Topic: Personal Injury

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. 

Driving Less to Reduce Your Likelihood of Getting Into a North Carolina Car Accident

May 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Here’s a great idea to help you avoid getting into another serious North Carolina car accident.

We’ve touched on this concept before, but the general theory is well worth reviewing. Here’s the gist: Instead of adopting a complex system of new habits and resolutions to be a safer driver, opt for a simpler and more effective approach: drive less to reduce your overall likelihood of getting into a crash.

After all, certain behaviors associate with higher crash risk–driving under the influence, for instance, or driving while chatting on a cell phone or driving while exhausted. However, these bad behaviors and bad habits simply ratchet up your likelihood of getting into crash on any given mile. Every mile you drive is somewhat fraught with the risk, in other words. You can make each mile driven riskier or less risky by your driving and attention habits.

Rather than fiddle with your habits and behaviors–which are obviously hard to change- why not just change the absolute number of miles you drive?

For instance, say you commute 40 minutes to work every day–and drive 40 minutes home. Maybe you could arrange a situation with your boss where you could telecommute to work two days a week. By doing that, you’d save around three hours of driving time a week. Maybe you would have driven 50 total miles during that time. So if you save 50 miles of driving a week; over a full year, you’ll save about 2,500 miles. And if your chances of getting into an accident over that 2,500 miles– which may have been 0.001% or something–are now reduced to zero percent. Extrapolate that arrangement over 50 years, and the numbers become even more favorable. 50 times 2,500 equals 125,000 miles. 0.001% of 125,000 = 1.25 crashes averted!

Of course, if you’ve already been in a crash, these words may come a day late and a dollar short. Fortunately, you can turn to the DeMayo Law team right now for effective legal guidance about how to prosecute your case, hold liable parties to account, and get fair results.

Call us now for a free consultation.

Another Anti-Distraction Tool To Avoid North Carolina Car Accidents

May 8, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

This Charlotte auto accident blog spends a lot of time delving into tools and concepts to help drivers regain focus behind the wheel. If you recently got hurt in a crash, you are extremely attuned to personal safety; you want to do everything in your power, going forward, to protect yourself and your family (and other people on the road).

To that end, here is another tool to put in your auto safety toolbox: safe driving apps.

Browse any major app store online, and you will find dozens of really cool, innovative apps that can protect you against distracted driving. These apps can:

  • Send an automated message to anyone who text or emails you saying, in effect, “I am in a car right now and can’t talk”
  • Lock the phone so that you literally can’t receive a text or incoming email;
  • Alert parents if/when a teen chats-and-drive and ID the teen’s location via GPS;
  • Track teen driver behavior by identifying driving infractions and alerting parents.

Car safety has gotten sophisticated, thanks to GPS devices, cell phone apps, and other innovative technologies and processes. In some ways, it’s cool to think that we can use cell phone apps and software to diffuse the dangers of driver cell phone use. However, for all the marvelous techie solutions out there, you still need to maintain discipline and
focus on improving your driving habits and eliminating distractions in your life.

If you were hurt by a distracted driver in North Carolina, the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you figure out what to do and plan your next steps. Get in touch with our team now for a free and thorough consultation.

Simple Way To Get Into A More Positive Mindset About Your North Carolina Auto Accident

May 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You are feeling pretty grim about your North Carolina car accident. Maybe you’re still sick/injured from the grueling collision. Or maybe you’re you just psychologically devastated–it all happened so fast, and the other driver (who hit you and caused all the mayhem) seems uncooperative and unlikely to agree to pay a fair share, unless you use the
legal equivalent of a blowtorch to make him or her acknowledge your rights. You get upset even just thinking about the case, and you are not quite sure if/how you can ever find a silver lining.

Here’s a simple trick that will get you into a more positive mindset.

Read success stories.

Find videos or testimonials from real people who’ve been in similar situations to the one you are in right now and who overcame them. You may not get any actionable advice from reading these positive stories. But the testimonials will hopefully kindle (or rekindle) your
sense of optimism. At the risk of being overly self-serving, you can check out the positive testimonials that we have compiled here at the official DeMayo Law website. Or you can search elsewhere.

 The object is not to get carried away but rather to reframe your dilemma.

 Advocates of “positive thinking” often oversell their case to cynics and wind up scaring away people who otherwise might benefit from adopting more rosy outlooks. Truth be told, your situation may not turn out as well as other plaintiffs’ cases. But human beings are primarily storytellers. We love to hear a good story, and we love to tell a good story. Great stories help us remember and learn–and they train our brains to think in new ways about old problems.

If you are stuck thinking about your case and your North Carolina auto accident in a purely negative way, you can still make progress and ultimately win. However, you will likely find the experience to be fraught, intimidating, and discouraging. If, on the other hand, you can see multiple paths by which success can be possible (assuming you do the right things and the facts of your case go your way), you will be more inclined to take action.

For instance, right now, you may need to redo your teaching schedule or personal finances in the wake of the disaster. If you are stuck in a negative, sour mindset, you might delay/defer/procrastinate that project. But if you are feeling more encouraged, you might be more inclined to get started. The more you can take control over various projects in your life, the more positive momentum you will get towards returning to normal.

Connect with our Charlotte auto accident law firm today for sound, insightful help with your case.

“Feeling Fine” After Your Auto Accident in North Carolina? You Might Not Be!

May 2, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

After “getting shaken up” in an auto accident in North Carolina, you got first aid and returned safely to your home. While the screech of tires and the smell of burning rubber may be still vivid in your conscious memory, you are grateful that you did not suffer worse damage– a broken spine, serious bleeding, paralysis, or death.

Unfortunately, just because you survived your North Carolina auto accident intact does not mean that everything is “hunky dory.” If you haven’t yet gotten thoroughly checked out by a physician, that should be your #1 priority. Even if you have — and you have gotten a clear bill of health — be extremely mindful of your physical and mental state for the next several days.

When human beings get exposed to highly traumatic events — such as car crashes, military explosions, etc. — our brains release special chemical signals that temporarily numb us, so that we can psychologically tolerate what we are going through.

These chemical signals are a godsend, in that, if we didn’t have them, traumas could send us over the brink. The drawback is that these chemicals can mask more subtle, chronic damage. For instance, on a purely physical level, you might not “feel” internal damage or
muscular tears until hours after the crash (when the endorphins wear off). Psychologically, a similar phenomenon can happen. You might “feel okay” for a few days after the crash but then suddenly feel depression or panic.

The point of this article is not to scare you — odds are (hopefully) that you will be fine.

However, you want to be sensitive to your condition and also lean on friends and family members to watch out for you and give you extra care and attention. In some cases — concussions, for instance — you may need to exercise exquisite sensitivity. Recently concussed people are at much elevated risk for extra damage. A second concussion that happens shortly after first one can wreak horrible havoc and lead to edema, swelling in the brain, stroke, and all sorts of other horrific symptoms.

Given the tenuous nature of your medical situation, you may want to explore your potential legal options. Why bother doing so, if you are 99% sure that you are “going to be fine”?

First of all, the amount of time/energy you will waste by “just checking” is minimal. Our team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, for instance, can help you assess your potential Charlotte auto accident case rapidly and at no cost to you (you can call us at (877) 529-1222).

Second of all, the cost of NOT doing anything might not matter 99 out of 100 times. But if your situation happens to be that “1 out of 100” kind of case, where you actually DO need serious medical help, if you wait too long to get the “legal wheels in motion” you may find yourself at a serious disadvantage later on and regretting your lack of action now.

Diminished Energy, Enthusiasm, and Resources after Your Auto Accident in Charlotte? Read This!

May 1, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

After auto accidents in Charlotte (or anywhere), victims suffer not just because of the immediate medical consequences–and the psychological trauma–but also because of a chronic depletion of energy/enthusiasm. You may have a challenging job or small kids to take care of or financial goals to meet. You probably had a pretty busy life prior to the
moment when the truck collided with you at that Charlotte intersection or that kid yapping on his cell phone cut you off.

You may lack motivation or money to move forward with important projects in your life–projects both related to and entirely separate from your North Carolina personal injury case. You can’t exactly “conjure” enthusiasm out of nothing. And you can’t make your obligations all go away.

So how should you proceed? How can you avoid getting buried by your to do list?

First of all, acknowledge reality. Exactly how much energy do you have now–not how much energy do you hope to have three weeks from now, after you go through therapy. How do you feel now? How many hours a day can you concentrate? How good is your concentration? Et cetera.

Also, be honest about your obligations. What are your work obligations? What are your child care obligations? Your financial obligations? Make a comprehensive list. Get everything down on paper, so that you can wrestle with it in a systematic way.

Once you complete this exercise, it’s time to get creative.

Can you leverage your current capacities/resources to handle a little bit more work?

For instance, right now, you may feel like you can only get three or four working hours a day because of your illness. But maybe if you handed off some chores to a friend or relative, you could get an extra hour a day to get the “real stuff” done.

So get creative and think about how to expand your productivity.

Likewise, figure out what you can knock off your list–or defer indefinitely for several weeks or several months. For instance, you might have been planning a big project at work. But can you put that project on hold for several months while you recover? You may have wanted to go on a spa retreat with your girlfriend from college. But can you put that on hold, while you recover?

To jog your thinking, ask yourself these difficult questions, and spend time brainstorming. What if you only had half as much energy in your day? What compromises would you make? What if you had to nix half of the projects on your plate? Could you do it? If so, how?

This kind of exercise will highlight the resources you do have. One way to shortcut the busy work is to connect with an experienced North Carolina auto accident law firm, like DeMayo Law. Find out more about how we help like you on our site, or call us now for thorough insight into your challenges.

What Can We Learn, If Anything, from Drivers Who Have Never Been in North Carolina Car Accidents?

March 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

In our ubiquitous quest to catalog better ways to prevent North Carolina car accidents, this blog often goes far a-field to examine diverse ideas about accident prevention and indirect causation.

In a recent blog post, for instance, we discussed the possible positive impact of “power napping.” If drivers napped more, would they improve their capacities to pay attention and avoid crashes?

Here’s another source of potentially hugely useful information — people who have exquisite driving records.

Traffic accidents are in some ways random. If you or someone you love was recently hurt in a crash, you may have done everything right. But what if we could survey the safest drivers in the world — people who have driven for decades without getting into any trouble?

Perhaps we could glean key patterns and wisdom to disseminate to other drivers.

In much the same way that the gerontologists love to study centenarians (people aged 100 or above) for insights into longevity; so, too, could we learn insights about best driving practices by interviewing super safe drivers.

Even if such a survey only yielded one or two useful counterintuitive ideas about how to stay safe on the roads, imagine the power of those secrets. For instance–and this is a totally speculative “bad example” to illustrate the point–but maybe all ‘super safe drivers’ refuse to drive red cars. Owning a red car increases your risk of getting into a crash, for whatever reason.

If this insight could be validated and independently tested, maybe we could then make/buy fewer red cars and thus collectively reduce our lifetime risk of a crash by 0.05% or something. That might not mean much to any one driver. But when you extrapolate such statistics over the entire state or the entire country, we could be talking about saving dozens or even hundreds of people’s lives using this kind of creative, proactive thinking.

Of course, accident prevention is a complicated and dynamic topic. And if you have been injured in a crash, you’re far more interested in getting practical guidance with your Charlotte car crash case. To that end, get in touch with the DeMayo Law firm today at 1.877.529.1222.

With So Many Free Auto Safety Tips Out There, How Come North Carolina Car and Truck Accident Rates Are Still So High?

March 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Victims in North Carolina truck accident cases are often astonished by the diversity of the responsible driver’s negligence.

In many accidents, stuff “goes wrong” on many levels, setting off catastrophic scenarios. For instance, perhaps the trucker who hit you logged way too many hours (no no #1). Then he compensated by downing over-the-counter legal speed or 10 bottles of Mountain Dew (no no #2). When these amphetamines wore off, he veered out of his lane into your car (no no #3). Finally, he lied to the investigating police officer afterwards (no no #4).

In any event, it is truly astonishing how many bad drivers populate North Carolina’s freeways and surface streets. We all have access to inspired, clearly written, and innovative safe driving tips via the web. On this blog alone, we’ve talked about dozens of strategies for how to reduce your likelihood of getting hurt on the road. If you do even cursory internet research, you can put your high school driving teacher to shame.

So why don’t people retain this safety information?

Or, if they do retain it, why don’t they practice the good safety habits they know?

These two questions are penetrating. They speak to a bigger problem that we have in our information overloaded society. We have access to lots of information — good, useful, powerful information — but our ability to process that knowledge and implement it often lags.

A Quick Fix?

Rather than stress yourself out trying to “figure out what to do,” focus on finding good people to help you achieve your goals. As an accident victim, you must complete various. Although technically, you could try to fix your car yourself, heal your bruises at home with icepacks and homeopathic remedies (or whatever) and fight your own car accident case, why would you do those things?

It’s far better to find a competent doctor, mechanic, and law firm to tackle these projects for you.

To that end, please consider calling the DeMayo Law team today at 1.877.529.1222 to set up your free consultation with us.

What’s Scarier (If You Were Being Rational): Shark Attacks or North Carolina Truck Accidents?

February 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

What are you more afraid of: A shark attack or a Charlotte truck accident?

If you’re like most normal people, as soon as you start to contemplate what it might feel like to get assaulted by a Great White in the middle of the ocean, your pulse rises. You freak out! There is something intuitively strange and scary about sharks. Movies like Jaws and salacious footage of shark attacks in the news gin up our fears of these monsters.

Conversely, we also understand that North Carolina truck accidents can be scary, but the fear isn’t the same for most of us.

But statistically speaking, the likelihood of your getting hurt or killed in a truck accident vastly exceeds — by orders of magnitude! — the likelihood of your getting hurt or killed in a shark attack.

Yet every time a fatal shark attack happens, especially on U.S. shores, the story rises to the top of the Huffington Post and other news aggregator sites. Meanwhile, fatal truck accidents — even accidents that kill multiple people — often barely make the local papers.

This disconnect between what we actually fear and what we technically should fear (if our fears were more in line with our statistical reality) gives us profound insight into the nature of safety. The disconnect suggests that we may often pay attention to the wrong types of warnings and — at the same time!! — fail to pay attention to the right types of warnings.

Thus, we may overreact to non-threats and under-react to true threats and, in both ways, put ourselves in unnecessary peril.

If you’ve already been in a truck accident — and you suffered serious injuries — then you might feel that you’re acquiring this theoretical knowledge a day late and a dollar short.

But this new kind of thinking can still be useful for you, especially if you need to make a claim against an insurance company or liable trucker. Why? Because you’re likely ALSO thinking about your truck accident through inaccurate filters or belief systems. And if you don’t approach your legal and insurance situations accurately and strategically, you could miss out on fair compensation and struggle pointlessly.

Let the team at DeMayo Law help you articulate and structure the smartest possible legal action. Email or call our team now for an immediate consultation.

Diagram Your North Carolina Car Accident as Quickly as Possible after the Crash

February 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

On this North Carolina car accident law blog, we talk almost incessantly about the need for victims to write down their concerns and document evidence from injury crashes.

Documentation is essential. Why? Because it provides an objective (or quasi-objective) perspective on the events that led to your injury and other damages. This evidence can be a powerful legal weapon. The sooner you document the crash, the better, since human memory tends to fade and do other funny things over time, and the court system knows this. So a witness statement taken minutes after the crash will carry more weight than will a witness recollection taken two weeks after a crash.

What we haven’t talked about yet is the need to document the accident from as many possible angles as you can. Write down your own account in a journal or diary. If you are too sick or injured, create a voice recording on your cell phone — or on someone else’s cell phone — describing exactly what happened, in what order, and how you felt, and so forth.

Just remember: The fresher the better.

(One caveat: Your need for medical addition should trump everything else.)

In addition to writing down what happened — and what witnesses saw — use pictorial evidence. If you have a cell phone camera — or if someone else at the scene has a cell phone camera — start taking pictures. Take pictures of the vehicles, the road, the intersection where the crash happened, the people involved, everything. Really go to town and get that pictorial evidence!

Also: sketch out how the accident happened as a drawing. Programs online can help you diagram the accident. Get as detailed as you can — without making stuff up or adding extraneous details.

All this documentation may not mean anything to you in the moment, but it all can ultimately help your North Carolina car accident law firm investigate, build a better case, and help you achieve compensation and closure.

For more important and counterintuitive tips about what to do after your Charlotte accident, call the DeMayo Law team at (877) 529-1222 for a complementary case consultation.