Charlotte, NC: For a handful of dollars, you can top up your motor vehicle accident insurance and protect yourself, your family and your future from financial ruin. Unfortunately, by the time many Americans realize they should have bumped up their coverage, it is too late. "They're depressed, they're angry and frustrated," says attorney Michael DeMayo. "Not only do they have no control over the extent and severity of their injuries, but they are being told that the person who caused the accident doesn't have enough to pay their medical bills."
In most states, drivers are required to carry only a minimum of liability insurance—usually about $30,000. DeMayo says that amount is nowhere near enough to compensate innocent drivers with serious injuries. "I have people who are killed and their recovery is $30,000, I have people with $250,000 in medical bills and a brain injury and their recovery is $30,000," says DeMayo. "I see it daily. Inadequate insurance is the biggest problem that people who have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident have."
An Unenviable Task
An experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney, DeMayo often has the unenviable task of telling people the other driver was either underinsured or even uninsured. "They have done nothing wrong. They were living their life and obeying the rules. Then all of a sudden their life is wrenched out of their hands through no fault of their own."
In DeMayo's opinion, protecting yourself against underinsured or uninsured drivers is critical. A top-rated personal injury and wrongful death attorney, DeMayo hands out pamphlets on the subject to everyone who walks into his office and regularly speaks out on the topic. "The difference between me setting a client on a path to recovery, rehabilitation and adapting their housing needs," says DeMayo, "is often a significant under or uninsured policy. Generally it is not going be enough money to get their basic needs seen to."
DeMayo says the best way to protect yourself and your family is to top your own insurance policy. "Otherwise," he says, "you're rolling the dice."
What Insurance Companies Don't Tell You
According to DeMayo, most insurance companies do not tell you how easy and inexpensive it is to boost your insurance. In DeMayo's home state of North Carolina increasing your coverage from $30,000 to $300,000 would add about $100 a year to your premium. "You are saying, 'If I am out there on the roadway I am going to make sure that my family is protected regardless of what the person who causes the accident does to me'."
Over the last 15 years, DeMayo's North Carolina firm has handled 30,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases. A passionate, articulate lawyer with a sturdy reputation for standing by his clients and giving back to his community, DeMayo almost pleads with people to protect themselves in case of serious injury accidents.
After law school, DeMayo started out working for insurance companies. "I knew I couldn't keep saying 'No, it is not our fault, no we are not going to pay', that's not why I became a lawyer. I like fighting Goliath and tilting at windmills," says DeMayo.
Michael A. DeMayo was born in 1965 in Silver Spring, Maryland. He graduated cum laude in 1987 and received his B.A. from Wake Forest University. He was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar after completing law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. DeMayo has offices in Charlotte, Hickory and Munroe, North Carolina. He is also fluent in Spanish.