Former Corrales cop advocating for reformed worker's comp | KOB 4
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Former Corrales cop advocating for reformed worker's comp

Kasia Gregorczyk
December 03, 2017 10:38 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Retired Albuquerque police officer Lou Golson isn't the only local law enforcement officer nearly killed in the line of duty, only to end up hurting in an entirely different way. 

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Financial and worker's comp troubles have also followed former Corrales police officer Jeremy Romero.

It was a high-speed car chase back in early 2014 that nearly claimed then-Corrales police officer Romero's life, but it didn't.

“We believed at the time that if something were to happen to us, we would be taken care of and, really, that's not the case,” he said.

Romero was seriously injured that day and told he'd likely never walk again.

While he's made incredible strides over the years, he said he feels abandoned and betrayed by a system that should be protecting him. He says everything started going downhill when he started getting piles of medical bills.

Romero has had to retain a lawyer during the last two years and here's why. Surgeries that doctors say are beneficial for Romero's long-term recovery – including remedying his recent hip pain – aren't so easily approved by workman's comp.

“I was immediately denied by my workman's compensation, and therefore once I receive a denial it goes to the workman's comp judge," he said. "It will take anywhere from one to six months to see a workman’s comp judge on my complaint.”

Meanwhile, as Romero waits, his condition worsens, as does the pain.

Even so, he considers himself luckier than most in his situation. He says his wife's insurance supplements his own.

Romero has used his struggle and his story to inspire others, which has led to getting in touch with organizations like the Wounded Officers Initiative. Its goal is to help develop national programs to address the long-term needs of wounded law enforcement officers who cannot return to work.

Romero believes the entire workman's comp system should be overhauled, but his next step is getting the attention of lawmakers in hopes our state's laws can at least be amended to further protect those hurt on the job.

He plans to speak during the 2018 legislative session.

“I’m going to continue to fight for injured workers, not only in the state of New Mexico but nationwide," he said. "I’m going to continue to be an advocate for people with mental and physical disabilities as well."

Credits

Kasia Gregorczyk

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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