Topic: Workers’ Compensation Providers

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.

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

March 14, 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 and employers 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

January 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Workplace injuries in Charlotte create a catastrophic domino effect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013 Goals for North Carolina Workman’s Comp Claimants

December 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The takeaway message is somewhat counterintuitive:

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

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

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.

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.

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.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation and the Quest for Perfection

October 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Denied to Dancer Shot at Strip Club

September 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s a rather heartbreaking North and South Carolina workers’ compensation case.

LeAndra Lewis, a 19-year-old exotic dancer, was hit by stray gunfire during a gun battle at Two Notch Road strip club on June 23, 2008. The bullets injured a number of her internal organs, forcing her to have a kidney removed, and permanently damaging her uterus so badly that doctors no long believe she can have children. In addition, the gunfire scarring has made it impossible for her to get work as an exotic dancer.

At the age of 19, she was earning over $80,000 a year, dancing 5 or 6 nights every week. Lewis filed a workers’ compensation claim against the strip club, but both an appellate panel and a commissioner denied her claim because she was not technically an employee. Her appeal was also denied, because the club never paid her money (she only earned money from tips). Plus, she was not told how to dance. In short, she was considered to be an independent contractor, not an employee, and thus she could not collect per the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Lewis’ experience sadly “rhymes” with the experiences of many people who seek workers’ compensation in North Carolina, South Carolina, and elsewhere. The line between employee and independent contractor can be hard to discern, in certain cases. You might have been under the impression that you were an employee – and protected as one – when in fact you lacked such protection. Or your employer might deny responsibility to get out of paying workers’ compensation, when in fact you should by law be entitled to benefits.

Unpacking your rights and responsibilities under the law is not something you should try to do by yourself! The experienced workers’ compensation law professionals at DeMayo Law can walk you through your options and help you understand what you might be able to do to collect benefits. They can also help you make smarter decisions going forward with respect to your medical care, finances, and career options.

You’ve been through the ringer. Now, you need straight talk and a strategic, customized plan to get to where you want to be, efficiently, and with as little drama as possible.

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.

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

June 26, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Progress in Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case – Incremental Improvement

June 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

As someone who has been struggling with a Charlotte workplace accident — someone who needs workers’ compensation and potentially other help to manage your life — you are a bit lost and confused right now.

You are vaguely aware that there is a gap between your current reality and what you would like to achieve with respect to your benefits, your healing, your future employment situation, and your financial plans. But you haven’t identified any concrete, methodologically rigorous plans for what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and who might be able to help you with it.

The power of continuous improvement

There is an old joke that’s beautiful in its simplicity and its visual power. It goes like this:

Q: “How do you eat an elephant?”

A: “One bite at a time.”

This soft hearted joke holds a powerful lesson. It suggests that, when life dumps massive and diverse problems on our shoulders, we do not need to shrug all the problems off all at once. We all probably intuitively accept this. But when we get in the thick of dealing with a disaster, we tend to lose perspective. As a result, we then wind up stressing over the “gap” between what we want and what we can achieve.

In other words, we recognize that we are not where want to be, and we can’t get there soon enough, so this dissonance creates mental stress!

How do we deal with this stress?

If you read self-help books or talk to productivity experts, there’s a common response to questions like this: just get into gear. Start moving towards your goals.

In other words, even if you don’t have a solid plan, GO. You will develop a plan as you go along. If you just sit on the sidelines, and you try to “plan everything to death,” you are liable to organize yourself into a feeling of non-control. That sounds paradoxical. But what you essentially end up doing is creating a bureaucracy for yourself that impedes your progress.

You need to free up how you maneuver.

So whether your first step is to call your aunt to get a referral for an orthopedist, so that you can check out your injured leg; or your first step is to connect with the team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo to talk about your North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits; or your first step is to simply have a bowl of soup and take a nap so that you can think better, get into some kind of positive action.

Just remember this one idea: keep moving towards your goal, and don’t worry, because you will be able to redefine what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it as you go.

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.

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

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 and North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost: Part 2 – Possible Solutions

April 12, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a blog post earlier this week, we discussed a piece in the Charlotte Observer about employer related struggles regarding North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance.

Although state law requires most companies to purchase workers’ comp insurance or at least certify that their businesses are flush enough to self insure, 30,000+ companies lack insurance, according to an analysis done by News & Observer.

This “underinsurance” problem creates a crisis for the entire North Carolina workers’ compensation system. Employers who break this law may get hit with a Class H felony charge, which can lead to jail time. Hurt workers, meanwhile, may wind up without recourse to pay for lost wages, time off of work, medical care, and beyond. And the underinsurance problem creates stresses on the entire system – upping the workload for the North Carolina Industrial Commission, causing insurance related headaches, and on and on.

It would be great if we could all sit down and try to figure out some solutions. To that end, here are some speculative ideas:

#1. Make it easier, less stressful, and less expensive for companies to purchase workers’ comp coverage.

Employers often claim that they simply lack the money or resources or time to shop and buy policies. If we can lower the bar for them (we can experiment with various mechanisms for doing so), then we can likely reduce some of the underinsurance problem.

#2. Improve employer education.

Most employers do not like to contemplate worst case scenarios: a worker getting sick at the shop or on the industrial floor, for instance. But employers need to understand not only the risks for themselves and for their businesses but also the risks to their employees.

#3. Employees need to investigate and speak up.

If you’re an employee, you want to be able to trust that your employer is doing the right thing and following proper procedures. And while legally, your employer is responsible, employers are human beings too, and they can make mistakes. As the old Cold War saying goes: trust, but verify. If you’re a new employee at a construction job, for instance, and your new boss tells you that he is bonded and insured and licensed and everything, why not go ahead and ask to see proof? The more informed you are about your own welfare, the more protected you will be, and the less likely you will need the services of a qualified North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

Charlotte Observer’s Piece on the Consequences of When Employers Dodge Workers’ Comp Costs

Speaking up for yourself as an employee

North Carolina Workers Compensation: A Powerful Tool, But Only One Asset in Your Arsenal

April 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your husband dislocated his knee working a construction job in Raleigh, your son broke his back in a fork lift accident, or you got exposed to hazardous chemicals at an industrial job site, you need North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your treatment, time off, rehab, and other costs. And, certainly, workers’ comp benefits can go a long way towards helping you and your family meet expenses and keep your budget in the black.

However, hurt workers – and their families – need to think about their benefits in the context of the larger financial picture. Yes, it would be great if your employer and/or insurance company co-operated fully with you and compensated you fairly and immediately. And yes, it will be a tragedy if you have to struggle for months or years to get treated fairly by the system. But your benefits – even in a best case scenario – only constitute one thread in the tapestry of your financial life.

Being financially prudent can mean two things: penny pinching and expanding your assets.

Penny pinching and income boosting, in and of themselves, are less useful alone than they are together. To that end, here are a few ideas to help you boost your revenue stream and cut costs to stay in the black, no matter what happens with your North Carolina workers’ compensation case.

•    Ask your spouse to create more of an income stream;

•    Cut out extravagant entertainment options, such as pricy TV packages and cell phone/video streaming packages;

•    Go over your budget with a fine toothed comb for a month to see where you and your family are spending “too much” – the more granular your audit, the more you can see ultra specifically where you are spending (and potentially wasting) your money.

•    Consider downsizing. Instead of driving down to Florida for spring break, consider creating a fun stay at home “staycation.” If your mortgage payments are getting out of control, consider moving to a smaller home or even an apartment, while your family gets its financial balance.

•    Avoid racking up too much credit card debt by limiting impulse purchases. Some families even find it useful to make purchases only in cash (to avoid getting into credit card trouble), although that kind of system creates its own accounting headaches and also leaves you more vulnerable to problems like theft, etc.

•    Get help immediately with any benefits questions by connecting with an experienced and client trusted North Carolina workers compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

How to increase your revenue stream

How to clip your home budget

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Downward Spiral

March 24, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

A hurt worker who gets on North Carolina workers’ compensation can inadvertently wind up on a rapid treadmill to disaster.

It has been said that those who are not moving towards success are moving towards failure. There is no such thing as “standing still” in your life. If you are not making progress towards a goal – towards a better life, or more fulfilling life, a healthier body, etc., then you are in effect moving the other way. This may be a hard pill to swallow. But it’s a subtle idea. Moving towards bigger goals in life – healing from a North Carolina workers’ compensation accident, for instance, does not mean that every step along the way must be positive. You can (and will) experience setbacks. But a setback is different from a wrong direction.

Think about hiking from the North Carolina coast to the mountains. Sure, there might be ups and downs along the way in either direction. But in one case, you are methodically headed towards a higher point, and in the other case you are methodically headed towards a lower point. The trouble is that, if you just look at where you are now — or where you are going in the immediate future or where you’ve come from in the immediate past — you might be mistaken about your overall trajectory. It might look like you are headed towards the proverbial mountains when you are actually headed towards the ocean but just going over a bump. And vice versa.

So how do you know which trajectory you are on? How do you know whether you are moving towards recovering from your injury, stabilizing yourself financially and emotionally, rebuilding your career… or doing the opposite?

The short answer is: “your perspective is limited, so you cannot ever really know for sure.”

But this doesn’t mean you can’t do intelligence gathering and find more objective perspectives. A North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, for instance, can keep you on a positive trajectory as far as your compensation quest goes and can also connect you with other resources to deal with the other problems in your life, such as financial planning for your family, coping with the emotional ramifications of the injury or the loss of your productivity, and so forth.

Get on and stay on a positive trajectory.

One key is to simply acknowledge the reality that we are either moving towards success or moving towards failure in every area of our lives. Just that epiphany – held in the mind – alone is often enough to kick start people towards adopting behaviors and habits — and connect with resources they need — to halt the downward spiral and get their lives back on track.

More Web Resources:

You are Either Moving towards Success or Failure

The Difference between Short-Term Pain and Long-Term Gain

Simple Causes, Complex Problems (A Guide for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Applicants)

March 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Disaster has struck at your workplace. You now need North Carolina Workman’s Compensation to pay staggeringly high medical bills, supplement your family’s income during your time off (and who knows how long that will last), and generally keep you moving (perhaps limping) towards your long-term financial goals.

How did you end up here?

Two classes of events can lead people to get hurt or sick at work: Acute and chronic.

Acute Workplace Injuries

These are the more “obvious” injuries. They include things like:

•    You fall off a loading dock and break your leg in three places;
•    You inhale aerosolized toxic chemicals while working in a chemical refinery and suffer immediate burning and lung damage;
•    You suffer a massive concussion and blood loss after a careless driver t-bones your delivery truck or rental car while you are en route to a conference;
•    You get into an altercation with a co-worker, and he beans you with a rock or a fist.

Acute accidents/illnesses are relatively easy to trace. In other words, you can identify the cause of the illness/injury pretty easily and with great certainty. The injury also happens across a very short span of time (seconds, minutes).

Chronic Workplace Injuries

Examples might include:

•    You develop carpal tunnel syndrome or another typing injury after working as a secretary for 13 years for a bank in the Research Triangle;
•    You develop fibromyalgia or type II diabetes or some other ailment which degrades your performance at work and, possibly, ultimately, prevents you from doing your job at all;
•    You suffer a lung ailment, skin problem, or some other medical concern after being exposed to environmentally dubious conditions at your workplace.

Chronic ailments are far difficult to “trace.” In other words, it’s harder to put together an argument or a story that connects workplace exposure or conditions with your illness/injury. Chronic problems by definition develop over long swaths of time. As a result, you cannot as easily connect the “causative event” with your injury, since so many different factors might have contributed to your problems.

That being said, many workplace injuries – even chronic, complicated ones – stem from simple causes done repeatedly over time. If someone hit you over the head with a hammer, you would develop a fractured skull, contusion, bleeding, swelling, etc. You could clearly say “the hammer blow caused all these problems.” But if someone taps your head with a hammer softly, repeatedly for a few weeks, and you suffer subtle, long term neuronal damage, now your case is harder. You can no longer say “the cause is still simple. All of my injuries and woe stem from the simple cause of the hammer blow.”

The moral here is: Your problems may seem complicated and not interrelated. But don’t be so sure. Even if you have a host of ailments right now, a single prominent chronic stressor in your life or at work might be responsible for a vast number of them.

A North Carolina Workers’ Compensation law firm can help you drill down to discover the root cause (or causes) of your problems and help you get compensated.

More Web Resources:

Example of a Simple Cause Leading to a Complex Problem.

Chronic Versus Acute Injuries

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

Your Office Vending Machine: The Source of Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Woes?

May 3, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Experts who study North Carolina workers’ compensation issues are constantly trying to puzzle out why accidents, injuries, and illnesses happen at work and how these catastrophes can be prevented. The thinking is, if policy analysts can suss out the root causes, we can collectively reduce injury rates and sickness rates everywhere from the Research Triangle to the far West of NC.

So what ARE the major root causes of workplace related injuries and illnesses, and can they be effectively treated with smart policy?

Typically, we focus on improving safety of equipment and machinery; limiting number of hours worked (too many hours leads to fatigue and worker error); boosting worker education (poor training leads to safety catastrophes); and limiting repetitive work (repetitive labor leads to soft tissue injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome).

But sometimes it helps to think out “outside the box” and look at other potential root causes of worker pain. According to a very provocative article in the April 19 issue of the New York Times magazine, the sugary snacks and beverages in your local office vending machine may be causing far more problems than you, your employers, and most North Carolina workers’ compensation experts realize. Taking his cue from pediatric obesity specialist Robert Lustig, science writer Gary Taubes argues that refined sugars – particularly sugars taken in liquid form (such as the Cokes and Pepsis in your local vending machine – as well as the fruit juices) may be making many, many people not only overweight but also sick.

What Lustig says is that, when you eat sugars – particularly when you drink them – your liver gets essentially biochemically “punched” and injured. Fatty deposits form in the liver, and this process may stimulate a condition known as insulin resistance, which appears to be the common denominator in many diseases of civilization, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease as well as many types of cancer.

If this supposition is correct, that means that one (albeit indirect) way to seriously reform our entitlement system is to get people to stop eating so many sugary snacks – particularly sugary beverages. Even a slight decrease in our sugar consumption might lead to a collective boost in our national health and lend some genuine relief to over stressed and under supplied healthcare providers.

On a more personal note, if you or a family member or someone at work is struggling with benefits issues, a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm can provide the essential services you want and deserve.

More Web Resources:

Is Sugar Toxic?

Lustig’s YouTube video

Texas-Sized Mess Serves as a Cautionary Tale for the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation System

December 9, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Analysts often get mired in the details of internal state policy, spending time reviewing in-state cases and poring over announcements from individuals like Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner to understand factors shaping the North Carolina workers’ compensation system.

But sometimes it’s instructive to attend to the trials and tribulation of other state’s workers’ comp programs. To wit, a November 23 report out of Austin, Texas highlights a slew of nagging problems with that state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). The report identified four serious problems that “significantly inhibit” the DWC’s ability to offer benefits and care for workers hurt on the job. The points get technical and dry, but they are worth quickly reviewing:

1. The Texas DWC allegedly does not process complaints about medical practitioners well, so system auditors cannot evaluate the consistency and appropriateness of any disciplinary actions.
2. The complaint process the DWC uses fails to comply with the Texas Labor Code.
3. The way healthcare providers get chosen creates major inefficiencies and results in the “overutilization” of healthcare.
4. DWC also has problems in engaging in sanctions and enforcing its decisions.

Texas professionals plan to meet on December 14 in Austin to discuss how to rehabilitate the Division of Workers’ Compensation. But the ongoing struggles in the Lonestar State should alert analysts and policymakers who focus on North Carolina workers’ compensation to the sheer size and scope of some of the crises we face.

One major theme that emerges here is the idea that failure to process information effectively can have serious systemic consequences. State bureaucracies are not exactly known for being efficient. But lack of a structured set of processes and systems gums-up the whole system. It forces people to engage in extra paperwork. It drains resources from already resource-strapped and time-strapped individuals.

New developments in information processing theory may be useful. For instance — and this may sound silly at first — but imagine if everyone in the system adopted the “K.I.S.S. principle” (keep it simple, stupid) when developing their systems and procedures. A return to simplicity could make regulations and restrictions clearer, allow employers and hurt workers to make better decisions and foster a more genial overall spirit.

Stepping back from these global and philosophical implications…

If you’ve recently been put out of work by an injury or occupational disease, or if your family has been struggling to collect benefits from an insurance carrier, you are probably less concerned with what’s going on in Texas and much more concerned with questions like: “How am I going to feed my family if my benefits run out?” and “What can I do to heal faster so I can get back to work?”

To tackle all your concerns, you may benefit greatly from a free consultation with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources

Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC)

Texas’ workers comp agency’s oversight faulted: Auditor

Conference on North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Slated for Next Week

October 7, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina Industrial Commission is sponsoring the 15th Annual North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference next week from October 13 through 15. The event – which will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center – aims to educate people involved in all different aspects of the state’s workers’ comp system about:

• Policies
• Forms
• Procedures
• Rules

The conference also aims to allow diverse participants to discuss key issues about the system. The NCIC website says that the following participants may gain useful info from this conference:

• Employers
• HR managers
• Attorneys
• Medical providers
• Mediators
• Rehab providers
• Paralegals
• Self-insurers
• Administrators
• Claims adjusters
• Safety managers

Both the Raleigh Marriott City Center and Sheraton Raleigh hotels offer discount conference rates just half a block away from the Raleigh Convention Center (where the conference will be held). According to the NCIC website, the following people will be speaking at the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference:

October 13:

• Pamela Young, the Chair of the NCIC
• Martha Dealy, the President of Kids’ Chance of North Carolina
• Denise Thomas, Consultant
• Kirk Leggott, the NCIC’s Chief Information Officer
• Adolfo Arsuaga, a speaker on Multicultural Issues
• Tracey Weaver, David Gantt, and Henry Byrum, who will talk about Professional Ethics

October 14 (Thursday) two breakout sessions will occur in the morning – one on Rehab Dilemmas and one on “The Workers’ Knee – A Medical Assessment”

In the afternoon, two other breakout sessions will occur: one on “Hot Topics in Claims Administration” and one on “I Know I Can Do It, I Just Don’t Remember How!” held by the NCIC Deputy Commissioners.

October 15 (Friday) you will get to hear more speakers, including:

• Pamela Young, the NCIC Chair
• Wanda Taylor, Keischa Lovelace, and John Schafer, who will talk about Industrial Commission Rule Changes
• Dr. T. Kern Carlton III will talk about Controversies in Chronic Pain
• Johnny Lee will talk about Workplace Violence
• Maggie Bennington and Bruce Hamilton will talk about Case Law Updates

If you or someone you care about has gotten injured or sick at work – and your employer, or relevant insurance company, or another party has not treated you fairly, it may behoove you to discuss what steps to take with a qualified North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources

more about the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference

North Carolina Industrial Commission

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Bloggers Weigh in on Octomom’s Lawsuit Settlement

June 16, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Although her saga does not technically pertain directly to North Carolina workers’ compensation matters, Octomom Nadya Suleman quest for workers’ comp has riveted the attention of the nation. According to breaking reports, the Southern California mom of 8 has finally settled a long standing lawsuit for workers comp for just a little over $23,000.

Background

In 1999, Suleman sustained an injury at the Metropolitan State Hospital while working as a psychiatric technician (hurt her back). For this, she subsequently received around $170,000, which she used in part to fund the in vitro fertilization that led to her becoming the mother of octuplets last January. The California Division of Workers’ Compensation reported that her original settlement of $40,000 was diminished by nearly half because of attorney’s fees and advance payments.

Suleman has been roasted widely in the press for feeding her children with food stamps, selling pictures of herself clad in a bikini to the tabloids, and taking $5,000 from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in exchange for putting a sign in her window that reads “don’t let your dog or cat become an Octomom – Always spay or neuter.”

The workers’ comp drama may not be over for Ms. Suleman, given that some of her medical providers have a lien against her, claiming that she owes them around $800.

Are there lessons here for would be North Carolina workers’ compensation claimants? Likely not. Ms. Suleman’s case is fairly unique, and not just because she has octuplets and has behaved in fairly idiosyncratic manner. California has special laws in place that may not be applicable to North Carolina workers’ compensation cases.

For instance as this blog recently reported, an NFL player who hurts himself in a game in California can theoretically claim workers’ comp benefits from the state for the rest of his life – CA is unique in the nation regarding this kind of liberal policy.

If you or a family member faces difficulties collecting benefits, wrangling with insurance companies, or even processing paperwork to meet critical deadlines, it may behoove you to speak with a reputable and battle proven North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. As the case of Octomom illustrates, workers’ comp – whether you succeed in getting appropriate payments or not – may not be a complete solution for your financial woes.

Speak with a financial planner to draw up a battle plan for you and your family to get on a more even financial keel.

More Web Resources

Octuplets mom Nadya Suleman settles her workers’ comp case

Octuplet mom settles disability claim for $23,000

Could North Carolina Workers' Compensation Doctors be Overprescribing “Schedule II” Drugs?

January 19, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A recent report released by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute has many experts and consultants who specialize in North Carolina workers’ compensation quite concerned. The CWCI found that just 3% of doctors who treat workers’ comp patients in the Golden State prescribe over 55% of the “Schedule II” medications, which include potentially addictive drugs like methadone, codeine, and fentanyl. The report, Prescribing Patterns of Schedule II Opioids in California Workers’ Compensation, found a variety of disturbing findings, including:

• The top one percent of hurt workers ingested 25 times more medication than did the average workers’ compensation patient.
• 279 physician prescribers drove two-thirds of all drug-related payments
• Over 50% of Schedule II drug claims involved minor back pain – certainly a troubling issue, but not an issue that necessarily requires strong medications.
• Schedule II drugs prescribed in CA skyrocketed from just 1.4% in 2005 to 7.2% by 2009.
• Payment for Schedule II drugs also increased by over 500%.

Dr. Arnold Milstein, the leader of Stanford University’s Clinical Excellence Research Center, explained why regulatory agencies may not be putting the brakes on what’s clearly an over-prescription problem: “The State Medical Licensing Board is horribly underfunded in terms of stopping these obviously crazy prescribing patterns by a small percentage of doctors.”

Another expert, Joe Paduda of Health Strategy Associates, explained why physicians might take unfair advantage of the system: “The workers’ comp industry is a very soft target for healthcare providers and other people who want to take advantage of regulatory or other loopholes.”

The California system, apparently, is set up in such a way that patients get encouraged to go the prescription med route instead of trying alternative, non-medication related modalities, such as physical therapy and strength training.

In any case, what might this CWCI report mean for the North Carolina workers’ compensation system?

States differ tremendously in their workers’ comp programs. And no North Carolina institution has done a similarly thorough study on Schedule II workers’ comp prescriptions. But it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that a minority of doctors causes the most abuse. The so-called “Pareto principle” – also known as the 80-20 Rule – is a well-established economic principle. It suggests that, in any given population, a minority of participants will drive the majority of results. For instance, if you own a small business, 20% of your clients will yield 80% of your work. 20% of your clients will also yield 80% of your problems. And so forth. So the fact that a small minority of doctors caused the majority of the Schedule II drug abuse shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Indeed, data should find a similar pattern here in North Carolina.

If you or someone you care about needs help with a benefits issue or help with a recalcitrant employer or insurer, connect immediately with a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm.

More Web Resources:

Prescribing Patterns of Schedule II Opioids in California Workers’ Compensation

California Workers’ Compensation Institute

Understanding North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Fraud

January 3, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Here is a brief primer on North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud — including relevant laws passed by the North Carolina General Assembly as well as information, implications, and a toll-free hotline for fraud investigation.

Laws
In 1994, the state assembly passed the Workers’ Compensation Reform Act, which included statute 97-88.2 (outlining punishments for misrepresentation in a North Carolina workers’ compensation filing) as well as statute 97-88.3 (outlining punishments for healthcare providers who fail to follow the law.)

The following year, the state assembly changed statute 97-88.2 and empowered the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) to look into fraud violations of the 1994 WCRA.

In 1997, the North Carolina Assembly passed House Bill 618, which further amended two key statutes – 97-88.2 and 97-94 — to spell out increased penalties for fraud and misrepresentation under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Today, the NCIC operates a hotline at (888) 891-4895 from Monday through Friday during normal business hours.

Who can be accused of conducting fraud? Parties including but not limited to:
• employees/claimants
• employers/managers
• corporate officers
• administrators of third party services
• insurance adjusters/agents
• lawyers
• providers of healthcare services
• rehabilitation providers

Individuals who commit North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud imperil the whole system. Fraud drains millions of dollars that would otherwise go to claimants with legitimate problems. That being said, not all cases are cut and dried. Some individuals may accidentally commit North Carolina workers’ compensation fraud simply because they fail to fill out paperwork properly or fail to follow bureaucratic protocol. It’s not that they try to cheat the system, in other words; it’s that they do not understand how to operate within it effectively.

This isn’t to say that there are not some bad eggs out there who intentionally game the system. However, if you or a family member has been accused of this crime — or if you’re in need of other kinds of assistance filing or moving forward with your North Carolina workers’ compensation claim — it may behoove you to connect with a knowledgeable attorney right away to discuss your concerns in confidence. A free consultation with a reputable attorney can put you on a strategic path to maximize your benefits and minimize your hassle.

More Web Resources:

NC Workers’ Compensation Reform Act

More about Workers Comp Fraud in NC

5 Common Mistakes Made By North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claimants

September 17, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

1. Settling a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim without assessing the true value of that claim.

Even if a claimant has sustained a relatively minor injury, such as soft tissue damage to the pad of the thumb or shin splints from lifting heavy objects, he/she may be ultimately entitled to collect North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits for an entire lifetime. It’s a fact of human psychology that people tend to over-emphasize the difficulties associated with acute injuries and underestimate the difficulties associated with chronic injuries. Thus, particularly when it comes to chromic injuries, claimants tend to undervalue their claims.

2. Thinking that the insurance company is on your side.

Insurance companies are in business for one reason and one only reason only — to make money. To stay competitive, insurers go through rigorous processes to shave costs and minimize payouts to policyholders. In other words, the insurance company exists in large part to DENY as many claims as it can get away with. This isn’t to say the insurers are malicious. But they are most assuredly NOT working for you (even if individual associates appear sympathetic and helpful.) To that end, if you volunteer information about your condition — even by saying relatively innocuous things like “I’m feeling better this week” — your statements can be manipulated, taken out of context, and leveraged against you in the future.

3. Signing an incomplete agreement within the insurance company.

Let’s say the insurance company agrees to settle. If so, the claimant will receive what’s known as an “agreement to pay” from an adjuster. This agreement can be quite complicated, so it’s often in claimants’ interest to have it examined by a competent North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. Not all of your injuries may be included on the form. For instance, perhaps you hurt your arm AND suffered a finger sprain. If the agreement only stipulates that your arm was injured and you do not correct the form, you may not be able to recoup any costs associated with the treatment of your hand.

4. Even after your claim has been accepted and approved, insurers can still investigate you.

Often North Carolina workers’ compensation claimants feel that they are “in the clear” after settling successfully with insurers. However, this can be a serious mistake. Insurance companies often reserve the right to investigate claims even after they have been processed and paid out, particularly claims for chronic disabilities. Indeed, insurers have gone to incredible lengths to retract, amend, or otherwise renegotiate claims, including, for instance, secretly videotaping claimants.

5. Believing that you can choose from an indefinite number of healthcare providers.

North Carolina workers’ compensation rules limit your choice of providers. An employer or an insurance company may offer you a choice of physicians from a pre-selected list. Once you choose a doctor, it can be very difficult and time consuming to “deselect” that doctor and find someone else… without risking your benefits.

Web Resources

North Carolina Industrial Commission

workers’ comp insurance adjuster

Changes to PEO Act Offer New Options for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Providers

September 16, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

On September 15th, Governor Perdue signed amendments to the North Carolina Professional Employer Organization Act intended to aid businesses who use PEOs to handle their North Carolina workers’ compensation and other benefits.

The NC Senate and House passed SB 1029 unanimously. The bill’s passage may hold implications for businesses associated with the state’s more than 143 professional employee organizations (PEOs), which function (ideally) to free up employer resources, expand opportunities, and improve both the quality and cost efficiency of benefits packages.

How might the legislation impact day to day North Carolina workers’ compensation claims? At this moment, it’s too early to predict. On the one hand, if the bill helps employers reduce costs and improve/expand benefits, obviously workers stand to gain. In addition, theoretically, the more that small and medium sized business owners outsource their administrative and other work relating to North Carolina workers’ compensation to PEOs, the more uniform the state’s standards will be; this uniformity, too, should benefit workers.

On the other hand, as with any piece of legislation, hidden problems may lurk. For instance, the expanded power of PEOs may disincentivize some employers from obtaining higher caliber private North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits packages. Also, if PEOs gain too much power, argue some, than they can make self-interested decisions that could have less than ideal downstream consequences for workers.

All that said, given the general enthusiasm for the bill — advocates for employers and advocates for workers who might need North Carolina workers’ compensation alike seem relatively pleased by the legislation — industry watchers seem cautiously optimistic that it could succeed in reducing costs, cutting red tape, and generally improving benefits.

Reuters, North Carolina Passes Professional Employer Organization Act, September 15, 2009

Insurance Journal, North Carolina Updates Professional Employer Organization Requirements, September 15, 2009

More Web Resources

What is a PEO?

NAPEO

Raleigh Convention Center to Host North Carolina Workers' Compensation Educational Conference

August 11, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Per a news bulletin on the NC Industrial Commission’s website, the fourteenth annual North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference will be held this year from October 7th through 9th at the Raleigh Convention Center on South Salisbury Street. According to the conference brochure, the purpose of the symposium is to “educate those who participate in the North Carolina workers’ compensation system regarding current rules, procedures, policies, and forms, and to provide an opportunity for dialogue among these participants.”

Various commissioners, attorneys, insurance representatives, and medical professionals will present, and individuals can attend specialized break out sessions during the conference. Registration fees range from $275.00 per person for registrants who pay before 08/15/09 to $350.00 per person after 09/15/09. The proceeds from the conference will be given to the International Workers’ Compensation Foundation, a non-for-profit group that assists with education and research. Certain individuals, such as attorneys, providers, and carriers may be able to collect continuing education credits for attending the conference. (Insurance adjusters may want to discuss any credit issues with the Department of Insurance, which can be reached at (919) 807 6800.)

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Education Conference generally boasts a diverse guest list, and discounted rates for groups are available. Attendees often include administrators, employers, HR professionals, attorneys, healthcare analysts and providers, and vocational therapists. This conference is a joint venture put together by the International Workers’ Compensation Foundation and the NC Industrial Commission.

More Web Resources

NC Industrial Commission

International Workers’ Compensation Foundation

Raleigh Convention Center

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Survey Reveals That the State Has Exceptionally High Payment Per Claim Costs

July 31, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a study conducted by the non-partisan Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), North Carolina’s workers’ compensation payment per claim costs are significantly higher than average when compared to similar costs in other states. The study, CompScope TM Medical Benchmarks, revealed that North Carolina workers’ compensation payments per claim exceeded the average of a group of 13 states by 13%. State lawmakers have already reacted to the problem by imposing fee schedule changes; these began taking effect in July 2009. Various policy groups have also proposed initiatives to reduce payouts for certain hospital costs, physical medicine, and outpatient services. The Office of State Budget and Management has calculated that the fee schedule changes for 2009 should save the state over $35 million.

What was driving the abnormally high payments per claim in the state?

The CompScope survey points to many culprits. For one, the state has a higher surgery rate than other states surveyed. In addition, both outpatient and inpatient payments per claim and payments to providers are much higher than the median for the states studied. Bear in mind that these figures don’t mean that North Carolina workers’ compensation claimants are necessarily getting more money or a better deal on their medical services. The costs have gone up for almost every party within the healthcare system across the board.

Workers` Compensation Payments Per Claim to North Carolina Hospitals Higher Than Typical of 14 States and Growing, Says WCRI Study, Reuters, Fri Jul 10, 2009

North Carolina: Study finds payments per claim growing rapidly, Risk and Insurance.com, July 30, 2009

More Web Resources

CompScope

Workers’ Compensation Research Institute

Answers to Your FAQS about North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Rules (Part II)

July 22, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Who is in charge of directing your medical care?

In general, your employer or the employer’s insurance company is in charge of offering and directing your course of treatment. If you don’t like the physician that your employer commends you to, it’s up to you to petition the North Carolina Industrial Commission to compel your employer to find another doctor. Be sure to get any changes in writing prior to receiving treatment, or you may not get reimbursed. In some cases, in which your employer or your employer’s insurance company does not behave fairly, the Commission may mandate certain terms of treatment. In the event that you need emergency medical assistance, obviously you should get it. If your employer or the insurance company subsequently refuses to pay for that treatment, you should contact the NCIC as quickly as possible within reason to discuss your situation.

Is it true that you can’t collect compensation for the first week you’re off of work?

In general, the first seven days you miss work due to your disability will not be covered by so called “Lost Wage Compensation.” However, if your disability lasts longer than 21 days, you will be able to start collecting — just not for days 1 through 7.

Are compensation payments always made weekly?

Under most circumstances. However, the NCIC can in some situations mandate that you get monthly checks instead.

How much money should you expect in terms of benefits?

In general, you should expect two thirds of your weekly wage with a maximum of $816 per week (according to 2009 rules).

Can you continue receiving benefits after you return to your job?

In general, no. Once an employee is able to go back to work, his or her benefits end.

How can you find out your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation claim number and the insurance carrier that your employer uses?

The North Carolina Industrial Commission maintains a statistics hotline at (919) 807-2506 to answer these questions.

What should you do if your employer does not acknowledge or otherwise refuses to honor your claim?

In general, it’s a good idea to connect with a North Carolina workers compensation attorney ASAP. You also should notify the NCIC and all relevant healthcare providers.

More Web Resources

North Carolina Industrial Commission


NC Workers Compensation Act

 
 

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