February 2013

Finding a New Rhythm after Your North Carolina Car Accident

February 28, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

The worst thing about getting hurt in a car accident in North Carolina (or anywhere) isn’t the physical agony per se — rather, it’s the psychological uncertainty that accompanies the medical problems, financial distress, and other topsy-turviness.

You’ve lost your rhythm.

When you don’t have a steady daily rhythm, your psychological immune system struggles. Both large and small scale stresses can feel equally insurmountable: massive problems, like “how on earth am I going to pay for my medical care and hold the trucker who hit me responsible per North Carolina accident law?” cause as much stress as minor annoyances, like “how will I walk my dog now that I’m hurt?”

Seeing the uncertainty itself as the root problem

Many auto accident victims in North Carolina fail to recognize that this “lack of rhythm” constitutes a core problem–perhaps THE core problem. Instead, they focus only on going through rehab, hiring legal help, fixing up their vehicles, managing workers’ comp, and beyond. You certainly need to do all (or some) of those things. And when you complete these projects, you will reduce some factors that are stimulating uncertainty.

But don’t fool yourself! Even if you manage to get everything in your life ordered and simplified — if you batch your car accident related projects effectively — you may not get back into your rhythm for several weeks or months, at least without consciously addressing the rhythm issue specifically.

So how do you regain your rhythm, beyond doing the obvious projects that we discussed above?

One way is to impose an unnatural (but strategically conceived) schedule  and to habituate yourself to that schedule over time. Here’s a great example from the world of sleep training to prove this point. Let’s say you want to rest better and improve your energy levels. One of the best things you can do is to get up every day at the same time. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday — you never sleep in, you wake up at the exact same time every morning.

This feels unnatural and difficult at first — particularly if you’re not an early riser. But over time, this awkward and artificial structure becomes natural, and your sleep cycles tend to improve.

Likewise, you may want to create some kind of an analogously artificial (but well planned) structure to your day, in light of your current new limitations and resource challenges.

For help unpacking how to get justice and compensation after your crash, connect with the Charlotte car accident law team at DeMayo Law for a free consultation.

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.

Power Napping: An Overlook Tool for Preventing Auto Accidents in Charlotte?

February 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

How many serious accidents in Charlotte could be prevented, if drivers, pedestrians, and truckers all napped more?

Silly question? Perhaps.

We like to explore the theme of auto accident prevention often on this blog, since it’s such a critical one. Many law blogs often serve as little more than thinly veiled self-promotional tools or as a “poor man’s” AP or CNN. But we at DeMayo Law believe deeply in the value of educating people–prospects and non-prospects alike–about better road safety. This passion to make the roads safer is a deeply held value. Consider, for instance, the DeMayo “Arrive Alive” program, which strives to reduce DUI driving and accidents in our community.

During our ongoing discussion, we try to go deeper than the typical “auto safety 101” type articles that have proliferated online. You already, undoubtedly, know to avoid using your cell phone while you drive, to pay attention to the road, to get your car tuned up, etc., etc.

But you might benefit from thinking about safe driving in new contexts.

For instance, consider the lowly “power nap.” Could it be an untapped tool to help us all become safer drivers? Statistics show that a significant percentage of North Carolina population does not get enough good sleep. And studies link sleep deprivation with all sorts of endocrinological problems, stress, etc. Of course, it’s difficult to know what causes what in this relationship. Does the lack of sleep cause or exacerbate the medical conditions? Or do these medical conditions cause insomnia?

It’s not easy to parse without digressing into a long discussion of scientific literature. But at least some compelling research supports this concept of “power napping”–that is, taking a 20 to 30 minute siesta in the middle of the day.

If napping can help improve attention span, reduce stress, improve blood sugar, reduce medical problems like obesity and diabetes, etc. … then just imagine what would happen if the entire state of North Carolina adopted a “nap 20 minutes a day” outreach program or something like that. If ubiquitous power napping had positive effects, than this outreach could have a real and positive impact not just on our health, but also on road accident statistics.

Even though we may not reach “siesta utopia” any time soon, consider starting your own daily napping practice. You might find that your energy levels improve and that you become a safer driver.

For help dealing with the aftermath of your recent car crash in North Carolina, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today for an insightful, thorough, and confidential free consultation. Call us at 1.877.529.1222.

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.

Vindicated! Jared Diamond’s Recent New York Times Piece on Risk Management Confirms Counterintuitive Strategy on North Carolina Car Accident Prevention

February 14, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Over the past several months, we’ve blogged a lot about how and why to reduce driver distraction. Most people know about the “major” distractions, such as cell phones, loud animals, kids in the car, etc. Such distractions can cause deadly North Carolina car accidents.

As this blog and countless others have documented, drivers who text while behind the wheel are more dangerous than motorists who drive while above the legal North Carolina limit for DUI.

But we have also harped on minor, subtle types of distraction. For instance, when you listen to the radio, eat, or even let your mind wander when behind the wheel, you in some sense degrade attention and put yourself at incrementally higher risk for getting into an accident.

It may sound a little OCD to suggest that you should never listen to the radio or even let your mind wander while you drive. But a new article by bestselling author Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) confirms the utility of this kind of risk management philosophy.

In a recent article in the New York Times, Diamond discussed his experience living in New Guinea. One night, he and some natives decided to camp out. Diamond wanted to sleep under a tree, but his companions insisted that they sleep out in the open because they worried that a tree might fall on them. Diamond was perplexed. The chances of that happening were miniscule — something like 1 in 1,000. But as he thought about their objections more, he understood them.

If you sleep under a tree every night of your life, you will spend more than 1,000 nights under trees. Odds are, then, that on some random day, the tree will fall and crush you. The odds may be low on any given day. But over time, the probability does not work in your favor.

The general point Diamond argues (quite convincingly) is that we need to spend more time worrying about small chronic risks to prevent accidents. In other words, the idea that we should never listen to the radio and never let our mind wander while behind the wheel might sound extreme, in that it bucks the conventional way of doing things. But it actually makes sense.

Of course, if you’ve already been hurt or injured, you’re less concerned about accident prevention than you are with dealing with your current crisis. Call our Charlotte car accident law firm at (877) 529-1222 for a confidential consultation now.

Creative Ideas for Valentine’s Day, Even After a North Carolina Auto Accident

February 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You or your honey got hurt in an auto accident in North Carolina. You are both still reeling from the physical, financial, and emotional chaos that the accident kicked up.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, you probably haven’t spent much time planning a romantic meal or purchasing flowers because you’ve been so caught up researching North Carolina car accident lawyers, fending off insurance adjusters and catching up on lost sleep.

Quite frankly, the last thing on your mind is to do something hokey and sappy. You’re dealing with serious essentials here. But hold on a minute. During times of great personal crisis, like after a Charlotte auto accident, you need hope, levity, laughter, and love more than ever. Even if your honey (or you) cannot go out for a romantic dinner or riverside gondola ride or whatever, find creative ways to inject romance into the recuperation. Here are a few ideas…

1) Write a good old fashioned love letter.

In today’s Twitter-and-Facebook obsessed world, most of us rarely take the time to write letters. Break that pattern in a wonderful way. If your beloved is in the hospital, pour your heart onto the page for him/her. You don’t need to pen flowery poetry. Just be sincere and share some of your thoughts and feelings — even if they are not “Romantic with a capital R” in nature.

2) Plan a fun/romantic date, despite your physical and other limitations.

If your boyfriend is in the hospital, and he’s a big video game fan, maybe you could dress up as Mario from Mario Kart and surprise him and make him laugh. That’s a bad example, in that it’s not a “romantic gesture” per se. But the point is hopefully clear: get creative!

3) Take action together to resolve the injury case.

You might do research and create a short list of North Carolina car accident law firms for him or her, for instance. Or do some other logistical chore to make his or her life easier/simpler.

The point is that the time to be romantic is now, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

Mysterious Charlotte Car Accident Kills One Man and Seriously Hurts Another. What Happened, and Why?

February 7, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

A survivor of a fatal Charlotte car accident is in serious condition at the Carolinas Medical Center.

29-year old Neal Raymond Audet was in critical condition before his medical situation became even more dire. Last Sunday night, Audet and 30-year old Brian Christian Carroll crashed on Zacks Fork Road in Lenoir, after Carroll’s 2000 Ford Mustang flipped around and slid. Carroll died stuck inside the car, while Audet got thrown from the vehicle. Lenoir Police Chief, Scott Brown, said that he and his officials are working to investigate the cause of the accident. Brown refused to tell reporters what factors might have contributed (e.g. alcohol or drugs, speed, strange road conditions, etc.) He did say that blood samples were taken.

Reconstructing a North Carolina car accident is hard enough work, even if you can collect eyewitness statements. When everyone involved is critically injured or killed, the forensic work becomes that much more difficult. Myriad factors can influence how, when, why, and where crashes occur. For instance:

•    A tire may blow out;
•    A worn steering or braking component may fail at an inopportune moment;
•    A driver might get distracted by a conversation or cell phone;
•    Stress, fatigue, medication and alcohol can interfere with driver reaction times.

These aggravating factors don’t occur in a vacuum, either.

For instance, someone who drives under the influence might encounter debris in the road, fail to react in time and thus flip his car. If you fail to suss out all contributing factors, you might misdiagnose what caused the accident and thus mis-apportion blame and go after the wrong people or parties for damages.

It’s a complicated business.

It’s further complicated by the fact that witnesses — particularly drivers who might be liable — can purposely mislead or lie to investigators. Furthermore, even so-called objective test, like breathalyzer and blood alcohol tests, are often shockingly unreliable.

To get a better handle on what happened in your case and what you might be able to do about it, from a legal point of view, call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today to schedule a free consultation with us. We’re on your side. We can help you make sense of the past few days or weeks and approach your situation resourcefully and intelligently.

Four Young Adults Die in North Carolina Car Accident near Sanford

February 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

A shocking, sad fatal North Carolina car accident rocked the town of Sanford last Saturday, according to the State Highway Patrol.

Four young people — 31-year-old Katherine Powers, 31-year-old Aaron Powers, 33-year-old Christopher Baker, and 38-year-old Rebecca Powell — died when their vehicle lost control, hit a tree, crashed into a vacant house, and burned. According to Steven Spivey, a trooper who investigated, the crash occurred near the intersection of Dixie Farm Road and NC 421.

The driver, Powers, apparently lost control of the car while driving at a high speed. Officer Spivey said that investigators couldn’t determine whether the driver and passengers were wearing seatbelts. Roger Byrd, a neighbor, expressed his shock and dismay: “You couldn’t even tell what color car it was or nothing. It was burning… you won’t never forget it, if you see anything like that.”

Normally, this blog follows up on serious North Carolina car accident stories with some kind of analysis to help put these stories of devastation into context.

But today, let’s do something different. Let’s just reflect on the lives of those four people who died and send blessings to them and their families.

Nothing else needs to be said.