruise by putting slight but constant pressure on the arm for an extended period of time. You know how much it hurts if you sit in a chair in the same exact position for too long. The point is: we can nudge easily, without investing a lot of time and energy. We can also run far more experiments to try to nudge the system in the right direction.

Whereas we can only maybe fire one or two or three cannonballs a year at our North Carolina workers’ compensation problem; we can try hundreds of different nudges to get the system to come into line with our values and vision and expectations.

Master business theoretician Jim Collins discusses this kind of resourceful thinking in his recent bestseller, Great by Choice. Collins argues that enduring systems (be they giant companies or institutions like North Carolina’s workers’ compensation) can be shaped and molded most effectively through a process that he calls “Fire Bullets, then Cannonballs.” In other words, conduct small little experiments and try to reach your goals (bullets). Once you are able to “connect” with the bullets, then you fire a cannonball after the bullets to get a massive effect.

This approach doesn’t guarantee success, but it makes success much more likely.

More Web Resources:

Fire bullet, then cannonballs

Small Shift Yields Massive Results Over Time

Being in the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Minority

February 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

A majority of people who funnel through the North Carolina workers’ compensation system struggle, often for years, with problems ranging from financial pressures to ongoing medical “situations” to problems with employers and insurance companies to personal problems at home.

In other words, it’s no fun to be in the majority of North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiaries.

You don’t have to be. In fact, most beneficiaries can get a lot more out of their experience as an injured/sick worker than they realize… just by bucking the conventional way of doing things and connecting with powerful resources, like a competent North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm (instead of just “going it alone”).

Separating yourself from the “crowd going off the cliff” is easier said than done. Here are some best practices to bear in mind as a proud member of the productive and successful minority:

•    Think positively and realistically.

Embrace what business management guru Jim Collins once called the “Genius of the And”. It’s good to be clear about where you are. It’s also good to be optimistic. But most people think that in order to be realistic, you also must be a pessimist. Nonsense. It is possible to see your situation clearly and to think positively.

•    Get help sooner than later.

Your perspective on your workers’ comp situation is almost certainly less and ideal. You have your own biases, negative emotions, and the lack of experience dealing with rehab and with recalcitrant insurers and employers. The longer you wait, the more your problems could stack up. Get help to break out of your ossified ways of thinking and acting.

•    Be. Do. Have.

Yes, your life is full of stress. Yes, you desperately need money. Yes, you are confused and scared about your career prospects and even about how you will feed your family and pay your medical bills. If you wait until some distant, undefined point of future to “relax” and “enjoy life,” you may never get there. In fact, the history is replete with ample examples of hugely successful, healthy, famous people who are miserable. Likewise, you can find examples of people in desperate poverty or people suffering terrible illnesses who managed to find joy in life. Don’t wait to “heal” from your workers’ comp problems. “Be” now. It will help you “have” later.

•    Take responsibility.

Human beings have a deep need for control. You may feel like you are out of control right now. You may feel crushed under a heap of “have tos” and “shoulds.” Recognize that giving up choice leads to pain and suffering. As psychologist Marshall Rosenberg once pointed out, the Nazi guards at concentration camps used a bureaucratic language called Amtssprache to justify their bad deeds. This language washed their hands of responsibility. It was full of things like “I have to” and “it’s orders” and “I must.” Once you surrender your autonomy, you surrender your humanity. Take responsibility for what’s happening in your life and for the actions you take next.

More Web Resources:

Amtssprache– the language of no autonomy.

The Overpowering Minority

Change Takes Time… Or Does It? North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Transformation

February 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you are sick or injured – or if someone you love and care about needs North Carolina Workers’ Compensation – then you probably fear that you’re “in this” for the long haul. The problems with your health, finances, and career situation are not going to go away overnight. So you better get used to them. It’s going to be a long, hard grind. It’s going to take months or maybe even years.

Or perhaps positive change can come swifter than you realize!

That may sound like a pollyannaish statement. After all, many workers’ comp and workplace injuries are anything but simple to manage. In fact, somebody might even take affront to the suggestion that your injury or illness could be easily resolved. There is a subtlety here. Workers’ comp problems can last a long time and can lead to the “grind” we talked about earlier.

At the same time, however, when change happens, if often happens blindingly quickly. Ask famous writers, celebrities, and politicians about how they succeeded. You will come across a surprising pattern. Often, a person struggles for years, even decades, before a “lucky break” changes everything. Most people think in terms of “how can I make that lucky break happen for me?” For instance, they will try to win the lottery or hope for some other windfall.

But this way of thinking about your problems may not be particularly useful. In fact, the “lucky breaks” and the “swift changes” that follow do not occur spontaneously. They are nurtured and prepared by years of practice and – by consistently making small positive decisions and changes to behavior.

Once there is enough positive momentum going on, efforts can catch fire rapidly. It’s kind of like lighting a match. If you rub the match against the surface nothing will happen. As you rub faster and faster – still nothing. But once you hit some kind of a tipping point – FWOOM – the match suddenly bursts into flame and releases massive amounts of heat.

Likewise, so goes the transition from struggle to success. You struggle, struggle, struggle. Then one day, you “catch fire” and success seems inevitable instead of a distant dream.

The moral here is two-fold:

1. Avoid thinking in terms of “grand, one time fixes” to your North Carolina workers’ compensation problems.

Single decisions that you make – single behaviors or habits or thoughts that you have – are probably far less crucial than your overall habits and rituals. Instead of focusing on wiping out your problems with a single “smart decision” or a one-time phone call with a mentor, focus on winning the marathon.

2. Change, when it happens, can be swift and sudden.

For instance, say that you’ve lost the ability to walk effectively due to a knee injury you contracted at work. You might go through rehab for six to eight months, during which time you slowly but surely regain some capacity in your knee. Then one day, you notice that your knee “feels fine” and you’ve totally regained function. It took the six to eight months of rehab to make the healing happen. But once it did happen, it happened quickly.

Begin the path of good habits, good relationships, and positive outcomes by connecting with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

The Revolution, When it Comes, is Often Swift

Tipping Point

Why Do Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Struggles Seem so Gosh Darn Complicated?

February 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

On the surface, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation system is pretty simply set up. Yes, there are many rules and regulations. Yes, the nature and extent of your injury/sickness can play a key role in the structure of your benefits. Yes, you can run adrift of problems with a mean or cranky employer or an insurance company that acts in an aggressive manner.

But all that said, applying for workers’ compensation is substantially less difficult than rocket science or brain surgery…or at least it should be.

So why do so many beneficiaries (or want to be beneficiaries) endure so much trouble?

Even well-educated, tenacious folks who commit time and energy to really understanding the system can run aground of horrific problems. And these problems are not trivial, either. If you approach your workers’ comp struggles incorrectly, you may wind up with less than fair benefits. For instance, in a best-case scenario, perhaps you could receive $500 a week. In a less than ideal scenario, you could end up with $300 a week. That’s a difference of $200 a week – $800 a month, nearly $10,000 over a year. That’s a substantial amount of money to “lose,” especially if you are already swamped by debt, medical bills and unexpected expenses. In other words, there’s plenty of incentive to do workers’ comp “right.”

Perhaps many people struggle not because they lack for motivation, discipline, or intelligence but rather because they underestimate the complexity of their challenges.

In other words, they have been conditioned to think that their problems are simpler than they actually are. You would never presume to be able to understand — deeply “grok” — the workings of a jet engine or nuclear physics by just reading a few pamphlets or chapters in an elementary textbook. Why, then, should you presume that you would understand the intricacies and subtleties of workers’ compensation after just some basic, superficial study?

The rejoinder, of course, is that the level of complexity is radically different.

But is it really?

Think about any great skill. You’ll realize that you need to dedicate a rather profound amount of time in practice (ideally, guided by a mentor) to achieve any degree of mastery. This doesn’t just apply to complicated tasks like engineering engines or playing the violin, but to basically any human task, such as walking (babies need a lot of practice), handwriting (how long did it take you to learn how to write your name in cursive?) and so forth. In fact, journalists like Malcolm Gladwell and Geoffrey Colvin have argued that people need 10,000 hours of practice on a specific skill before they can achieve mastery.

Fortunately, you don’t need to “master” workers’ comp on your own. You could instead partner with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation law firm to take advantage of someone else’s skill, practice and mastery to achieve your ends much faster and with more certainty.

More Web Resources:

10,000 Hours to Mastery

An example of how we underestimate complexity (from the world of diet and nutrition)

Time for a Career Change after Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Injury?

February 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The injury/illness that you suffered at work – and that’s led to a desire to file a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim – altered your physical, mental, and spiritual goals in ways that you’re probably only beginning to understand.

As you grapple with the manifold and developing challenges, your thoughts will occasionally turn to questions like:

•    What will I do once I’m healthy?
•    How much function will I regain?
•    What will it be like to go back to my old job if I make a substantial claim against the company? Will it be weird?
•    Will my injury, accident, or illness change my career goals? If so, what should I do about this?

It’s important to get thoughts like these out on paper, so you don’t have them clanging around in your head, causing you stress.

Once you’ve written your worries down on paper, try this useful exercise:

1. Spend about 5 or 10 minutes on each question (you can also generate your own questions) and brainstorm answers.

Don’t constrain your thinking. Just spend some time writing free form. Your subconscious will likely pour out its deepest secrets onto the paper for you.

2. Give yourself a break. Come back to these questions tomorrow or the day after tomorrow and do the exercise again.

Once you’ve generated a lot of ideas, you’re going to see patterns in your thinking. For instance, maybe you kept writing things to the effect of, “I really need to find a different job, I don’t want to do this kind of work, and I physically can’t do it anymore.” If so, then really take that message to heart and brainstorm ways around the constraint.

3. Probe and ask questions to solve your problems.

Are there other jobs that you would like to do? Can you apply your training to other jobs? Can you make a vertical or horizontal career move? Compile the questions that stem from these answers, and then brainstorm answers just like you did in the first exercise.

4. For help dealing with your logistical and legal battles, connect with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

Brainstorm Exercise to Help You Find Root Causes

Asking Yourself Why: Again and Again

Being a Spouse of Someone on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation: Part 2 – Solutions

January 31, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a post earlier this week, we discussed how spouses of North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiaries (or want-to-be beneficiaries) are often subject to stress, overwhelm, and sudden surges of responsibility. Whether you’re a secondary family earner now charged with the burden of working more hours while simultaneously caring for your sick or injured spouse, or you are a partner who is confused about the sudden and dramatic negative changes in your sick/injured loved one’s behavior and attitude, you need actionable solutions.

Here are some principles to help you solve your problems and get the help you need.

1.    Behavior/attitudinal shifts are often just the tip of the iceberg.

Whether you notice that you are more moody, your spouse is more depressed, or your teenagers or even your family dog is acting “funny,” you’re probably only paying attention to the tip of the iceberg. You need to probe deeper to find out the root cause of what’s really troubling your family and what’s really pulling everyone’s chain.

One interesting way to get at the root cause is to use the theory of constraints. Basically, you take the most prominent issue at hand and you drill down to the root cause by asking “why?” multiple times. For instance, you may make an observation like: “My sick husband is staying in his room way too much and refusing to help with chores around the house, even though he is physically capable of doing so.” You then ask why this is the case. Your answer might be that he is depressed because he’s unable to provide for his family. You then ask WHY he might be depressed about being unable to provide for his family. Your second answer might be because he values being productive and contributing to his family’s welfare.

Drilling down this way helps you discover the root cause of your problems, and it can also be a wonderful way to get back in touch with your compassionate side, if you’ve been feeling exasperated. After all, take a look at our theoretical example. Just asking “why” two times has led us from a rather despicable-seeming behavior to a noble and valiant root cause of that behavior.

2.    Consider the fact that the problem might be medical/biochemical.

Especially if your injured spouse was hurt due to chemical exposure or a head injury, the shift in behavior or attitude might have nothing to do with the psychology and everything to do with physiology and neurology. If you suspect anything along those lines, seek immediate medical attention.

3.    Make your life simple by connecting with resources to solve your problems.

Now is the time to lean on friends and family members to help with the simple chores that are giving you stress. Now is the time to get in touch with financial planners to help you and your family reconcile with your new financial reality. If you’ve been having trouble with your benefits, now is the time to connect with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm to identify best practices and protect your rights under the law.

More Web Resources:

Theory of Constraints – The Current Reality Tree

Is the Change in Behavior Psychological or Physical?

Depressed by the State of Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case?

January 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You have been struggling long and mightily with your North Carolina workers’ compensation case.

•    Perhaps you suffered a slip and fall at a machining plant facility in Raleigh a year-and-a-half ago, and you’re still managing a “bum” leg and knee.
•    Maybe your spouse suffered a traumatic brain injury after he inhaled residue of an explosive fire in his North Carolina car crash.
•    As if the accident or event wasn’t disturbing enough, you have since had to deal with insurance company shenanigans, bureaucratic incompetence, and a totally uncooperative employer.
•    Meanwhile, you need to sustain your focus on getting adequate compensation while dealing with all of life’s other challenges, such as raising your family, managing your dwindling finances, and dealing with the personal drama in your life.

It’s not surprising that many people in the throes of North Carolina workers’ compensation struggle also suffer from depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

There is no easy fix. However, probably just hearing all of your problems laid out like this makes you feel a little bit relieved. In other words, now you know that that sense of depression and overwhelm has a real source: there are real-world, root causes of your discontent.

On the other hand, just labeling the problem is not going to dispatch it!

To that end, here are three tools useful for wrangling with life’s uncertainties, meeting financial and organizational challenges, and cultivating the inner resources necessary to see your case to a positive conclusion:

1. Check out David Allen’s book Getting Things Done

Widely hailed as the most respected “productivity guru” of the twenty-first century (by the likes of Time magazine, Wired, and other big publications), Allen teaches a philosophy of personal management that involves identifying “what’s true now” in your life. GTD uses sophisticated processes to help you manage everything from clearing your email inboxes to codifying and reviewing your purpose on the planet.

2. Practice mindfulness meditation

Powerful scientific research now shows that regular meditators (30 to 45 minutes a day) experience a profound reduction in stress, increase their general level of happiness, and enjoy other health and wellness improvements.

3. Connect with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

Your workers’ comp case will almost certainly be less overwhelming and terrifying if you have the appropriate team to guide you, help you make the right choices, and avoid the mishaps and false beliefs that hamper so many hurt and sick workers out there.

More Web Resources:

Summary of Research on the Benefits of Meditation

How to Get Started with Getting Things Done

Being a Spouse of Someone on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation

January 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

This North Carolina workers’ compensation blog often focuses on the needs, concerns, and fears of hurt and sick workers, and we will continue to surface and address the obstacles that hold workers back.

But most workers don’t operate in a vacuum.

They rely on friends and family members to nurture them, guide them, administer medical care, and, occasionally, financially support them. Many family members of beneficiaries (or would-be beneficiaries) have powerful concerns of their own that may not be getting addressed effectively. In a two-part blog series, we’re going to talk about what it’s like to be the spouse or partner of someone on North Carolina workers’ compensation. We will provide tips, resources, and strategies for you to manage your family’s crisis more effectively and compassionately.

Examples of why being a spouse of someone on workers’ comp can be so difficult:

1.    Sudden temperament changes.

When someone gets hurt or sick at work, everything changes all at once. A confident, proud, and supportive husband can “turn on a dime” and start acting ungrateful and even abusive. The cause of this Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation might be the injury itself, or it might be the psychological trauma of the injury. If your husband was exposed to a nasty chemical slurry at his factory, for instance, the chemicals might have had neurological effects that altered his brain.

2.    Sudden shift of family responsibilities.

Perhaps your wife was the major wage earner for your family. But she suffered severe chronic repetitive stress injury due to her office work. Now she is unable to provide a paycheck for the family. AND she is also unable to offer help with child care and chores around the house. The whirlwind shifting of family roles stresses everyone in the family, including the children.

3.    The chaos of the transition, in and of itself, creates family strife.

In the wake of a workplace injury or illness, you may be shocked and dismayed to discover that your children are fighting more or getting into more trouble at school. Perhaps you or your spouse is getting sick more often. Chaos and constant change can disrupt even the most capable and level-headed family members. Moreover, you may not know where all of these hazards are “coming from.” It may feel like you’ve just hit a jackpot of bad luck. But instability, in and of itself, is often enough to hamper immune systems, challenge even highly functional relationships, and even lead to biochemical and hormonal changes.

If you or someone in your family needs help with a workers’ comp issue – dealing with an insurance company that’s not playing fair, fighting back against a callous employer, etc. – you need stability, guidance, and a return to control. A North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm will help you put the pieces together and get back on track.

More Web Resources:

How Instability In and Of Itself, Creates Stress

Being a Spouse of Someone Who is Injured

All the Noise About North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Is Making Your Head Hurt

January 18, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Perhaps you are seeking workmen’s compensation in North Carolina because you burned your arms and hands during a factory explosion or fire. Or maybe you suffered a more mundane sickness or injury, such as broken bones and lacerations during a delivery truck accident.

Irrespective of how you got hurt and where you are in the North Carolina workers’ compensation process, you’re almost certainly suffering from information overload.

Truth be told, the web offers more information about how workers’ comp works, what you should and shouldn’t do as a potential claimant, etc., than you could possibly read in a month. During your research, you may stumble on free e-books about workmen’s compensation, free advice to the effect of “12 things you must do,” or “seven massive mistakes that can ruin your workers’ comp,” and other loud, garish, attention-grabbing headlines.

It’s all very confusing and very difficult to filter.

Marketers are getting better at adapting their persuasive techniques to the Internet. This, it’s becoming more and more difficult to discriminate between materials created by a reputable North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm and materials created by a slick marketer who doesn’t understand the relevant laws or processes.

Why is this a problem?

It’s a problem because hurt and sick workers may put their trust in firms or people who lack the expertise necessary to get the powerful results they need. Unfortunately, there is no easy rule of thumb you can use to filter out irrelevant information and filter in important information.

Take heart in knowing that the info overload problem affects every person in every station of life – not just hurt and sick workers in North Carolina. Everyone online has a microphone – a blog, a YouTube channel, a website, etc. – so the web has gotten almost deafeningly loud.

So, while there may not be a quick fix, if you just simply recognize that you are operating in this chaotic, noisy environment, you might begin to take notice of the chaos and develop your own systems and processes to filter information.

Chances are you already have these systems in place, but you probably have yet to name them. For instance, perhaps you always trust one friend with great restaurant recommendations. Or perhaps you trust another friend with awesome book recommendations. The key is to develop your network and your ability – your “spidey sense,” if you will – to navigate the massive information hive that is the 2012 web.

With enhanced screening abilities, you will make better, more accurate use of information about workmen’s comp in North Carolina.

More Web Resources:

The State of the Web: 2012

Info Overload Solutions

Is the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation System Fundamentally Fair?

January 16, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Perhaps you have been on workers compensation in North Carolina due to a back injury, car accident, or explosive disaster at a Raleigh manufacturing company. Or maybe you and your spouse are just starting to explore programs like workmen’s comp in North Carolina. In any event, you are likely less concerned with how this system came to be — and whether or not it’s structured fairly or appropriately — than you are with getting results and rebuilding your life.

Fair enough.

However, if you operate unaware of the structural flaws in the system, you could be at a disadvantage. The workers’ comp system is, in many ways, an historical artifact. Workmen’s comp arose as a kind of “grand bargain” between employers and business owners in the late 1900s and early twentieth century. Basically, workers hurt on the job surrendered their right to sue employers in exchange for guaranteed benefits. Many of the original governing principles remain intact today. But the artifacts in the system are neither perfect, nor perfectly designed for the modern era.

For instance, legal issues aside, are the rules regarding mandatory workers’ comp really fair for employers – and for employees? Are the evaluations of injuries appropriate or not? Basically, you can examine any facet of the system, and you might come away thinking that the system is archaic and based on tradition instead of on logic.

Many of the rules, regulations, and laws are, indeed, arbitrary. They may have emerged as political compromises. Or they may stem from bureaucratic decisions made decades ago. The North Carolina workers’ compensation system is certainly not alone in this regard. Practically every government benefits program suffers from the same kind “arbitrariness” corrupting its structure.

The question for beneficiaries (or people who want to become beneficiaries) is: Given the uneven playing field and potential “unfairness” built into the system, how can you make the best decisions to protect your rights, speed up your recovery, and prevent more powerful players (e.g. an insurance company or your employer) from manipulating the system?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every claimant has different needs and constraints.

That’s why it’s very helpful for claimants to work with an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm – to understand what you need to pay attention to and, perhaps more importantly, to understand what you can safely ignore. You need to appreciate these distinctions as you rehabilitate, apply for and utilize your compensation, and redesign your life so you can get back to work and back to better health.

More Web Resources:

Life is Unfair: Examples

Dealing with Life’s Inherent Unfairness

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lessons: Getting over the Fear of Asking for Help

January 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you are crippled by a welding injury, hurt in a car accident, or tormented by a chronic musculoskeletal problem, you’ve come to recognize you need North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your care and time off of work.

On the other hand, you detest the idea of becoming dependent on the North Carolina workers’ compensation system. You’re proud of your ability to provide for your family and for yourself. And you suddenly vowed to do whatever it takes to beat this injury or illness and get back to earning a living ASAP.

This is an admirable goal. However, you might want to reconsider your attitude toward asking for and getting help. So many North Carolinians are trained to believe that they need to fix their own problems. This attitude, in many ways, is of American culture. Individualism is one of the founding ideals of our nation. Many workers actually hurt themselves because they are so focused on being the best – and providing standout contributions – that they pushed themselves over the edge and into injury or illness.

Obviously, the fighting spirit has its place. But it’s a double-edge sword. And there are times when team work is essential, where support is vital, and where “going it alone” is the metaphorical equivalent of walking off a cliff.

Of course, the question of whether to get help (or how to get help) is not an either/or proposition. It’s not as if you have to choose between “helping yourself” and getting help from others. Indeed, the most effective people seem to be those who do both simultaneously – who demonstrate a tremendous amount of self-reliance and initiative, but also look to a trusted advisor for help and insight.

There is another lesson here: You want to be choosy about your advisors, and you want to be purposeful about how you leverage their input. For instance, if you are sick with a rare musculoskeletal disorder, you want to find a physician who has excellent experience – and a demonstrable track record – of treating that particular type of injury. Likewise, if you were hurt in an accident or made sick at work, you may find it extraordinarily useful to talk to a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm about what options you might be able to leverage, what resources are out there for you, and what your ultimate outcome may look like.

The bottom line: If you’re in pain, or if you’re confused, understand that you don’t have to struggle alone with these complicated, emotionally difficult issues. Dedicate yourself to finding and utilizing reputable, trusted resources to get you to your goals and help you solve your problems.

More Web Resources:

Why Is It Difficult for Some People to Ask for Help?

The Power of Mentorship

Strategy for Avoiding Re-injury after Return from North Carolina Workers’ Compensation

January 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you got sick or injured at work – whether you typed your way to carpal tunnel syndrome working an executive job in Raleigh’s Research Triangle or you screwed up your lower back engaging in agricultural work out in the far west of the state – you likely need North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your damages and medical expenses (and possibly more) while you get treated and go through rehab.

The process of obtaining these benefits can be complicated and – it’s easy to get struck in red tape, tripped up by insurance company nonsense, and even challenged by your company. This is why many claimants often benefit greatly from talking with North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

But irrespective of your legal and medical struggles, the time will come (hopefully) when you will heal well enough to return to work in some capacity.

This can be a dangerous time, indeed.

After all, stereotypes of North Carolina workers’ compensation beneficiaries to the contrary, most injured workers desperately want to get back to being productive. You might be tempted (or even pressured) to stretch beyond your physical capacity. If you push yourself too hard after your injury, you risk re-injury, new injuries, and other setbacks – physical, emotional, and financial – which may make your journey infinitely harder.

How do you know, if you are on the verge of re-injury?

This is an important question, and many hurt and injured workers don’t pay enough attention to it. After all, when we “push ourselves” we often do subconsciously. To catch overexertion in the process requires tremendous concentration and mindfulness.

But there is a shortcut. You could journal your work experience. Every day after you come home from work, discuss your work day in detail in your journal. Pay attention to how you felt before, during, and after a particularly strenuous task. Did the tasks stress your injury? Did you “feel it” hours or days after exertion? The more you analyze how specific actions impact your healing, the more effectively you “catch” and prevent problem activities. As any successful doctor or healer will tell you, the best healing comes with the most accurate knowledge. Take the time – it could be only 5 to 10 minutes a day – to jot down your work and pain experiences. You might find it invaluable not only as a tool to prevent re-injury, but also as a means to solve other nagging problems in your life.

For help with a specific claims issue, connect with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

Becoming More Mindful of Unconscious Habits

The Perils of Re-Injury

 
 

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