Before beginning, let me say that my thoughts and prayers are with the firends and family members of Don Hughes and all of Ameirca's Finest and Bravest who put their lives on the line for our safety every day.
Last week, Mr. Hughes was working in his capacity as a Volunteer Firefighter for the town of West End, NC when the fire engine he was in overturned and left him paralyzed. It appears that there is a 5% chance he will ever walk again. Thankfully, Mr. Hughes will get workers' compensation benefits. He should receive a weekly check and his medical bills should be covered by the workers' comp insurance carrier holding the policy for West End.
What's troubling is that the current push for "reform" in NC would severely limit benefits for folks like Mr. Hughes and his family. A cap at 500 weeks for benefits with no provision to help those with a catastrophic injury has the potential for devestating losses. Don Hughes is 42 years old. A cap of 500 weeks of benefits would put an end to his getting any help from workers' comp when he is only 51 years old. With a 500 week cap, people with sever injuries like this would then have to look to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to get the medical treatment he needs and to get some money to support his family. At this point, the burden shifts from the insurance company that is truly responsible for taking care of the Hughes family to the taxpayers of NC.
Essentially, big business gets another bailout at the expense of the taxpayers, this is absolutely wrong. We need to stand up for our police officers and firefighters to make sure that they do not have their rights gouged so that big business can pocket a few extra bucks.
Please call or write to your State Representative and the Governor's Office. Let them know that you do not support any reform that will take away the rights of injured workers.