Opinion

Juliene McCovey: Cheated out of money by Hoopa Valley Tribe





Juliene McCovey says the Hoopa Valley Tribe of California received $400,000 in insurance payments for an accident she suffered:
While fighting the Meagram Fire in 1999, I was badly injured on Denny Road when the fire truck I was a passenger in, a foaming unit, drove off the bank. The driver, a fellow firefighter, fell asleep at the wheel after working too many days past his allowable shift. Firefighters are allowed to work 21 days before they are required to take two days of “R & R”. He worked 22 days straight on a different fire and then came directly to the Meagram without the required R & R.

I recall rolling down a steep embankment, watching glass shatter. I bent in half over my seatbelt which is what I believe caused my lower back injury.

I suffered broken ribs, lower back injury and a broken neck. I’m permanently disabled and continue to suffer from chronic pain. I can no longer walk normally and I’m not able to work as a result of this accident. While going through the lengthy process of applying for permanent disability, I learned that the Hoopa Tribe had received three large workman’s compensation payments on my behalf.

I received about $700 in temporary disability insurance payments in 1999, but according the social security records I have received more than $400,000 in insurance compensation for the accident. I have not received this money and the insurance company, Tristar, says they paid it to the Hoopa Valley Tribe. When I ask the Tribe about the money they seemed puzzled.

Get the Story:
Juliene McCovey: Unjustly Unpaid (The Two Rivers Tribune 2/18)