February 2012

Wild and Fiery Daytona 500: Lessons for North Carolina Car Accident Victims

February 29, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The recently concluded Daytona 500 was one of the strangest and fire-plagued NASCAR races in recent memory; what can recently hurt North Carolina car accident victims learn from the carnage?

First, let’s recap a few interesting things that happened over the 36 hours of the NASCAR event:

•    Crazy fuel fire stopped the race for two hours;
•    Safety truck crash ignited a massive explosion near Turn 3 of the Speedway. (200 gallons of kerosene caught fire, fueling a blaze. Pictures of this went viral and caught the world’s attention);
•    Racing babe Danica Patrick and five others got hurt during a collision between Jimmy Johnson and Elliot Sadler;
•    Overtime races won by many virtual unknowns;
•    2012 Daytona 500 was the first Daytona to be postponed in 54 events.

Big Lesson: Dangers Can Surprise Us, Even in Highly Controlled Environments

A typical driver might think that Daytona 500 Speedway is a dangerous place to be. And that’s certainly correct, if you don’t know what you’re doing. But be aware that race car drivers are some of the most highly trained drivers in the world. They use the most state-of-the-art automobiles, equipped with the best safety features known to man. The track is also continuously inspected and groomed. No one (save perhaps a few sadistic fans) wants to see fireballs. They just want to see good racing and safe racing.

But these accidents, mishaps and “hiccups” occurred in spite of everyone’s best preparation and care. The takeaway here, for North Carolina car accident victims, is that driving is — in some sense — inherently dangerous and unpredictable. You might have the safest car on the road. You might drive defensively. You might reduce your driving mileage. You might avoid driving when you feel tired, overmedicated, or angry. You could do everything right, in other words, and STILL encounter danger. An auto component could break downs. A traffic light could malfunction. Preparation may be critical (as the Boy Scouts often remind us). But preparation is not a cureall or prevent-all. It’s a way to improve your odds and reduce risks. But life is inherently risky. And driving, perhaps particularly so.

The Solution, If You Have Been Hurt In Car Crash?

A North Carolina car accident law firm can help you understand exactly what went wrong with your crash by investigating the scene. Get concrete and strategic suggestions about what to do to get the compensation you deserve for your medical bills and other costs. Make sure that the driver or other person or company who caused the accident gets held to justice.

More Web Resources:

A wrap-up of the 2012 Daytona 500

The Inherent Risks of Driving

A North Carolina Bicycle Accident Puts a Dean’s List Student in Critical Condition

February 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Last week, North Carolina State University was rocked by a violent bicycle accident that put a senior Dean’s List student, Steven Otto, in WakeMed Hospital with critical injuries. According to campus police reports, Otto had gone for a bike ride early in the morning on Dan Allen Drive, when he was struck by a fellow student, Ross Everett Chapman, and thrown up onto the windshield.

Otto’s body hit the windshield so hard that the glass shattered.

Chapman preliminarily tested positive for driving under the influence; he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.12%, which is 0.04% over the North Carolina state limit for DUI. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation will conduct a further analysis. Police have obtained a search warrant to determine whether Chapman had other substances in his blood. Hopefully, Otto will recover fully from this serious accident. Sounds like a terrifying and sudden ordeal.

Lessons for Campus Safety?

Any single North Carolina bicycle accident – particularly heart-rendering tragedies like this one, in which a promising young student suffers grievously at the hands of a fellow classmate – touches us on a deep level and inspires us to take action.

The question, however, is: What action(s) SHOULD we be taking? How common are campus tragedies like these? What are their causes? What are the causes of those causes? What has been tried on other campuses that has worked, in terms of bicycle safety and general accident prevention? What methods have NOT worked?

These questions may all sound dry and somewhat scientific. Indeed, to answer them in a complete way, you need to collect significant data and catalog various accidents and methods to correct problems. In other words, it takes a lot of work to answer these questions properly and thoroughly – and then to apply their lessons to real world situations on campus and elsewhere.

Thus, we face a very interesting challenge. On the one hand, our emotions and the sad facts of accidents like these inspire us to want to “do something, anything…. Now!” But our better judgment tells us that if we really want to “do something that works,” we need to have a sober long view assessment of what works and what doesn’t.

Separating Theory from Practice

If you have been hurt or injured in a bicycle accident in North Carolina or elsewhere, the debate over the theory of prevention and punishment in some ways is irrelevant to you. You just want to get your life back and collect fair and equitable compensation for your injuries. There may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for your problems, but you can begin to wrangle them by connecting immediately with a North Carolina bicycle accident law firm.

More Web Resources:

Raleigh N.C. State Student Critically Hurt in Bicycle Accident

The Science of Accident Prevention

North Carolina Car Crash Weirdness: Police Officer Smashes Car into House…But Stays on the Job

February 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Police officers are supposed to pick up the pieces after North Carolina car accidents…not cause them!

But a bizarre story reported in South Carolina (News Channel 7) has many questioning the driving prowess of a veteran officer. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, 25-year old John Leopard was responding to a call about a fight in progress, when his patrol car veered off the road and smashed into a house on North Street. The accident happened around 9 p.m. Fortunately, nobody was home, so no one was hurt, save Leopard, who suffered minor scratches and bruising. The Highway Patrol is investigating the accident. But for now, Officer Leopard remains on the job…although he cannot drive a city vehicle until the investigators finish their work.

The story raises more questions than answers:

•    Was the officer distracted behind the wheel (e.g. on the phone, on a CB radio, etc); and, if so, did the distraction cause him to veer off the road?
•    Was his 2008 Crown Victoria somehow damaged or mechanically unsound?
•    Had other cars made similar “mistakes” on North Street before? If so, maybe there is a flaw in the road signage or engineering – a line of sight problem, perhaps?
•    Does Officer Leopard have a history of accidents or other driving issues?

Examining the totality of evidence is always crucial. News reports often provide just the bare essence of what happened in an accident. Even if the news reports are written as objectively as possible, they may include a slant or bias, just due to the nature of the storytelling and the phrases picked at random by the writer.

To really determine the truth of an accident – to find out why it occurred, who was really responsible, and who should be liable for paying for costs like damage to property, medical costs, lost work time, etc. – you need to conduct an intense, thorough analysis. Your instincts about what happened might be right…or they might be way off. To get the clarity you need to build the best possible case, connect with a North Carolina auto accident law firm.

More Web Resources:

Police officer who crashed car into a home still on the job

Why do cars crash into buildings?

A Terrifying North Carolina Car Accident Follows High-Speed Police Chase on I-40

February 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

It was a Valentine’s Day North Carolina car accident/police chase that left hearts pounding across the state.

According to North Carolina Highway Patrol reports, 35-year old Steven Earl Purnell was stopped on the 1900 block of Poole Road in Garner. It seemed like a routine stop. The officer on the scene checked out Purnell’s record and found that he had outstanding warrants for speeding and driving with a revoked license. The officer prepared to place Purnell under arrest. But… the driver did not cooperate! Instead, he threw his car into reverse and backed up, pinning the officer against the driver’s side door. Purnell took off. (Fortunately, the officer escaped serious injury.)

As the suspect fled, the police began a pursuit on Interstate 40 east. Raleigh police eventually stopped involvement and handed things over to Garner police, who took over the pursuit around marker 308 on I-40. At some point shortly after this transition, Purnell’s car blew a tire and crashed. It’s unclear why the tire blew out – did the police lay anti-tire strips on the section of road, or did the tire give out because of the stress of the chase? From the early news reports from places like NBC 17, it’s impossible to tell.

What lessons can be learned from this Valentine’s Day North Carolina car accident?

Here are three:

1. Scared, threatened drivers often panic and make dangerous decision after dangerous decision.

These misjudgments can imperil not just their own safety, but also the safety of everyone else on North Carolina roads.

2. Seemingly minor, mundane events can spontaneously and unexpectedly escalate into serious misadventures.

The police officer who stopped Purnell probably had no idea that the suspect would react so wildly. What started out as a non-newsworthy situation rapidly escalated into a massive police chase that could have ended much more tragically. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported, although Purnell did get taken to WakeMed with injuries.

3. If you were hurt in an accident, get help sooner than later.

An experienced North Carolina car accident law firm, for instance, can help you unravel who might be responsible for your suffering and vehicle damage and advise you about how to get compensation, justice, and the best rehabilitation.

More Web Resources:

A Police Chase Ends in Accident on I-40 in Garner

When Routine Traffic Stops Go Awry

North Carolina Fatal DUI Accident Nets Man 15-Year Jail Sentence

February 17, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Last August, a fatal North Carolina DUI accident took the life of 51-year-old motorcyclist, Larry Weaver on Highway 221. Weaver lost his life when Brian Robinson, 22, slammed into his bike with his GMC pickup and dragged Weaver over 300 feet. When South Carolina police officers arrived at the scene, they tested Robinson for alcohol. He confessed to having drunk some beers and two shots of vodka, as well as doing a hit of marijuana. A blood test found that he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.52%, more than six times North Carolina’s state limits.

In addition to the 15-year jail sentence, Robinson must serve 12 years before becoming eligible for parole. Robinson had been convicted of drug violations several times prior to the fatal North Carolina DUI accident.

Our hearts go out to Weaver’s family, as well as to Robinson’s family. Horrific car accidents like these are difficult to put into context. What do they mean? What can we learn from them? Who should be punished, and how? These are questions that we can and should discuss and debate. But we also need to take time to reflect on the fundamental scariness of what it means to be a North Carolina driver. Every time you take your car out on to the road and you return home safely, count your blessings. It can be a dangerous world out there, and you never know when danger is going to strike.

Of course, picking up the pieces after a car accident is often extremely painful. You are disoriented, confused, frustrated, angry, and a rainbow of other emotions. You may have a hard time figuring out where to start to rebuild your life and hold people responsible, if you have the energy and will power to start at all.

It’s not necessary to struggle or figure out everything on your own. With the guidance of a passionate, thorough, and experienced North Carolina car accident law firm, you can make surprisingly rapid progress. Although you may be in a very difficult place right now, you can make progress toward recovering your dignity and composure, obtaining compensation, holding the right people accountable, and generally putting the pieces of your life back together again.

More Web Resources:

Fatal North Carolina DUI Accident Nets Man 15-year Jail Sentence

The Highest BAC Reading of All Time?

Fatal North Carolina Truck Accident Brings Traffic on I-85 to a Standstill

February 13, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

A fatal North Carolina truck accident brought traffic screeching to a halt last Monday on Interstate 85 near the Sam Wilson Road exit. But it also brought radical changes to the lives of the family members of Larry James Grier, 59. According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol report, Grier died after his Budget rental truck ran into a broken down tractor-trailer at a truck weigh station near exit 29.

Local news reports about the story were relatively brief. This was not a North Carolina truck accident involving a lot of fireworks or controversy. There was no one apparently DUI. There was no one driving under the influence of drugs. It was not a multi-car wreck, nor was it tied to any broader cultural or socio-economic issue that might provoke public debate.

But it’s important to reflect on the tragedy of this accident: it is horrific news in and of itself, but it’s also sad that stories like these often fall under people’s radar. Imagine if your loved one got injured in a collision like this. A simple passing mention in a news stories seems like paltry tribute to your loss and pain.

Part of the problem is we are living in an attention-deficit society, so we essentially have grown numb to “pedestrian” North Carolina car accidents and other tragedies. And this is sad. It is sad because it demonstrates that we may miss out on critical reminders of how precious life is and opportunities to connect with people in pain and help them through it.

If you’ve recently been a victim in a truck or car accident on North Carolina roads, you probably feel resentful or even angry because the world around you doesn’t seem to “care enough.” Sure, you may receive sympathy and condolence cards. You may get other kinds of help, including compensation, support from friends and family members, medical attention, etc. But we often fail to get the empathy that we really need in times of great crisis.

Recognize that you need to be listened to. If people who are close to you are unable to listen, seek out someone who will listen. It’s not that we necessarily want solutions to our problems—rather, we want people to understand our pain on a human level.

More Web Resources:

Fatal North Carolina Truck Accident Kills 59-Year-Old Rental Truck Driver

What We Really Need Is Empathy

Whiplash After Your North Carolina Car Accident? A Surprising, Yet Controversial Cure…?

February 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

A recent car accident in North Carolina has turned your world upside down – possibly literally.

Perhaps a careless guy in a Ford truck rear-ended you at a red light, or you got banged up when a delivery truck veered into your lane on the freeway without notice. You’ve been feeling quite uncomfortable and “tight” in the days and weeks following the crash. You might have already been diagnosed with whiplash or some other musculoskeletal disorder.

The battle to get compensated appropriately for your car accident in North Carolina may be a long slog. You can speed up the process of obtaining a better result (and seeing justice done) by connecting with an established North Carolina car accident law firm. Other measures can help, too, like seeing a physician promptly, collecting information from the scene of the crash, and keeping robust notes of your conversations with witnesses, insurance company representatives, etc.

All that’s important. However, you are probably very concerned with the whiplash or other muscular pain. What’s causing it? What can be done to fix it?

Obviously, you should not try to self diagnose – you need a physician’s opinion. However, there is a really interesting, if controversial, theory that you might want to read about during your research. Dr. John Sarno, best-selling author of books like The Mind Body Solution and Healing Back Pain, posits that very real pain conditions like whiplash, repetitive strain disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome, and lower back pain, may be perpetuated by psychological factors as opposed to physiological factors.

Sarno’s basic thesis is that, in Western Society, it is often unacceptable to express emotions such as anger and exasperation. And so, instead of yelling or beating people up, we “swallow” the rage and frustration. It becomes internalized and physicalized as problems like a tight back or whiplash-like syndromes. This isn’t to say that the pain is “all in your head.” To the contrary, there seem to be pretty well established physiological mechanisms why the pain occurs – due to oxygen deprivation and other problems caused by so-called muscular trigger points. Typical treatments for problems like whiplash focus on eliminating or reducing these trigger points through massage, acupuncture, stretching, strengthening, etc. But Sarno contends that the perpetuating factor is psychological. Once you accept his diagnosis – all it takes, in Sarno’s perspective is education about the “real” problem, which he calls TMS – the brain stops suppressing the negative emotions and automatically releases the trigger points and helps you feel better.

Sarno’s theory sounds absolutely bizarre to the most people, when they hear it for the first time. He and his followers do point out some intriguing studies and hard evidence that seems to suggest they might be on to something. For instance, Sarno points out that an “epidemic” of whiplash took hold of Norway, once physicians in that country began to diagnose the condition. When researchers looked at a control group in Lithuania — people who had been involved in serious car accidents that should have given them “whiplash” — they found that the Lithuanians’ rate of whiplash was essentially zero. So, perhaps, the diagnosis of whiplash gave these people whiplash. It’s very interesting and counterintuitive. But certainly something that you might want to explore, as you do your research.

More Web Resources

The Gist of John Sarno’s Theory

The Norway/Lithuania Whiplash Study

North Carolina Car Accident Theory – Talking to the Driver Who Just Hit You

February 7, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

After a North Carolina auto accident – even a minor one, such as a fender bender at a red light or a scrape on the freeway – you enter a kind of primitive physiological state. Your body knows that it’s under threat, and stress reactions kick in. Your adrenaline may jack up. Your blood pressure may rise. You may experience extreme anger as well as focus. If you’re injured, your body may go into shock. A lot of things happen, both psychologically and physically, in other words – even if the accident is minor.

When you get out of your vehicle and talk to the driver or motorcyclist or trucker who hit you, you’re still operating, physiologically, from this primitive state. It’s normal, in such a situation, to feel extreme animosity and anger because you’ve had your need for safety fundamentally threatened. So, you may end up saying or even doing things that you would never do in “real life.” You might curse at an old lady or threaten to punch a scared teenager. You might make accusations that have no bearing or, conversely, apologizing for something that you didn’t even do. Some of these communication mistakes are unfortunate but inconsequential. If you call an old lady an SOB, you might regret it later, but it might not hurt your potential to obtain compensation in North Carolina auto accident case. But if you engage in other behaviors – such as admitting fault as a “gut reaction” when you weren’t indeed in fact at fault, that admission can come back to haunt your case.

To protect yourself from ever having to be in this position, you need to practice how to communicate with people while you’re under stress. Techniques abound to help people become better listeners and more calm and cool in dangerous circumstances. One philosophy of communication you may wish to explore is Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication philosophy. Rosenberg teaches his students to listen for the “feelings and needs” behind aggressive and angry external statements. For instance, the driver who cursed at you may not be angry because at “you;” rather, he is angry because his need for safety was not met. It’s a subtle distinction, but it’s an important one, since it liberates you from responsibility for other people’s feelings. Likewise, when you get in contact with your own feelings and needs, you are less likely to “take things personally” and more likely to be resourceful, compassionate, and even empathetic in situations where you are under stress.

Learning NVC communication is by no means easy or simple or intuitive. But Rosenberg’s students have compiled many anecdotes in which NVC training helped them to deal with extremely such stressful situations – being robbed, being threatened in public, etc. By connecting with yourself and with others at moments of anger, you can defuse situations that could otherwise turn ugly and also protect and preserve your chances for maximizing justice and obtaining the best possible recovery and resolution.

More Web Resources;

What Happens to the Brain During Periods of Extreme Stress

Nonviolent Communication Website

Your Semi-Miraculous North Carolina Car Accident: How You Averted Serious Disaster, and What Can You Learn

February 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You or someone you care about was recently hurt in a North Carolina car crash that, frankly, could have been a lot worse.

•    Perhaps a driver zipped through a red light and hit the passenger side door…fortunately, no one was sitting in the passenger seat at the time;
•    Perhaps a truck ran you off the freeway, mangling your vehicle. But due to the proper deployment of the airbags and a lot of luck, you escaped the crash unscathed but for a few bruises and scrapes;
•    Perhaps a DUI driver, who was speeding and fleeing from police, swerved into your lane, causing you to swerve into a nearby sidewalk, where you nearly hit a pedestrian. Fortunately, the pedestrian saw you coming and leapt out of way at the last minute;
•    Perhaps your car spiraled off the road after hitting black ice during a snow storm, and your car got stuck in a wooded copse – had you slid off 500 feet down the road, your car would have plummeted down a 50-foot ditch, perhaps into oblivion.

It’s important to reflect on your good fortune (relatively) not only because it’s just generally good practice to give gratitude for things that go well (or not as bad as they could have gone), but also because you can learn a tremendous amount about your own driving, about the kinds of risks you face, and about how to mitigate against those risks effectively.

For instance, perhaps when your winter weather-related accident occurred, you had been dozing at the wheel a bit or distracted by a cell phone call or upset by the scream of a toddler in the back seat. Note this. And you will begin to appreciate just how dangerous driving distracted can be. You might even be inspired to take action to prevent the destructive behavior in the future. Alternatively, perhaps you got hit by a DUI driver on a Saturday night. Make a note of that. And change your habits. For instance, you might try to avoid driving near the “party zone” areas of your city on the weekends.

For more help with your North Carolina car accident, connect with a respectable and results-proven North Carolina car accident law firm.

More Web Resources:

Famous Near Miss Accidents

Learning from What Went Wrong on the Road