Topic: Catastrophic Injuries

What Will the “World’s Most Detailed Brain Scans” Mean for North Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment?

July 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina traumatic brain injury victims (and their families) often feel frustrated because they lack comprehensive information about prognoses.

TBI is a very, very complicated and poorly understood catalogue of conditions. Although most people talk about traumatic brain injury as a “single thing” — it’s more likely that there are many different types of TBI, even if commonalities exist among these different “species” of disorder.

Fortunately, scientists are making headway in terms of understanding how the brain works — particularly, our imaging capabilities are getting better and better.

BBC News recently reported that scientists connected with the Human Connectome Project are publishing “the most detailed brain scans the world has ever seen.” So far, the researchers have published the scans of more than five-dozen adults, and they hope to scan 1,200 brains and include DNA and behavioral traits in the data. They are making the
info available to neuroscientists for free.

Professor David Van Essen told the BBC “we are very optimistic that as the community delves… into these data sets, they will reveal new insights into the brain circuits of healthy adults.” The volunteers engaged in many tasks during the scans, including gambling, doing math, manipulating their bodies, etc. Professor Van Essen hopes that this analysis will “uncover which neural pathways are important in determining human behaviors.”

With these better scanning methods, researchers may better understand the neural circuits that relate to various activities and emotional states. By understanding how normal brains work — and what they look like when they are working normally — researchers will also be able to help people who struggle with cognitive dysfunctions, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

For instance, researchers might be able to look at a brain scan of your friend or loved one who suffered a concussion in North Carolina (or some other kind of TBI) and compare that brain map to the map of a cognitively normal person to determine what therapies might be appropriate, what drugs might be appropriate, what kind of training might be most useful, and so forth.

We are a long way away from serious practical applications of this kind of scanning technology, but we are headed in the right direction. Don’t let this discourage you. Recovering from serious brain injury is a long term proposition, after all. After all, your goal is long term health and wellbeing — optimized based on your accident history and other factors.

The sooner that you can begin to understand not only the injury itself but also your legal options, the more at ease you will feel about your long term situation. Get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today to go over your options and to protect your rights. Call us now at (877) 529-1222 for insight and a free case consultation.

Talk About Traumatic Brain Injury! Skull from 1200s Changes Scientists Thinking About Medieval Medicine…

June 30, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

When most people think about traumatic brain injury research, they fail to recognize that researchers themselves often understand very little about the history of TBI science.

Myths abound both at the level of subtle detail and at the level of large scale treatment.

For instance, many people believe that football related concussions definitively cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — and, indeed, this blog has published many articles suggesting that that link could be vigorous. But, to date, there has never been a thorough, double-blind, well controlled study to prove that thesis.

Scientific discoveries have a fascinating way of changing our perspective on TBI. Consider, for instance, the recent discovery of a mummy head specimen from the 1200s. Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at University Hospital of France, says that researchers found a specimen dating back to the early 1200s — a man’s head that was preserved using surprisingly advanced preparation. According to Charlier, the preparer used cinnabar mercury, lime, and bee’s wax to preserve the veins and arteries in the head. The specimen will soon be on display at the Parisian Museum of the History of Medicine.

Here’s what’s really interesting! It’s a revelation that a “Dark Ages” physician would be able to preserve such a specimen in such exquisite detail, given our stereotypical beliefs about what the Dark Ages were like. It turns out that many of our beliefs about what happened during the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Advent of the Renaissance were misguided.

According to an article on Life Science about this phenomenon — “grotesque mummy head reveals advanced medieval science” from March 5th — “science had already been advancing swiftly starting way back in the 13th Century.” Copernicus, for instance — the guy who popularized the revolutionary idea that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice-versa — “took some of his thinking on the motion of the earth from Jean Buridan, a French priest who lived between about 1358 … but Copernicus credited the ancient Roman poet Virgil as his inspiration.”

Why is this all important?

It’s important to consider the historical context of traumatic brain injury science, because as someone who is recovering from an injury, you may be currently laboring under false beliefs about what you need to do — or what you should be doing — to manage the injury and its aftermath, particularly as it relates to compensation and liability.

The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo is ready to help you understand the dynamics of your case, so that you feel more empowered and less unsteady about how to proceed. Call us today at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation about your Charlotte TBI matter.

How Come No One Is Taking My North Carolina Concussion Seriously?

June 27, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you suffered a concussion in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, most people will be sensitive to your situation will provide support, good wishes, and care. But not everyone will understand your dilemma or be sensitive to your medical needs. Many people just don’t understand — or at least don’t fully understand — what it means to suffer a concussion.

As a result, they may encourage victims to return to vigorous activity before such activity is safe. For instance, a high school football coach may “shrug off” a young linebacker’s complaints of headache and dizziness and encourage him to go return to a big game.

As a result of that careless decision, the poor young kid can suffer a second impact injury, which can lead to edema, permanent neurological dysfunction, stroke, and even death. On a less dramatic note, subtle actions that demonstrate a lack of compassion or understanding can also cause harm. For instance, let’s say that your young son fell off a wall and conked his head. For the past several days, he has been resting in bed for 15 hours a day. You understand that “he is not feeling good,” but you also want him to go back to school and “shake it off.” So you might gently encourage him to stop resting so much and “rejoin the world.”

Even though you may not intend to do any harm, if you rush him through the healing process, you can make rehabilitation longer, more painful, and more fraught.

Conversely, careless/uncaring people can make errors of neglect or omission that can redound to horrible effect. For instance, in the situation described above, maybe the child really needs to see a doctor immediately because he’s suffering bleeding in the brain or some other horrible symptom. If a caregiver fails to take action to get proper medical help within the proper timeframe, irreversible damage can occur.

These points may seem obvious. But many people who suffer brain injuries accidentally feed into this behavior by “striving to please” or forcing themselves too hard. Now is not the time to worry about your boss, your coach, your teacher, or your friends. Now is the time to worry about brain injury — healing from the trauma and getting the rest and astute medical care you need.

To remove at least one worry from your plate, consider getting in touch with the Charlotte traumatic brain injury law firm of DeMayo Law today. We can begin to investigate your case and make sure that you are situated for a powerful legal response, so that you can rest a little easier. Call us now at (877) 529-1222 for thorough help.

53 Members of Congress Want to Investigate Whether IED Blast Induced Traumatic Brain Injuries May Be Sparking Suicide Epidemic in the Armed Forces

June 24, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Improvised explosive devices, also known as IEDs, were used against American service personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq in the wars over the past decade. New evidence suggests that these hidden bombs not only caused traumatic brain injury but also increased the likelihood of suicidal behavior.

Recently, 53 members of the US Congress sent a letter to Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, asking Congress to figure out what to do about the rash of suicides, possibly induced by IED traumatic brain injuries. Per the letter: “Evidence suggests that blast injuries, including but not limited to those causing damage to vision or hearing, can have a severe psychological impact…that can play a major contributing role in suicides.”

The prevailing theory is that the psychological trauma of combat causes mental distress that can lead to suicide. The alternative view that the bipartisan members of Congress want to investigate is that the IED explosions, in and of themselves, change the structure of the brain and make people more prone to suicide.

In other words, it’s not psychological stress. It’s a neurological problem–a physical, biochemical problem. According to the spokesman for the Blinded Veterans Association, Thomas Zampieri, “I’ve talked to a lot of neurologists, military neurosurgeons and trauma surgeons who have all started to ponder if the IEDs that have caused the TBIs are the real
cause of the suicides, versus the traditional approach that suicides are all caused by the psychological stresses of combat.”

According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, more than 266,000 troops suffered brain injuries in combat between 2000 and 2012–coincidental with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as special military operations around the world and training exercises.

If you or someone you love was hurt in combat or in training, and you want answers about what legal actions you can take regarding your traumatic brain injury case, please get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today for thorough, strategic assistance.

Scary New Research about Traumatic Brain Injury in Colleague Football Players: Even If You Don’t Get Concussed, You Can Still Sustain Serious Damage

June 20, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

New research produced by the Cleveland Clinic suggests that traumatic brain injury in college athletes may lead to a pathological process–long term harm–even when players don’t suffer diagnosable concussions.

The researchers looked at data collected from 67 collegiate players who played during the 2011 season. No player experienced a diagnosable concussion. However, 40 of the 67 players who got hit hard had high levels of an antibody that is associated with traumatic brain injury. The researchers sent these athletes to University of Rochester Medical Center for brain scans, where scientists analyzed them using a double blind analysis. Shockingly, abnormalities correlated with perturbed brain health were found in the brain scans of these non-concussed players.

According to the CDC, nearly half of all high school football players get concussed every season. College football players suffer similar rates of concussion.

This new research is quite alarming.

The implications are both shocking and potentially game changing. What if further research does bear out that the act of playing “regular” football is somehow fundamentally dangerous? How should we reform our institutions? Can the game itself be saved? Or will we just have to accept that student athletes will suffer some brain damage for the sake of
sport they love?

While much of our attention has been on the NFL–and for good reason, given the flood of new data we have on chronic traumatic encephalopathy–only 1,700 people play professional football.

Meanwhile, over 20,000 men play college football, and many more play high school football. If these players are suffering brain injury–or at least the beginnings of brain injury–without even getting concussed… that suggests that football may be more dangerous than even many alarmists have been suggesting.

The NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer, Bryan Hainline, issued a statement affirming the League’s commitment to the health and well being of student athletes: “we are actively collaborating with members, institutions and research facilities to improve with the health and safety of student athletes.”

If you or your child got “his bell rung” at a football game in Raleigh, Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, you want answers. How can you afford to pay your medical bills? What should you do next in terms of bringing legal action–or at least researching legal action?

Our Charlotte traumatic brain injury law firm can help you answer those questions in a systematic, compassionate and confidential way. Call our offices now to get genuinely compassionate and thorough help with your situation.

Putting the Pieces of Your Traumatic Brain Injury Together: When You Can’t Remember What Happened

June 17, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Here’s a very common problem with North Carolina traumatic brain injury cases.

A person gets hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, workplace disaster, or a fight. But because of the brain injury, the person can’t recall the events that led to the injury in an accurate, linear, and coherent way.

So what you do?

The solution must be concocted on a case-by-case basis. Certain strategies might be useful in some cases but not others. For instance, let’s say that you got hurt at a Charlotte construction site, when a coworker switched off a piece of machinery while you were riveting. The jolt from that action set you tumbling off your platform to the ground. In that case, perhaps video footage recorded the fall, or other tracking devices might have gleaned evidence that can be used forensically to piece together the situation. Or maybe a coworker or other witness saw you fall.

What about situations in which the injured person gets hurt, and no one sees what happened?

This happens a lot with car accident cases. For instance, a person might drive solo on a wind-y Raleigh street during the middle of the winter, slip on a patch of black ice, and hit a tree. The driver might get a serious brain injury and be unable to remember why he slipped. In this kind of case, indirect forensic techniques could help to discern the cause of the accident.

For instance, maybe the tire patterns on the road could offer clues about why the car slipped on ice. Or maybe a detailed examination can reveal that the braking system failed.

The point is that, as a victim or friend/family member of a TBI victim, you don’t really need to worry about the details of the forensics as much as you do need to worry about obtaining effective legal counsel as early as you can in the process, so that that counsel can begin an immediate investigation and assemble the proper forensics.

To that end, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today, so we can help you get a handle on your situation and build an effective case going forward.

How Much Will You Need to Be Involved with Your North Carolina Mass Tort Lawsuit?

June 9, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You are on offense. As someone who was injured (or whose loved one was injured), you are seriously considering filing a North Carolina class action or mass tort lawsuit — or an independent personal injury action.
On the other hand, you’re dubious. The thought of getting wrapped up in some complex legal action fills you with dread, because you don’t want to get roped into being a “lead plaintiff.” You want to forget about the traumatic experience — not have to relive it for months or years.

So how much, exactly, will you have to be involved in your legal fight?
The answer depends.

Obviously, if you choose to be a lead plaintiff — and if you’re pursuing a massive case against a huge company that could settle for tens of millions of dollars — then you obviously need to be pretty involved. However, the process is less involved and less confusing than you believe.
Assuming you pick a North Carolina class action law firm that’s a good fit for your needs — that shares your values and vision, and that has the experience and resources to argue effectively on your behalf — you won’t have to do much at all. That’s one of the beautiful things about finding good legal representation: When you’re well represented, you won’t have nagging questions distracting you from your day-to-day business and from the important work of recovery. You can focus all your attention on getting better, on fixing your financial problems, and on healing yourself psychologically.
While you ultimately need to “do more work” as a plaintiff in a class action or personal injury lawsuit than would if you “did nothing” about your case, the peace of mind that you’ll get will undoubtedly cancel out the extra work that you need to do.
For instance, if you don’t do anything, you might waste hours or even days’ worth of your time ruminating about aspects of your case or aspects of how to handle an insurance company.
That’s time you will never get back — time that you could spend relaxing or being productive.
Also — it should go without saying — but if you WIN your case, you should get well compensated for your injuries and damages. You will receive nothing, if you do nothing.
In summary: If you’ve been hesitant about connecting with an attorney, that hesitancy makes all the sense in the world. However, you might find it worthy to examine what’s at to the root of that hesitancy. Are you just scared about the time commitment? Because if so, that fear really doesn’t make objective sense. If not, probe deeper to understand what’s really going on — why, fundamentally, are you resistant to getting the help that you really need?

Really Sad North Carolina Mass Tort News

June 2, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Documenting North Carolina class action and mass tort lawsuits can be a sad and dispiriting exercise.

The lengths to which some companies will go to obfuscate the truth and to strive for profits at the expense of the wellbeing of human beings can shake one’s faith in humanity.

Consider, for instance, the recent resolution of a seriously twisted case out of New Jersey. A generic drug manufacturer, Par Pharmaceutical, pled guilty to charges to end civil and criminal investigations into its behavior. The drug maker will pay $45 million as punishment for marketing an AIDS drug, Megace ES, illegally for “off label uses.”

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) had allowed the drug maker to sell Megace ES to treat anorexia and unexplained weight loss in AIDS patients. But the company tried to expand its consumer base by selling the drug to elderly people who didn’t have AIDS.

According to a U.S. attorney who worked on the case, Paul Fishman, “Par admitted to choose to ignore [the FDA approval process for new uses of medications] in pursuit of more sales and greater profits … the conduct was wrong and went on for a long period of time.”

The company sent sales forces to call on nursing homes and hospice facilities to sell the drug. They also sought out confidential patient data to find people who could be switched to the expensive drug. According to plaintiff’s lawyers, Par refused to acknowledge the potential safety effects on patients because “there is little profit to be made by marketing the drug lawfully, due to advancements in HIV and AIDS treatments which drastically reduced the on label patient population.

It’s really a shame that we need lawyers and whistleblowers to watchdog large pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers.

In an ideal world, these companies would do due diligence and take it upon themselves to vet their products and ensure patient health and wellbeing over their own profitability. After all, if you’re going in business to help people manage their medical conditions, your fundamental obligation is to your customers.

Unfortunately, the real world is full of disappointing situations.

If you or someone you love was harmed as a result of some company’s negligence, carelessness, omission, or other malfeasance, the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to advise you. Please call us at (877) 529-1222 to get a confidential, free evaluation of your case. Let us help you ensure justice and gain some peace of mind.

Your North Carolina Injury is Not the End of the World (Probably)–or At Least You Won’t Feel This Unhappy Forever

May 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re deeply depressed by your recent North Carolina injury. Whether some idiot in a truck bashed your car by blowing through a stop sign, or a doctor misread your chart and gave you a medication that made you literally sick to your stomach, you are in pain. You are angry; you are confused; and you are deeply dismayed by your situation and the prospects for your future.

Obviously, what’s done is done. You can’t go back in time and undo the North Carolina truck accident or reverse the doctor’s negligent decisions. And you may indeed have a long road to hoe. You might never regain function of your leg. You might need to be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. You might never be able to work as you once did. The brain damage caused by the accident may permanently limit your ability to be productive to two to three hours a day.

When you sit there and contemplate these scenarios–particularly the worst case scenarios–you can easily spiral into depression and apathy. This is really unfortunate. When you are depressed and/or apathetic, you may fail to take important kinds of action–such as contacting a reputable North Carolina mass tort law firm ASAP–because you feel too hopeless to persevere.

This is a shame, because science shows that our emotional immune systems are remarkably resilient.

Even IF a worst case scenarios plays out for you–e.g. you’re permanently hobbled by the accident or no longer able to work in a career that you love–these setbacks will not doom you to a lifetime of depression and unhappiness. Or at least they don’t necessarily mark you with that destiny.

That may sound very counterintuitive. But if you look at the research, those statements bare out.

Lottery winners notoriously experience euphoria for the first weeks or months after they win. But they ultimately wind up just as happy–and just as sad!–as they were before the pay day.

Likewise, people injured so severely that they are left as quadriplegics suffer extreme depression in the first few weeks and months. But they ultimately rebound to feel just as happy as they did before the devastating event.

This isn’t to say that you don’t have problems — that you shouldn’t feel depressed or anything. Rather, you should appreciate that your current emotional state is probably temporary.

Even more importantly, you need to avoid getting trapped by your emotions into “doing nothing” and/or into making impulsive and not-strategic actions that can have negative long-term implications for your finances and healthcare options.

To that end, consider connecting with the DeMayo Law team now at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation, so that we can put you on a more strategic path with respect to your case.

North Carolina Class Action News: Legal Fight Over High Sugar, High Caffeine Energy Drinks — A Portent of A Larger Battle To Come?

May 23, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Are we witnessing the beginnings of a major mass tort battle in North Carolina (and well beyond?)

Perhaps so. And big beverage companies may be on the receiving end.

Last year, for instance, a woman in Australia allegedly died from over consuming Coca-Cola. According to the Chicago Sun Times, a Maryland teenager died after drinking two large Monster Energy drinks in a single 24-hour period. These drinks contain a lot of caffeine and also a lot of sugar. While testifying before Chicago City Council, Edward Burke discussed a federal report “that showed the number of annual hospital visits tied to highly caffeinated energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011 — to 21,000.”

According to the President of Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Howard Axe, “super caffeinated energy drinks,” such as Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar, pose serious health risks, “including possible fatalities to adults and children, particularly those with preexisting conditions.”

The legal brouhaha in Chicago is focused on the adverse health effects of over consuming caffeine. Another, potentially more fraught and momentous debate has to do with the adverse effects of the overconsumption of liquid sucrose. As most famously articulated by pediatric obesity specialist, Dr. Robert Lustig, calories from liquid sucrose may have especially adverse effect on the liver because of the way the fructose component of sucrose gets metabolized by that organ. Lustig builds the case — at least in the doses that modern North Carolinians consume sugar — that “calorie is not a calorie.” The consumption of sugary liquid beverages, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and even many fruit juices, may be doing tremendous harm to our population and precipitating problems like metabolic disease, obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.

So far, obviously, we have yet to see a major class action or mass tort lawsuit against beverage companies. But some health advocates are suggesting that we may be witnessing at least the beginnings of such machinations — they compare our current era to the era a few years before Big Tobacco was held to legal account for advertising and selling dangerous products.

If you have recently been harmed by a product or service, you are probably far less interested in the legal battle over energy drinks than you are with your own wellbeing, financially, medically, and otherwise.

 The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo proudly represents victims and their families in serious North Carolina personal injury matters. Please get in touch with us today by calling (877) 529-1222, so we can provide you a free consultation and help you get educated and informed about your options.

Our Illogical Reactions to Superstitions: Really Important to Understand, If You Want to Fight Your North Carolina Class Action Optimally…

May 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your son broke his ribs in an SUV rollover, your husband tore his ACL on an amusement park ride, or you suffered a devastating home fire when your space heater malfunctioned, you understand you have the potential to take some kind of legal action and perhaps to participate in a North Carolina class action or mass tort lawsuit.

But you are confused about what to do next. Should you connect with a legal team like DeMayo Law or “deal with the situation yourself” — i.e. work directly with an insurance company?

Everyone has different needs and sensitivities and comforts. But it’s important to be rational rather than impulsive when you make a big decision like this.

We often play to our superstitions rather than to logical common sense.

Consider the diverse nature of our strange beliefs. Whether you are afraid of the number 13; you bet your wedding date when you play the lottery; or you worry about a black cat crossing your path or something along those lines, part of you recognizes that you’re being ridiculous with the superstitions.

You understand that that you are using “magical thinking” and not logic. But even when you “call out” your superstitions — call your own bluff — you may not be able to overpower your subconscious resistance. You may not, for instance, ever feel comfortable sleeping on the 13th floor of a hotel. If you’re Russian, you may refuse to shake someone’s hand when they reach through a doorway to you.

Depending on how deeply you hold strange beliefs, they can really hamper your life.

The point is that wrestling with such strange beliefs–even when you make those beliefs conscious and you appreciate that they’re clearly irrational–is more challenging than meets the eye.

As much as we should “trust our guts” in certain situations, we also need to learn how and when to challenge our intuitions in order to achieve best results.

To that end, if you have reservations about connecting with an attorney–or if you have some strange belief about why you are not someone who “does” lawsuits, reflect on that received wisdom. Are those concepts actually serving you right now?

Consider, for instance, the worst thing that could happen, if you got a consultation with attorney, versus the best thing that could happen if you did. That the more that you can shine rational light on your fears, the more you can move beyond them and make more compelling and useful decisions.

Class Action Lawsuits “Brewing” For Budweiser

May 13, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser Beer, is facing a pretty serious class action lawsuit that alleges that the brewer watered down its products prior to bottling.

Thus far, plaintiffs in Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, and California have all filed suit against the beer manufacturer based on whistleblowing testimony from former high placed employees in the business–at 13 separate breweries.

Will a North Carolina class action against Budweiser be next?

Anheuser-Busch has fought back vigorously against the bad press–the company recently took out full page ads in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and eight other major newspapers touting the fact that the company provided 71 million cans of drinking water to the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations. The cheeky headline read “they must have tested one of these.”

But a lead attorney in the case, Josh Boxer, shrugged off the newspaper ad blitz as a “classic non-denial…(the) alcohol readings, taken six times a second as the finished product is bottled, will confirm the allegations made by the growing number of former employees who keep coming forward to tell us the truth.”

In court, Anheuser-Busch will need to produce data on its internal and alcohol testing procedures. Ten different products are tangled up in the legal matter, including well-known brands like Budweiser, Michelob, and Bud Ice as well as more “exotic” brands, like Hurricane High Gravity Lager and Bud Light Lime.

Do you have a potential Charlotte class action lawsuit?

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you understand and defend your rights to get compensation. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to file a personal injury suit or a mass tort action. Our team can help you strategize and determine the most effective, accurate course forward. Call us now for a free consultation, and get clarity on what you need to do.

The End of the Beginning of Your Quest for Justice After a North Carolina Injury

May 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

In the hours and days since your North Carolina injury–or your family member’s injury- you have been in a mad scramble to get medical care and make sense of your options.

What steps should you be taking (or not taking) to manage the medical crisis, collect evidence, and deal with the urgent logistics in your life? Who is going to take care of the kids while you’re hurt? Who’s going to handle the big work project that you had to drop to deal with the catastrophe? How will you pay the mortgage now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars out of pocket on ambulance and hospital services?

After you wrangle these urgent details, you then need to scramble to recalibrate everything in your life. You will also need to find a way to deal with the tremendous challenges of finding appropriate representation:

  • Do you have a case or not?
  • If so, what should you do first?
  • Whom can you trust?
  • How can you evaluate different law firms against one another?
  • How can you work effectively with a law firm to make sure that you get clear answers and good communication throughout the process?

All of these urgent questions might be on your mind. And they all need to be addressed.

The several lining–if there is one–is that, once you do get all of these things taken care of, assuming you have done everything effectively, you should enjoy renewed peace of mind.

The great gift that a solid North Carolina mass tort law firm can provide is the gift of clarity.

Even though your life may feel like it’s in a million pieces right now–if you know exactly what’s going to happen next and what to expect; and if you have trusted people working on your behalf–much of the stress and agitation will lift.

Obviously, even a superb law firm is not going to magically make your injury go away or eliminate the anger and frustration you feel about what happened. But you should feel a sense of relief and security that you are moving in the right direction.

And when people feel like their lives are moving in a positive direction, they often see passed their immediate limitations and handle the process with more grace and patience.

Connect with the DeMayo Law team right now for strategic, insightful assistance with your Charlotte personal injury matter.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit: Charlotte Woman Who Lost Her Breasts and an Arm in Propeller Accident Sues For Damages

January 25, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Deondra Scott, a Charlotte woman who lost her breasts and an arm in a boating accident last summer, is seeking North Carolina products liability and personal injury damages. Scott was seriously injured when a boat propeller struck her during the popular Lake Bash event on Lake Norman, which is bordered by the counties of Iredell, Catawba, Mecklenburg, and Lincoln border Lake Norman.

The 25-year-old claims that while in the water the boat’s propeller hit her twice. In her North Carolina boating accident lawsuit she is suing Dennis F. Allen, David D. Orzolek, and Chaparral Boats Inc.

Scott contends that Allen, who was the boat’s operator, never drove a motorboat prior to that day and he lacked the skill to safely navigate one in a crowded, public area. She says that the propeller hit her as Allen was trying to tie it to another vessel and he still had the engine running.

Allen and Scott had come with a group of friends to the Lake Bash event. According to her North Carolina personal injury lawsuit, people shouted at him to turn off the engine but he “panicked,” redirecting the boat into reverse and causing the propeller to hit her. He then placed the boat’s gear in forward and that was when the propeller to hit her a second time.

Scott is also suing Orzolek, who is the person that Allen rented the boat from, and Chaparral Boats, the company that designed, made, and marketed the vessel. She contends that Orzolek should have known that Allen lacked the experience to safely operate the motorboat and shouldn’t have allowed him to rent the vessel. She believes that Orzolek could/should have done more to enforce appropriate safety procedures to renters.

Scott is seeking North Carolina products liability damages from Chaparral Boats. She is accusing the boat manufacturer of continuing to sell the boat even though its design isn’t safe. Scott says that designing the boat so that seven people end up seated behind the boat operator can obstruct the latter’s view. Also, she claims that the ladder and platform are located just a few feet from the propeller and the vessel came with inadequate warning signs about possible dangers, as well as lighting that wasn’t bright enough.

Scott sustained such severe injuries that she had to have her breasts and an arm amputated. She also suffered a severed sternum, lacerations on her legs, and punctured a lung. She says the accident has left her with serious psychological and emotional problems, medical expenses, permanent injury, scarring, limb loss, lost wages, and other damages.

Boat operators and boating companies must exercise caution so that they don’t end up running over swimmers or striking them with their propellers. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and serious injuries can happen that may prove fatal. You may have grounds for a Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury case.

Read the Complaint (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
Families of Two Parasailing Victims Killed in Ocean Isle Beach Sue for North Carolina Wrongful Death, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 25, 2010 

Preventing North Carolina Drowning Accidents: CPSC’s Pool and Spa Drain Cover Recall a Reminder that Entrapment Can Lead to Serious Injuries and Deaths, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 6, 2011

Products Liability: Two Families Sue for Wrongful Deaths of Loved Ones Fatally Burned While Wearing Flammable Bathrobes, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 6, 2009

For Many North Carolina Car Accident Victims, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Create Havoc

October 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Of the more than 2 million people injured in US auto crashes each year that are lucky enough to survive, a number of them may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder—up to 40% even, estimates the US Department of Transportation. This is no surprise, consider that traffic collisions are among the leading causes of PTST. You may be able to obtain North Carolina car accident compensation for this and any other debilitating injuries that were caused by another party’s negligence.

Remember, physical injuries are not the only type of injuries that can occur during a motor vehicle crash. There is also pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional trauma. While invisible, psychological and emotional injuries can also take a toll, severely impairing a victim while negatively impacting his/her life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can arise after someone has suffered a life-threatening or frightening experience. This may cause severe anxiety and emotional/mental paralysis in the person. Signs of possible PTSD:

• Flashbacks of the incident
• Reliving the accident as if it were happening again now
• An irrational fear that the same accident will happen to the victim again
• Physical symptoms arising when the person is reminded what happened. Symptoms may include rapid breathing, nausea, elevated heart rate, and sweating
• Anger issues
• Sleep difficulties
• Nightmares
• Disinterest in former passions, hobbies, and activities
• The need to be constantly vigilant
• Depression
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Emotional numbness
• Problems concentrating
• Suicidal thoughts
• Eating disorders
• A higher risk of developing physical health issues, such as diabetes, heart problems, and sexual dysfunction

PTSD can happen not just to the person that actually experienced the catastrophic incident but also to those that witnessed it or were there afterwards to help out, such as police and rescue workers. Family and close of those that were in the accident can also develop PTSD.

This condition can affect not just the victim’s personal well-being, but also his/her career and relationships. People suffering from PTSD are more likely to miss work and not do as good of a job as those without PTSD. Problems concentrating and sleep difficulties can also make it hard for the person to be productive or meet goals. The impact of all the symptoms listed above can also affect how the person relates to people and deals with life. This can place at toll on marriages, family life, and relationships.

You want to work with a Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm that understands the nature of PTSD and how to prove that you developed your condition because you were involved in an accident that occurred as a result of someone else’ negligence. Remember, PTSD can occur following any type of traumatic incident. This means that if you were sexually assaulted, abused at a nursing home, the victim of a violent crime, or survived a fall at a construction site, you may have developed PTSD as a response to what happened.

The Effect of PTSD on a Person’s Life, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 6, 2011

Talking to Your Friends and Colleagues about a Traumatic North Carolina Car Accident, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 19, 2011

Are Gruesome Reports About North Carolina Car Accidents Rendering Us Insensitive to Dangers of the Road?, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2011


Family of College Football Player Files North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against WCU Coaching Staff

October 4, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Two years after Western Carolina University football player Ja’Quayvin Smalls passed away following his first college football practice, his family is seeking North Carolina wrongful death damages against the WCU coaching staff.

The junior defensive back, who was from Mount Pleasant, collapsed during a voluntary workout session for new players. Autopsy results reported that he died from an enlarged heart. Exertion and Smalls’ sickle cell trait were listed as factors in his death.

Defendants in this North Carolina wrongful death case include football coach Dennis Wagner, athletic director Chip Smith, head athletic trainer Steven Honbarger, defensive coordinator Matt Pawlowski, former strength coach Brad Ohrt, and assistant athletic trainer Brandon King.

Smalls family says that the coaching staff knew about his condition and they contend that they should have taken precautions to prevent his death. Smalls’s dad, Henry Malcolm Smalls, is claiming gross, negligent, wanton, and willful breach of duty to his son in the defendants’ alleged failure to establish procedures and policies for safely training and conditioning athletes suffering from sickle cell.

Athletic departments and supervisors are responsible for making sure that training and practices are run in a manner that doesn’t jeopardize the health and well-being of athletes. Unfortunately, there have been incidents involving athletes getting sick or dying because the proper safety precautions were not in place or procedures weren’t followed.

For example, insisting that athletes keep practicing in extremely hot temperatures without proper hydration can lead to serious injuries. Per the CDC, heat illness is the leading cause of disability and deaths for young athletes. Permanent organ damage can occur should the body temperature hit 105 degrees. Per the University of North Carolina’s National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, there have been 30 football player deaths because of illnesses relate to hot weather.

Another cause of athlete injuries involving inadequate supervision or coaching is when a player is pressured to keep playing despite being sick or having suffered an injury. This can exacerbate his/her condition and result in permanent injury or a more serious health issue.

Athletic supervisors and coaches are also supposed to be mindful of any preexisting conditions (Sickle cell trait, a heart condition), an athlete might have and take the necessary precautions to make sure that no resulting complications arise. For example, when someone has sickle cell trait his/her red blood cells can change from road to sickle-shaped. This can prove fatal. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, between 2000 and 2007 sickle cell trait was a factor in nine athlete deaths. NATA noted that letting athletes with this trait not part in “day one” football conditioning tests appears to help save lives. Altitude, dehydration, asthma, and heat can increase the risk of sickling.

Recently, a jury awarded the family of Ereck Plancher $10 million in his wrongful death. Plancher, who played football for UCF, died in March 2008 after an off-season workout. Plancher also carried the sickle cell trait.

Wrongful death suit seeks more than $10,000 from Western Carolina University, Citizen-Times, September 24, 2011

Smalls Family Files Wrongful Death Suit, Mt. Pleasant Patch, September 27, 2011

Athletic trainers discuss sickle cell trait, USA Today, June 27, 2011

10-years later, Devaughn Darling’s family still fighting, Orlando Sentinel, October 1, 2011

Western Carolina University

More Blog Posts:
Deceased Chapel Hill High School Football Player’s Family Claims Paramedic Malpractice in Their North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 9, 2010

Parents File North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Lenoir-Rhyne University and Theta Chi Fraternity, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2009

Family of 18-Year-Old Shot by Police During 2006 Home Raid Sues University of North Carolina Wilmington for Wrongful Death, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 2, 2008

Join the Fight Against Texting While Driving: Enter Our Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm’s Sweepstakes on Facebook to Win a Flip Camera and Watch Our Distracted Driving Video

September 19, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to some studies, texting while operating a motor vehicle is eight times more dangerous than driving while drunk. Yet, for many people, knowing this information isn’t enough to stop them from reading, composing, or sending a text while driving. Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo would like to invite you and your friends to join us in the fight against distracted driving. Please watch our Distracted Driving is Like Driving Blind video on YouTube and enter our Distracted Driving Awareness Sweepstakes on Facebook. The deadline to participate is October 10, 2011.

Texting While Driving
In North Carolina, it is actually illegal for all motorists to text while driving. Unfortunately, this texting ban isn’t enough to ensure that people won’t engage in this type of distracted driving behavior. Here are a couple of reasons why:

• Not everyone understands that texting, which poses no physical danger when done while not operating a vehicle, is dangerous when driving. It takes just a few seconds for a catastrophic North Carolina car crash to happen. Usually, to text the driver has to have his/her eyes off the road for at least that long and one, even both of his/her driver’s hands will be off the steering wheel to hold and work the phone/PDA device. This can make it hard for a motorist to stay in control of a vehicle to avoid an accident.

• In this multitasking society, it can be hard to stop what has now become a bad, even compulsive habit of constantly checking and responding to text messages and emails.

According to Internet & American Life Project from the Pew Research Center, adults are just as likely as teens to text when driving. In the report, issued last year, 47% of adults reported sending or receiving a text from a mobile phone while behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle. If adult drivers can’t restrain themselves from texting, how can we expect our teen drivers to stop? Please stop distracted driving by pledging to limit your texting when operating a motor vehicle.

We are familiar with the devastating consequences that can result because someone was texting or talking on the phone while driving. Please do not hesitate to contact our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm to ask for your free case evaluation.

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP
Over the years, the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has fought hard for our clients to make sure they received the damages they were owed by all liable parties. We also have been fierce advocates of combating drunk driving with our Arrive Alive: Don’t Drink and Drive community service program and the Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program for college kids. Our Charlotte, North Carolina injury law firm is committed to helping stop the growing epidemic known as distracted driving. Won’t you join us in saving more lives?

Adults as likely to text while driving as teens, study says, CNN, June 18, 2010

Cell Phone and Texting Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association, September 2011

More Blog Posts:

Turn Down the Music! (and Avoid North Carolina Car Accidents), North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2011

16-Year-Old Driver Involved in Fatal North Carolina Car Accident is Charged with Texting While Driving, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 30, 2011

Lawmakers Deliberate Whether to Step Up the Fight Against North Carolina Distracted Driving Crashes with a Ban on Handheld Cell Devices, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 26, 2011

Preventing North Carolina Drowning Accidents: CPSC’s Pool and Spa Drain Cover Recall a Reminder that Entrapment Can Lead to Serious Injuries and Deaths

June 6, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recent recall of nearly 1 million pool and spa drain covers is a good reminder to owners to make sure that their pools and spas are safe for swimmers. The recall was issued because the drain covers were manufactured by companies that had incorrectly rated how much flow the products could actually handle. Such inaccuracies could mean that some of the drain covers may still pose entrapment hazards, which can cause drowning accidents.

Swimming accidents that occur because of a defective pool or spa part can be grounds for a Charlotte, North Carolina products liability lawsuit. It is the responsibility of all manufacturers to make sure that their products are safe for use. It is also the responsibility of pool and spa owners to make sure there that there are no hazards that could cause entrapment or North Carolina drowning accidents.

The recalled spa and pool drain covers were made between December 2008 and April 2011 by a number of companies, including Waterway Plastics, Rising Dragon USA, Pentair Water Pool and Spa, which is a North Carolina based company, Hayward Pool Products, Custom Molded Products, Color Match Pool Fittings, AquaStar Pool Products Inc., Lawson Aquatics, and A&A Manufacturing. The drain covers were supposed to meet the safety standards set by the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

The pool safety law is supposed to prevent entrapment accidents from happening. When a child or adult gets entrapped in a spa or pool drain, it can be difficult to get free and if the person ends up submerged and stuck underwater, he/she can easily drown. One young girl sustained catastrophic injuries when a swimming pool drain suctioned out part of her intestinal tract a few years ago. Even after Abigail Taylor underwent liver, small bowel and pancreas transplants, she still died from her pool drain entrapment injuries in 2008.

Eight Manufacturers Recall Pool and In-Ground Spa Drain Covers Due to Incorrect Ratings, CPSC, May 26, 2011

Lawson Aquatics Recalls Certain Pool Drain Covers Due to Incorrect Rating; Covers Pose Possible Entrapment Hazard to Swimmers, CPSC, May 26, 2011

Girl Whose Intestines Were Partially Sucked Out by Swimming Pool Drain Dies, Fox News, March 21, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (PDF)

Pool Safely

More Blog Posts:

High Point Pool Drowning Accident Claims the Life of Teenager in North Carolina, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 22, 2010

Fayetteville, North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Teen’s Drowning Accident in Drainage Ditch Can Continue, Says Judge, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, August 18, 2009

North Carolina Premises Liability: Two Recent Child Drowning Accidents in Hotels Claim Lives, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 22, 2009

Evenflo Recalls 13,792 Maestro Child Safety Seats

October 14, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Evenflo is recalling 13,792 Maestro child safety seats because of a possible crack that can form near the harness adjuster that could result in a child becoming improperly restrained. Evenflo will fix the safety issue by giving consumers a metal reinforcement plate to better support the area of the adjuster. There are no injuries reported so far.

Models affected by the recall start with the number 310. These child safety seats were made between November 24, 2009 and April 9, 2010. If you own one of these child booster seats you should contact Evenflo right away to ask for your free reinforcement plate. While you are waiting for your repair kit, NHTSA says your child can still use the seat as long as the owner’s manual is followed.

With motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental death to kids under age 15, our Charlotte, North Carolina products liability attorneys and injuries to a minor lawyers know how important it is to make sure that your child is safely buckled in, whether with a seat belt or in a child safety seat.

Having your son/daughter use a defective car seat can lead to catastrophic consequences during a North Carolina car accident. You may be able to hold the product manufacturer liable.

Examples of child safety defects:

• Poor construction
• Harness defects
• Separation of base/shell
• Handle malfunctions
• Flammable material
• Sudden release
• Unanticipated rotation
• Improper or unclear instructions

A defective car seat can even make your child’s injuries from a traffic crash worse than they otherwise would have been.

Consumer Advisory: Evenflo Company Recalls 13,792 Evenflo Maestro Child Safety Seats, NHTSA, October 15, 2010

Evenflo Initiates Voluntary Safety Recall of Certain Maestro Combination Booster Seats, Evenflo, October 15, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Car Safety Seats, American Academy of Pediatrics

Child Passenger Safety, CDC

Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Seeks Injury Compensation for Rituxan User Who is Now A Quadriplegic

August 6, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A 23-year-old man who is now a quadriplegic has filed a dangerous drug lawsuit against the makers of Rituxan. The defendants of this products liability complaint are Biogen Idec. and Genentech Inc.

Jesse Peetz started taking the immunosuppressant in 2003 to treat thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura, an autoimmune disorder that he had been suffering from since he was 11. He contends that he was unaware that the drug would make him susceptible to developing untreatable infections. He developed a near-deadly infection in 2005 that resulted in his loss of motor function.

In his dangerous drug complaint, Peetz is accusing the defendants of failing until 2007 to warn users about the risks associated with taking the immunosuppressant. He contends that in 2003, defendants began marketing Rituxan for off-label use to treat the condition that Peetz was suffering from. Off-label means that the Food and Drug Administration had not approved this particular use for the suppressant. In 2007, BIogen Idec and Genentech finally put out a warning that use of the drug could lead to untreatable viral infections, catastrophic injury, and death.

Rituxan is FDA-approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The powerful drug gets rid of mature circulating B-cells for close to nine months, which can allow for the deadly viruses. Rituxan has also been linked to several cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a deadly brain and nervous system viral infection.

Peetz took Rituxan for two years before he developed the dangerous viral inflection. Now, he depends heavily on a ventilator.

Charlotte, North Carolina Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
Just because you or your loved one took a drug prescribed by a doctor and made by a pharmaceutical company doesn’t mean that the medication is good for you. Unfortunately, dangerous drugs continue to make it out into the marketplace, posing a serious danger to people. Drug manufacturers must be held accountable for their negligence in making and designing a drug that can hurt or kill you.

Neb. man sues makers of Rituxan after infection, WTOP/AP, August 11, 2010

Lawsuit Says Rituxan Left Man A Quadriplegic, Drug Discovery and Development, August 12, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Genentech Inc.

Biogen Idec.

Appeals Court Considers Whether Family Has Right to Sue for North Carolina Personal Injury After Pedestrian Was Mistakenly Declared Dead

April 9, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of 34-year-old Larry D. Green is asking North Carolina’s Court of Appeals to let them sue Louisburg paramedics for personal injury. State law usually protects civil servants from being sued for North Carolina personal injury if the alleged negligence occurred while the worker was doing his or her job. However, a lower court judge has already ruled that J.B. Perdue, the former medical examiner for Franklin County, should be sued in civil court for his role in the catastrophic mix-up.

Green was injured in January 2005 in a North Carolina pedestrian accident when he was struck by a car as he crossed a highway north of Louisburg. A local paramedic declared him dead after feeling for a pulse. The worker never attempted to resuscitate him.

The paramedic then asked a county paramedic to check Green for a pulse. The second paramedic, however, said he trusted the first paramedic’s judgment and did not check the victim.

The North Carolina personal injury lawsuit accuses Perdue, then the Franklin County medical examiner, of ignoring signs that Green was not dead, including eye twitching and chest movement. Green was placed in a body bag and transported to a morgue.

It wasn’t until 2 ½ hours later when a North Carolina Highway trooper asked the medical examiner to help figure out from which direction the auto had struck Green did Perdue realize that the victim was still alive.

Green’s family and guardian say that wrongly declaring him dead when he was, in fact, still alive caused him to sustain injures that have left him bedridden in a rest home where he is fed through a tube and cared for 24 hours/day. Franklin County and the family reached a $1 million North Carolina injury settlement earlier this year.

Court weighing right to sue over mistaken death, Winston-Salem Journal, November 20, 2009

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Tort Liability

Wrongful Death, Nolo

Over 37,000 North Carolina Brain Injury Patients a Year Require Emergency Room Care

March 24, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The reports that 37,000 emergency room patients are treated for North Carolina brain injuries each year. The Brain Injury Association of North Carolina calls TBIs a “silent epidemic,” with more people suffering from brain injuries than there are patients diagnosed with breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS combined. In the state of North Carolina alone, there are 180,000 brain injury patients—equal to Fayetteville’s entire population.

Many people don’t really understand what a TBI is or how serious the injury can become in certain cases if medical attention isn’t immediately sought. Also, with car crashes and fall accidents as two of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries, many victims sustained their injuries because another party was negligent. Please do not hesitate to contact our Charlotte, North Carolina brain injury law firm to explore your legal options.

March has been designated Brain Injury Awareness month, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its latest report on TBI’s called “Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Death.” Among its latest statistics:

• There are approximately 52,000 TBI deaths in the US every year.
• 1.7 million hospital visits are traumatic brain injury-related.
• 75% of brain injuries are considered mild TBIs.
• Older people, above the age of 65, kids, younger than 5, and teens, 15-19, are most at risk of suffering from a TBI.
• Adults, 75 and older, had the highest TBI death and hospitalization rates.
• The leading known causes of TBI’s are falls, motor vehicle crashes, getting struck by or striking an object, and assaults.

Sustaining a serious TBI can prove catastrophic and not to mention devastating for the victim and loved ones. The costs of living with one can be astronomical.

When you look at the most common causes of TBI’s, it is no surprise that many traumatic brain injuries could have been prevented. Contact our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm to discuss your TBI case.

CDC Study Examines Rising Incidence of TBI, Medpage Today, March 19, 2010

Brain injury alters her life,, March 23, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Brain Injury Association of America

Living with a TBI, Brain and Spinal

Products Liability: Two Families Sue for Wrongful Deaths of Loved Ones Fatally Burned While Wearing Flammable Bathrobes

November 6, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Last month, two wrongful death lawsuits were filed by plaintiffs whose loved ones died tragically when the chenille bathrobes they were wearing caught fire. Bathrobe manufacturer Blair Corp. is the defendant named in both complaints.

Atwilda Brown, was making tea when the catastrophic accident happened. She called 911 for help but died from her injuries. The cause of death on her death certificate is “from clothing catching on fire,” says her daughter Sharon Davis. Brown’s family is suing the clothing manufacturer for $30 million.

In another tragic burn accident, 81-year-old Evelyn Roguff and her 83-year-old husband Murray died when the sleeve of the robe she was wearing caught fire on the electric burner of her stove. Murray was burned while trying to save her. The couple would have been married 50 years by now. Their family is suing Blair Corp. for $1.9 million.

At least nine deaths have been linked to the flammable bathrobes. Most of the victims were older people. Five of the people that died were women. In the last seven months, 300,000 of the Blair Corp. robes have been recalled over safety concerns.

Clothing must meet specific safety standards. Defects can lead to tragic accidents, including choking accidents, strangulation accidents, and burn accidents.

All clothing sold in the US must meet the requirements of the Flammable Fabrics Act. Highly flammable clothing can prove tragic for the person wearing the dangerous fabric. Highly flammable clothing that causes North Carolina injury or death is a products liability.

Bathrobe company sued in deaths of elderly Oceanside couple, October 28, 2009

Family Sues over Connecticut Woman’s Bathrobe Fire Death, Insurance Journal, October 30, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Blair Expands Recall To All Women’s Chenille Apparel Due to Burn Hazard; Additional Reported Deaths Prompt Re-Announcement of Robe Recall, CPSC, October 22, 2009

Flammable Fabrics Act

Raleigh Motorcyclist Dies Following North Carolina Injury Accident

November 3, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Raleigh man who was injured in a hit-and-run North Carolina traffic accident has died. Michael Stegler was 49. The Raleigh motorcycle accident happened on October 2 when Stegler’s motorcycle was struck by a van that did not stop at the crash site.

Police later identified Jack W. Stith II as the hit and run driver. He is charged with failing to stop at a crash site.

2008 Motorcycle Data, NHTSA:

• 5,290 US motorcyclist deaths
• 77% of the motorcycles were hit from the front.
• 7% were struck from the back.
• 25% of motorcycles involved in deadly accidents collided with nonmoving objects.
• 19% collided with passenger cars.
• 4% were involved in large truck crashes.
• 14% were in crashes with light trucks.
• 96,000 motorcyclist injuries.
• 2,554 motorcycles involved in these fatalities collided with another kind of motor vehicle.
• 159 North Carolina motorcycle rider deaths.
• 115 South Carolina motorcycle rider fatalities.

Nationally last year, there were 2% more motorcyclist deaths than the 5,174 motorcyclist fatalities that occurred in 2007. And according to the US Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting, there has been a 150% increase in motorcycle fatalities over the past decade (In 1997, 2,116 people were killed in US motorcycle crashes). This is unfortunate for motorcyclists and their passengers, who are prone to catastrophic injuries during motorcycle accidents.

For the first time since 1981 when it issued the Hurt Report, the Federal Highway Administration is going to conduct a study about what causes motorcycle crashes and how to stop them from happening.

Motorcycle rider struck in Hilltop hit-run dies, The Columbus Dispatch, October 15, 2009

Motorcycles, 2008 Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)

Federal Government To Study Motorcycle Crash Causation, Chicago Now, October 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
The Hurt Report


North Carolina Bill Banning Text Messaging While Driving Now Goes to Senate

April 18, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Now that the North Carolina House of Representatives has made it overwhelmingly clear—by a 104 to 5 vote—that texting and emailing while driving should be banned, the bill now heads to the state Senate and then Governor Bev Perdue. If the bill becomes law, anyone caught violating the ban would b fined $100 plus court expenses. Rescue workers and police are among those who would be exempted. An amendment to the bill helps determine when negligence might have occurred if someone was texting when a North Carolina car accident happened.

There are more people texting in North Carolina than ever before. According to the 2008 “Big City Wireless Use Study,” from April 2006 to April 2008, text messaging use increased among Verizon customers by over 600%. The International Wireless Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry says text message sending and receiving increased from 14.4 million in 2000 to 48.1 billion in 2007. That same year, a University of Utah study reported that texting while driving is similar to driving under the influence and is 50% more dangerous than talking on the phone while driving.

Even the American Medical Association has spoken out about texting while driving, calling the habit a health hazard. Another recent study says that texting while operating a motor vehicle forces a motorist to spend 400% more time with his or her eyes off the road—a dangerous practice whenever someone is driving.

In order to send or receive texts, a driver must take one if not both hands off the steering wheel, which can lead to catastrophic North Carolina motor vehicle crashes—especially if he or she has both eyes on his or her cell phone while reading or composing a text message.

Currently, in North Carolina, only minor drivers and school bus drivers are banned from texting while driving. They are also banned from speaking on cell phones any time they are operating a motor vehicle.

Texting while driving is negligent behavior.

N.C. bill would ban texting while driving,, April 16, 2009

Texting While Driving Dangerous To Your Health, RedOrbit, November 2008

Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Driving Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association

National Safety Council

North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm Announces the 2011 Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program Winners

March 1, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

For the ninth year in a row, The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo LLP has awarded 15 high school seniors a $2,500 college scholarship each because of their grades, community involvement, SAT scores, and original presentations educating other teens about the dangers of underage drinking and driving. Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm would like to congratulate:

• Anna Marie DiMeo, Bessamar High School
• Casey Swoope, Central Academy of Technology
• Chelsea Barnes, South View High School
• Christian Payne, Albemarle High School
• Emilia Moncayo, Myers Park High School
• Harrison Brown, West Mecklenburg High School
• Imani Augustus, Ardrey Kell High School
• Jay Johnson, South Caldwell High School
• Kailey Filter, Marvin Ridge High School
• Mark Holcombe, Northwest Cabarrus High School
• Marni Krehnbrink, East Lincoln High School
• Patience Wall, Richmond High School
• Sara Carter, St. Stephens High School
• Savannah Bruns, Fred T. Foard High School
• Zachary Porfiris, Mooresville High School

Visit The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP online to view these students’ winning presentations, which come in various formats (including PowerPoint, brochure, web design, and video).

Although our North Carolina injury lawyers are very familiar with the catastrophic consequences that underage drinking and driving can wreak on the lives of the victims, their family and friends, and the driver, we were stunned to find out that one-third of our scholarship winners have been directly affected by drunk driving.

This year, we received almost 350 scholarship applications and our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident law firm was impressed by the quality of the presentations sent by so many students from the North Carolina and South Carolina counties of Gaston, Mecklenburg, Catawba, Lincoln, Union, Cleveland, Rowan, Stanley, Caldwell, Iredell, Burke, Alexander, Scotland, Robson, Anson, Richmond, Cumberland, Lancaster, York, Marlboro, Chesterfield, and Dillon.

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo remains committed to fighting drunk driving and working with teenagers to discourage them from underage drinking and riving. Each year, we also sponsor the Arrive Alive®: Don’t Drink and Drive! Program. Accompanied by guest speakers, we visit different high schools where we talk to teens about the dangers of drunk driving.

More Blog Posts:

Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Law Firm Invites Local High School Students to Join the Fight Against Underage Drunk Driving and Possibly Win a College Scholarship, North Carolina Car accident Lawyer Blog, January 13, 2011

North Carolina Car Accident Law Firm and Former Winston-Salem TV Anchor Join Forces to Combat Drunk Driving Among Teen Drivers, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 22, 2010

NHTSA Ranks North Carolina and South Carolina as Two US States With Greatest Increase In DUI Deaths, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 2, 2008

FMCSA Approves New Rule Targeting Medically Unfit Truck and Bus Drivers

December 9, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has approved a new rule requiring that the licenses and medical examination certificates of bus drivers and commercial truckers be combined in a single electronic record. This will make it easier to determine whether drivers meet the medical criteria to drive a commercial vehicle. US states have three years to comply with this new rule.

The FMCSA is also proposing creating a medical examiners registry made up of people qualified to medically certify bus drivers and commercial truckers. The administration hopes that making sure that only qualified individuals are allowed to operate such large vehicles will result in greater safety and less truck accidents on US roads.

Unfortunately there are bus operators and tractor-trailer drivers who have suffer from a heart attack, a seizure, lost consciousness, or experienced another serious health emergency while driving. The repercussions of these health problems can be catastrophic for the driver and anyone else involved in the bus or truck accident. Thousands of serious motor vehicle crashes have happened because a bus operator or trucker who shouldn’t have been allowed to operate a commercial vehicle was behind the wheel.

In 1999, 22 people died in a New Orleans bus crash when driver Frank Bedell experienced life-threatening heart and kidney conditions. Despite his poor health, Bedell, 46, had a valid commercial driver’s license and a certificate declaring him medically fit to drive.

Based on a May 2007 – June 2008 study, the Government Accountability Office reported that 536,000 truckers and bus drivers had been issued licenses to operate commercial vehicles even though they qualified for federal medical disability payments. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee also determined that it is very easy for commercial bus operators and truck drivers to obtain a forged medical certificate and that this is a common practice.

2007 Large Truck Facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

• Out of the 2,224 deadly North Carolina motor vehicle crashes that occurred last year, 151 of the collisions involved large trucks.
• In South Carolina, there were 80 deadly large truck crashes in 2007.
• Nationally, more than 100,000 people were injured in large truck collisions.

Rules Target Medically Unfit Truck, Bus Drivers, AP/CBS, December 2, 2008

Rule seeks to help identify unfit truckers, Business Insurance, December 4, 2008

FMCSA Improves Medical Requirements for Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers, FMCSA, December 1, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Final Rule: Medical Certification Requirements as part of CDL Part of the CDL, FMSCA, December 1, 2008

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

North Carolina Car Accidents: Over-Correcting is A Common Cause of Auto Crashes

December 1, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Over-correcting when driving is a common cause of North Carolina car accidents. A driver ends up off the road, overreacts to the situation, and over-corrects in an attempt to avoid causing a motor vehicle crash. Unfortunately, what can end up happening is that by quickly turning the steering wheel to prevent an accident from happening, a single-vehicle rollover or a collision with another motor vehicle can result.

In January, Joseph Gerald Hart, 16, died in a Raleigh head-on collision with a delivery truck. The teen driver had over-corrected after driving off the road. In November 2007, 16-year-old Joel Duran drove off Interstate 40. While over-correcting, his SUV rolled over. Two of his passengers, 23-year-old Elizabeth Arch and 17-year-old Zepherino Duran were ejected from the vehicle.

Zepherino sustained critical injuries and Arch died from hers. Joel has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and manslaughter.

Adults, too, have known to over-correct. The Highway Patrol makes its troopers practice how to reenter the highway safely and correctly.

Last January, a school bus driver who over-corrected struck an SUV, killing its driver. The North Carolina bus driver, Trumeka Deon Wilson, was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

Unfortunately, over-correction and other driving errors can lead to catastrophic North Carolina car accidents that can cause serious injuries or deaths. In these instances, it is time to contact an experienced Raleigh, North Carolina car crash law firm about your case.

Other common mistakes that can lead to catastrophic North Carolina motor vehicle crashes:

• Drowsy driving
• Speeding
• Swerving out of one’s lane. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 15,574 people died in US traffic accidents in 2007 because a driver swerved out of their lane.
• Drunk driving
• Failure to yield
• Running a red light
• Reckless driving
• Not wearing a seat belt

Over-correcting linked to many accidents,, May 21, 2009

Most Lethal Driving Mistakes,

Over Correction- One of the Most Common Mistakes Teens Make,, May 22, 2008

Related Web Resources:
National Highway Traffic Administration

Teen Drivers, CDC

North Carolina Worker Sustains Life-Threatening Injuries After Fall At Charlotte Construction Site

October 6, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A construction worker sustained critical injuries in North Carolina on Saturday after falling from a more than five story height. The work accident occurred at future site of the luxury Vue Condominiums located in uptown Charlotte.

Fall Accidents at Work:
15% of disabling work injuries are a result of fall accidents, slip accidents, and trip accidents. Some 5,100 workers died in fall accidents in 1999.

Kinds of Falls:

Elevated Falls:These happen less often but result in more serious injuries.

Examples of Elevated Falls:
• Falls from the higher levels of a construction project
• Falls from ladders
• Falls from motor vehicles
• Falls from construction equipment, such as cranes and loading docks

Same-Level Falls: These happen more often but result in less severe injuries.

Examples of Same-Level Falls:
• Slip and fall accidents
• Trip and fall accidents
• Step and fall accidents

It is important that construction companies provide workers with the proper safety clothing and gear and that the correct safety procedures are followed on the site. Failure to implement safety measures can lead to catastrophic injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that fall accidents are a leading accidental cause of construction accident deaths.

Worker Critically Injured in 5-Story Fall, Charlotte Observer, October 5, 2008

Man Falls from Uptown Construction Site,, October 4, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Preventing Injuries from Slips, Trips and Falls,

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

AAA Carolinas Says North Carolina Has Eighth Highest Motorcycle Death Rates Among US States

July 30, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

AAA Carolinas says that there were about 190 motorcycle fatalities in North Carolina in 2007. This figure is a significant jump from the 108 motorcycle deaths in 2006, and reportedly ranks North Carolina number 8 among the 10 US states with the most motorcycle deaths each year.

According to AAA Carolinas CEO David E Parsons, the number of motorcycle fatalities in North Carolina has doubled in the past five years. It doesn’t help that the number of people that own motorcycles in the states has grown because of rising gas prices.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcyclist’s chances of dying in a traffic crash is 37% greater than the odds faced by passengers riding in cars. While some accidents occur because of motorcyclist inexperience or error, many catastrophic injury accidents happen because a trucker, a car driver, a bus driver, or another party was negligent. If you or someone you love was injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another person’s negligence or carelessness, our North Carolina motorcycle crash lawyers would like to talk to you.

To prevent injury a motorcyclist on the road, AAA Carolinas offers a number of suggestions to motorists, including:

• Assume that a motorcycle is closer than it appears.
• Give motorcyclists enough room to maneuver.
• Pay attention while driving.
• Obey all traffic signs and signals.
• Do not follow a motorcycle too closely.
• Check blind spots before turning or changing lanes.

You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages.

AAA Warns Of Increasing Motorcycle Death Rates,, July 11, 2008

Multiple motorcycle accidents in New Hanover County leave three dead,, July 29, 2008

Related Web Resources:

AAA Carolinas

Motorcycle Permit, North Carolina DMV

18-Wheeler Tractor-Trailer Crash Claims the Lives of a Firefighter and a Sheriff’s Deputy in North Carolina

June 18, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina sheriff’s deputy Steven Boehm and firefighter Gene Thomas died on Saturday after being struck by an 18-wheeler truck. The fatal accident took place on a coastal highway near a burn site at Marine Corps Base Camp in Oslow County. Bill Hall, a second deputy, sustained minor injuries from the crash.

Reduced visibility, caused by fog and smoke from the burn, may have played a role.
The truck driver, Fayetteville resident Robert Kornegay, was charged with exceeding a safe speed and two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle.

18-wheeler Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Traffic accidents involving 18-wheeler trucks can lead to serious injuries for those involved. If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a collision with an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer in North Carolina or South Carolina, it is important that you hire an experienced truck crash lawyer.

Trucking companies are prepared when it comes to dealing with injury cases, and many of them will aggressively fight to minimize liability. You need a truck collision law firm that is familiar with the state trucking regulations, as well as the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Our North Carolina truck crash attorneys have successfully represented clients with trucking accident claims and lawsuits. You are entitled to financial recovery for your injuries and losses.

Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents include:

• Failure to monitor blind spots
• Driver fatigue
• Break or tire failure
• Unsecured cargo
• Speeding
• Driver inattention
• Reckless or careless driving

Do NOT speak to a truck company representative without your lawyer present. Tractor-trailer accidents are usually catastrophic injury accidents.

Potential defendants in a truck accident case may include the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the tractor-trailer, the truck leasing company, the truck manufacturer, and other liable parties.

NC Deputy and Firefighter Killed in Tractor-trailer Crash,, June 15, 2008

Officer Down: Deputy Sheriff Steve Boehm,, June 14, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Truck Safety Coalition

6-Year-Old North Carolina Girl Paralyzed in Car Crash Is Center of Local Fundraising Efforts

June 12, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Hillsborough, North Carolina, town members are trying to raise funds for Khari Clark-Hester, a 6-year-old girl who is paralyzed from the waist down after she suffered spinal cord and brain injuries during an auto crash on April 10.

Khari sustained these catastrophic injuries when the passenger side of the car she was riding in was hit by a pickup truck. Khari spent several weeks in intensive care at NC Children’s Hospital and was later moved to a rehabilitation center. Her mother and 2-year-old sister were also involved in the crash but are now both fine. Khari needs money to pay for a medical car seat, a wheelchair ramp outside their house, and other medical costs.

In North Carolina and South Carolina, our catastrophic injury lawyers can help you or your injured family member recover personal injury compensation from the negligent party to cover your losses and damages. Catastrophic injuries are often life changing accidents, and living with a TBI or an SCI can be very expensive.

Traumatic Brain Injury
A sudden trauma to the brain can cause a traumatic brain injury. While a mild TBI can result in temporary unconsciousness, headaches, dizziness, or blurred vision, a more person with a serious TBI may experience convulsions, seizures, permanent brain damage, or fall into a coma or brain death.

Spinal Cord Injuries
A severe blow that dislocates or fractures the spine can lead to a spinal cord injury. An SCI patient may experience loss of sensation, sexual dysfunction, respiratory problems, loss of movement, including paralysis, and other serious health problems.

Our North Carolina auto accident lawyers know how to prove that a negligent motorist or another liable party caused your catastrophic injuries. We will zealously pursue your recovery. Our personal injury lawyers have successfully obtained compensation for the families of minors seriously injured in auto crashes.

Community unites to help accident victim, The Daily Tar Heel, June 12, 2008

Town rallies for injured girl, The Chapel Hill News

Related Web Resources:

Spinal cord injury, MayoClinic

Traumatic Brain Injury

North Carolina Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against City of Fayetteville, Drunk Driver, and Several Others After Daughter is Killed in DWI Motor Vehicle Accident

May 27, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of Emily Elizabeth May, a Raleigh, North Carolina resident who died in a DWI auto crash last year, is suing the city of Fayetteville, Emily’s friend Danielle Polumbo, ACS State & Local Solutions Inc., Carolina Hospitality of Florida, Fayetteville Miyabi Inc., and Linden resident Brandi Reaves for wrongful death.

May died on May 17, 2007 while riding in a vehicle driven by Polumbo. According to the North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit, the two girls had dinner at Miyabi Kyoto Japanese Steak and Seafood House before proceeding to Secrets Cabaret. Carolina Hospitality owns the nightclub. Polumbo drank alcohol at both spots, even though she was just 20-years-old. The lawsuit alleges that at the club, Reaves, who knew Polumbo, served her a number of drinks.

Soon after leaving the nightclub, Polumbo ran into the red-light camera pole, which is run by ACS and the city of Fayetteville. The camera dropped onto the car and struck May.

May’s family alleges that mounting the camera, which weighed several hundred pounds, on a pole that was designed to “break away” when impacted created an unsafe condition that placed drivers and others on Bragg Boulevard at risk of serious personal injury during a motor vehicle accident.

After the accident, Polumbo’s blood-alcohol level registered at .17%, which is more than double the .08% drunk driving limit. Earlier this year, she pled guilty to reckless driving, DWI, driving after consuming alcohol while under the age of 21, and felony death by vehicle. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation.

May’s family is asking for over $10,000 in wrongful death-related damages.

Catastrophic motor vehicle accidents can be complex injury or wrongful death cases that require the skills and knowledge of an experienced North Carolina wrongful death lawyer. In certain instances, more than one negligent party may have contributed to causing the deadly accident. Our North Carolina wrongful death lawyers know how to prove liability so that we can claim damages from all responsible parties.

We can gather evidence, call on accident reconstruction experts, and work with medical experts that can explain how the injury wounds were caused by the accident. We will zealously pursue your wrongful death recovery.

May family files lawsuit in fatal DWI,, May 16, 2008

North Carolina Drunk Driving Law,

North Carolina Drunk Driving Statistics, Alcohol

Boston Scientific Sued for Wrongful Death Caused By Defective Cardiac Defibrillator

May 20, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of a man who died after he was implanted with a cardiac defibrillator is suing Boston Scientific for his wrongful death. They allege that the defibrillator was defective and caused his death. Boston Scientific used to be called Guidant Corp. Also named as defendants in the products liability lawsuit are Guidant Puerto Rico Corp. and Guidant Sales Corp.

Joseph Robert was implanted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), a Medtronic InSync Sentry defibrillator with Guidant leads, on October 26, 2000. This device is designed to monitor the person’s heart and when there is rapid, abnormal heart rhythm, the ICD is supposed to send energy to the heart muscle so that the heart can beat at a normal rate again.

In 2005, Roberts was admitted to a hospital for an ICD upgrade to a Vitality 2 biventricular automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. His original ICD was being replaced because it had been found defective and dangerous. Roberts died nearly three weeks after the second device was implanted.

Patsy Roberts, one of the plaintiffs in this products liability wrongful death case, says that in 2007, she found out that Boston Scientific recalled the Vitality 2 because it was considered dangerous and defective also.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants were grossly negligent and engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, breach of express warranties, breach of continuing duty to warn, breach of implied warrant of fitness, and breach of warrant of merchantability. They also say that the defendants violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.

They are asking for damages for Joseph’s pain, suffering, and mental trauma before he died, as well as for their own pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of affection, grief, and other associated costs.

In North Carolina and South Carolina, our defective medical device lawyers have represented victims and their families whose lives have been catastrophically affected by a defective Guidant cardiac defibrillator. We believe that manufacturers of defective medical devices and the other liable parties should be held financially liable for your pain, suffering, and associated costs.

Wrongful death suit filed against Boston Scientific over cardiac defibrillator, Southeast Texas Record, April 21, 2008

Sudden Cardiac Deaths, Get the Facts 2006,

Related Web Resources:

Boston Scientific

FDA: Some Guidant Defibrillators Recalled, WebMD, June 17, 2005


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