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Letter: Workers' compensation just not working

On June 21, 2006 I was working in the oil patch when I injured my right wrist and hand as well as my neck and upper back.

Since then, I've developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, an incurable condition that causes constant, excruciating pain. Workforce Safety and Insurance pretended my condition resolved and cut off my benefits. It didn't resolve and it doesn't look like it ever will.

I thought that when control of WSI was returned to Gov. Hoeven, injured workers would begin seeing fair treatment. I though that when Gov. Hoeven appointed Bryan Klipfel, a former superintendent of the Highway Patrol, to be in charge of WSI, we'd see some changes made. I was wrong. My letters still go unanswered. My phone calls still aren't returned.

A refugee from some other part of the world can get thousands of dollars each month in benefits yet an injured worker in North Dakota can't get the help he needs. I earned about $65,000 per year when I was working. I'd be making at least that much if I hadn't been hurt on the job. The Social Security Administration says I'm totally disabled but WSI and the governor's office just ignore me.

North Dakota workers put themselves in harm's way every day. Whether you're an oilfield worker, CNA, truck driver or something entirely different, you need a workers' compensation that actually works and you need elected officials who actually support legitimately injured workers. You don't need more empty promises.

North Dakota's workers' compensation system is broken and it's up to the voters to fix it. I thought giving Gov. Hoeven control would take care of the problem but it hasn't. We need a new bunch of politicians who understand the needs of working men and women and we need a government that works for us, not against us.

Newman Power, Ray