WEYMOUTH (CBS) – Michael Carfagna of Weymouth nearly died after being hit by a drunk driver while walking along a sidewalk in Weymouth back in 2016.
He spent months in the hospital recovering from a long list of injuries.
“I suffered brain hemorrhage, was in a coma five weeks, severed aorta, broken diaphragm, broken leg and a replaced knee,” he said.
Unable to work, Carfagna applied to the Victims of Violent Crime fund. It’s a program administered by the Attorney General’s office designed to help victims cover things like medical bills and lost wages but he was denied. He spent nearly two years trying to appeal that decision with no luck.
Carfagna’s situation was complicated. He was scheduled to start work at Walmart the day after he was hit, so he had no pay stubs to show his lost wages.
The Attorney General’s office told the I-Team they got no response from Walmart when they reached out about Carfagna’s case, so they denied his claim. Walmart told us they never heard from the Attorney General about Carfagna’s case.
When Carfagna told us he felt like he was being victimized all over again, we took a closer look at the law. We discovered that a victim can be compensated for lost wages if he or she had a bona fide job offer, which Michael had.
With that information we again contacted Walmart. The company immediately responded, giving Carfagna a letter confirming that he was hired to work full time.
The Attorney General reopened his claim and is paying Michael more than $6,500.
“It should be a lot easier to get help,” Michael said.
Senator Patrick O’Connor agrees. The lawmaker helped get Carfagna health and disability benefits after his accident. He believes the victims fund may be too restrictive and wants a board to review the eligibility criteria.
The drunk driver who hit Carfagna got two years in jail, while the 39-year-old father, who has a young child to support, is permanently disabled.
“I’m trying to put my life back together. Every day is a struggle,” he said.
According to the Attorney General, the money in the fund comes from fines criminal defendants pay. They say on average every year more than thousand victims are paid more than a $3 million.