Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

The Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability Group of Sellers, Ayers, Dortch and Lyons.

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City extends North Carolina workers' comp claims to volunteers

About 70 miles east of Charlotte sits the small city famous for racing: Rockingham, North Carolina. Though the Rockingham Speedway has closed, racing fans still hold fond memories of the many NASCAR events that roared there.

Despite the track's closure, the seat of Richmond County still hosts public events, of course. (The first annual Boston Butt Cook-Off was held recently.) The events require the help of volunteer police officers for crowd control, traffic safety, etc. With all of that in mind, Rockingham's city council recently voted to extend to auxiliary officers North Carolina workers' compensation benefits.

It is not an insignificant benefit, that's for sure. Those volunteers help the city hold functions that make the city of 9,000-plus an attractive place to live and visit. And their willingness to donate their time means the city can host those events without dipping into limited taxpayer funds.

According to a news media report, the city's police chief said there are six volunteer officers with the department. All of them have from 5 to 12 years of experience in helping the paid police officers with emergencies and, of course, lending a hand at city events.

Some of our readers know that volunteer police officers and firefighters are subject to the same hiring standards as their paid counterparts, and are also at risk of suffering the same kinds of on-the-job injuries. That means they will incur the same medical bills for treatment and rehab as regular cops and firefighters.

It is a big step in the right direction for these reserve police officers to be granted the workers' comp benefits they richly deserve.

The impact these volunteers have on their communities cannot be measured in dollars alone. The Rockingham City Council has done well to cover their auxiliary officers.

Of course, if and when an injured officer puts in a workers' comp claim, he or she might well find what so many others have before: even the most deserving claims can be rejected. In those cases, injured workers can speak with an attorney experienced in workers' comp appeals.

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