Thousands of NC employers dodge worker's compensation requirement

Apparently a whole lot of employers believe in ghosts:

Others, such as Worrell, manipulate the law. They buy a ghost policy, a package designed only for one-person operations with no employees as a fail-safe in case they hire someone during the course of the year. The state Industrial Commission, which decides disputed workers’ compensation cases, sees these policies for how they’re more commonly used: a way to pretend coverage exists when it doesn’t.

Of course, knowing employers are skirting the law and actually doing something about it are two totally different things, at least in this right-to-be-paralyzed-on-the-job state:

Clementé Hernandez Gonzalez, a longtime employee of Worrell Construction Co., severely injured his spinal cord in March 2009 after another employee fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked the company vehicle. Gonzalez feels nearly nothing from the chest down; experts predict a lifetime of care will cost nearly $8 million.

Gonzalez, 39, has yet to receive a single check. More than a quarter-million dollars in medical bills at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville have not been paid. If the policies had been clear and complete, the insurer would have likely settled within months instead of litigating for years, and Gonzalez would have gotten needed care quickly.

Somebody send a memo to the N&O: If you want the current General Assembly to take steps on this issue, don't feature a Mexican victim in your story, go with a bearded Billy Ray or Earl, or someone with a nickname like "Coot" or "Lumpy"...