August 2012

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

August 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

The answers are diverse. They include:

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

Corrupt systems take their toll on all stakeholders

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 28, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

Doing the Purge – Digital Budgeting

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

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

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

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

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

Using Your Charlotte Workers’ Compensation “Time Off” to Reevaluate Your Bigger Picture Goals

August 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

On one level, your Charlotte workers’ compensation situation is a tragedy and terrible waste of your time/energy.

Assuming that you enjoyed the work that you were doing, you’re frustrated, because you can no longer do that work. Even if you didn’t particularly love your job, you definitely enjoyed getting a pay check and enjoying financial freedom and all the indirect perks that come with that. Now that you can no longer work – and you’re compelled to deal with physical pain, emotional stress and urgent new financial problems – you’re probably feeling somewhat helter-skelter.

Turning a catastrophe into a potentially positive, life-altering moment

Everyone in life goes through challenges – even the richest king, the most beautiful person, and the most “lucky” amongst us goes through challenges. Everyone feels down and out from time to time. Research into success suggests that life’s challenges are not necessarily the things that defeat us. Rather, it’s our attitude and approach to life’s challenges that ultimately tell our fate.

That might sound glib or overly simple. But understand that many people can overcome horrific setbacks – massive medical problems, bankruptcy, horrors perpetuated on them by others – and live long, productive, happy lives. “Bouncing back” is easier said than done, but it is possible, provided that you follow through on a few basic essential skills.

1. Acknowledge your reality.

It’s no good to live in fantasy land. If you deny that you are hurt — or deny that you are not going to be able to go back to your old job — you’re going to make your problems harder and set yourself up for heartbreak. Be honest with yourself about where you are now.

2. Retain a burning faith that you will triumph no matter what, even if you can’t see the “finish line” from here.

You must not give up! You need to persist in your foundational belief that you can overcome your hurdles.

Those two seemingly paradoxical points of view – fully accepting reality and embracing faith in ultimate success – constitute what business author Jim Collins once described as “The Stockdale Paradox.” Collins derived this term after he interviewed Admiral Stockdale, who had been held captive during the Vietnam War and tortured. He asked Stockdale how he survived. Stockdale replied that he survived because he never gave up faith that he would get out of there.

Collins then asked him: what happened to the people who didn’t make it? Stockdale replied that people who didn’t make it were the optimists.

Collins was confused – wasn’t the idea of retaining a burning faith in ultimate freedom an act of optimism? Stockdale replied with the essence of this paradigm, you need to simultaneously be BOTH tenacious and realistic. Those two points of view are not necessarily in contradiction, even though most people assume that they must be.

So cultivate this “The Stockdale Paradox” paradigm in your life, and you’ll likely enjoy better results over the long-term.

For practical, on the ground “nuts and bolt help” with your North Carolina workers’ compensation issues, look to the team at DeMayo law.

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

August 14, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

The Yin and Yang of Strategy Planning and Action

Here’s how it goes:

1: Strategically plan, based on an ideal vision.

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

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

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

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

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

Putting theory into practice with a Charlotte workers’ compensation example

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

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

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

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

August 9, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

3. Don’t forget Form 18!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

In any event, he was shortly fired.

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

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

Understanding the subtleties your claim

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

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

Getting Beyond the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Anger

August 2, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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