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Oak Island Woman Fights State For Workers' Compensation

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RALEIGH — An Oak Island rescue worker says she is being denied workers' compensation for injuries suffered following Hurricane Floyd.

Jill Ward broke her back in two places after she flipped in a Humvee, but the town of Oak Island will not pay. The town says Ward was volunteering for her old rescue squad, which will not pay workers' compensation either.

The squad says she resigned as a volunteer when she went to work full time with Oak Island, adding that she was taking an unnecessary trip on the Humvee.

"She was engaged in a joyride that evening outside the scope and course of her employment. This should be covered by health insurance, not by Worker's Comp insurance," says Chris Mewborn, the town's attorney.

"I figured they'd be more supportive than they have," Ward says. "Now, I don't do anything, I mean, I sit at home ... I don't have any money, so it's not like we can go out and do stuff like we used to."

Ward is appealing a prior ruling in favor of the rescue squads. She says she will take her case to the state Supreme Court if necessary.