November 2013

A Hangover Can’t Touch Being Run Over—Note to self.

November 30, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Panthers pulled it out last Monday night with four points over the Patriots.  Big game! Monday night! The Patriots! First time in six years that Charlotte has hosted a Monday night game!  All that makes for a great night stumbling from bar to bar or simply returning to your tailgate homestead for the traffic to improve.

The important to remember as a fan leaving the stadium (or if that’s not possible, pin a note to your koozie prior) is that the safest place for a pedestrian is on the sidewalk.  In the area immediately surrounding the stadium, if you don’t see the sidewalk you should ask your neighbor to point you to it or walk you to it.

While it can be comical from time to time, it is very serious that you take care of yourself leaving the game.  Just because other people are disregarding the rules and walking in the streets, it doesn’t mean that you should follow lead.  That person may have better health insurance and is willing to accept the deductible cost for the benefit of walking in the street. Also, that person could have less to live for.

In addition to the regular traffic in the area, there are people leaving the stadium who decided “they were fine” and got behind the wheel.  I know there are no guarantees but even a drunk driver has a lower risk of hitting you on a sidewalk than if you’re walking in the road.  Be careful. Please.

As the Charlotte Knights work towards finishing the baseball stadium by the April 2014 deadline, the issue will become more prevalent and you need to be prepared.  Take care of yourself and the best way to do that is recognizing that nobody cares your own safety more than you do or should. (Moms don’t count.)

Passenger and Driver Use Same Attorney?

November 24, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

At first glimpse I can assure you it does look suspicious.  Almost like two hands in the cookie jar, putting compensation concerns over responsibilities to a client.  Well, as attorneys, there are certain internal guidelines that if implemented and executed properly would eliminate the concerns that arise out of this potential conflict of interest. 

What do I mean by conflict of interest.  Absolutely.  In most situations, the passenger of a “not my fault” car accident will likely have a claim against the driver’s insurance company as well as the insurance company that caused the car wreck, assuming other criteria have meet met.  So, if an attorney represents the driver, the attorney’s responsibility and interests are to advocate vigorously for that client (i.e. the driver.)

However, let’s say the passenger has also decided to work with the same attorney or law firm to handle the passenger’s bodily injury claim.  The passenger has a claim against the driver’s insurance and the at-fault vehicle’s insurance company.  Herein lies, a potential conflict.  In other words, the same “advocate vigorously for my client” lingo applies to both the driver and the passenger because both are now clients of the same attorney.  Well, in order to advocate vigorously for the passenger, it requires filing claim against the driver’s insurance company.  Uh-oh.  Boom.  The driver, who is also my client—is the subject of a claim—that I—his attorney filed?  So, by its very nature advocating for one will breach that assurance to the other. 

Back to the “certain internal guidelines implemented and executed” paragraph a couple paragraphs up, these potential conflicts can be waived or addressed.  Typically, this comes down to negotiations on behalf of clients, the collection of medical records, and collection of any all statements to the insurance companies.  So, these internal checks are fairly straightforward when it comes to the logistics of it…Don’t let anyone see something that the firm has because of representation of Client Driver that may have a disparate impact on the quality of representation offered to Client Passenger. 

I’ve seen this go sour fast, particularly in smaller firms.  Inevitably the six people in the firm will come across information helpful to one and harmful to the other.  For this reason, it’s important to call a spade a spade.  Common sense first impressions let you know which type of firm you are working with and ultimately trust your gut. 

The Insurance Company Won’t Replace My Car…(Part 2 of 2)

November 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Because most automobiles are generally considered depreciable assets, as time passes and the vehicle use increases, these are depreciated from the value of the starting asset value as an expense. When you purchase a new vehicle you would obviously want to insure the replacement value of the vehicle.  A year after owning the vehicle the value of the car is depreciated—whether you agree or not—it’s true.  If you don’t check with your insurance company and adjust the policy amount to correlate to a change in value you could pay higher premiums for a higher policy limit that you’ll never use.  The insurance company won’t tell you this.  Why would they?  Pay your premiums on the car that was worth $10,000 when you got it.  Keep paying the premiums even though three years into the policy, the car is now only worth $5000.  You get in an auto accident after paying the premiums on a $10,000 car when in reality your premium should have decreased—assuming your driving record remains constant. 

Use the difference in the premiums the insurance company prefers that you pay and what you should really be paying to save for a replacement car.  Or use the difference to pay down the balance owed on the car faster.  This will save you less in interest and may help reduce the likelihood of an unfunded liability in the event your vehicle is considered a “total loss.”  If you still owe more on your car than what it’s worth—the insurance company still only has to put you in the position you were in before the incident.  If that means paying the lienholder some but not all of the balance you owe on the vehicle, they don’t care. 

Is that harsh?  Well, their insured driver only caused the damage.  The fact that you may have a car that is worth less than what you owe on it doesn’t matter a lick to the insurance company.  These are a few ways to keep things in check when it comes to property damage after an auto accident. At the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo we handle the claim for property damage all the time.  It’s one more thing we can take off of your plate. Plus, there’s far less run around from the insurance company when they find out who is representing you.  Call us today at 877-333-1000 or fill out a free case evaluation at