Sonic Worker Injured During Robbery Denied Benefits Claim

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Michael Lartique Wayne Sonic worker broken legBy Susanna Kim

An employee of a Sonic drive-in restaurant in the Houston area claims he was denied health coverage for a broken leg he received when the restaurant was robbed. Michael Lartique Wayne Jr., 25, worked for Sonic for 2½ years when the restaurant in Humble, Texas, was robbed by two men last month.

Lartique Wayne said that one of the robbers pulled his leg through a door to keep him from moving to protect a co-worker. "The next thing I know my leg was just swelling," Lartique told ABC affiliate KTRK in Houston.

The robbers got away with $200 in cash and left him with a broken femur, which may need surgery. The problem is Lartique Wayne doesn't have health insurance and Sonic has opted out of the state's workers comp plan, KTRK reported.

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Through Sonic's workers comp plan, Lartique Wayne's claim was denied because he failed a mandatory drug screen. He said that he smoked marijuana a few days before the robbery, and that showed up in a mandated drug test after the robbery took place. He said he wasn't under the influence when the robbery took place and he had nothing to do with it.

Sonic said that the company has been trying to reach him, but he has not returned calls. Lartique Wayne said that he hasn't heard from the company since the week after the robbery, and his mother may have spoken with an attorney.

"While not possible under the plan, our franchisee, because they care about their employees, is open to paying medical bills for Michael," said Patrick Lenow, vice president over public relations at Sonic, in a statement. "Repeated calls to speak with Michael, to assist in the investigation, have not been returned. Michael has retained an attorney and this may be why he has not communicated with the franchisee. We continue to have hope that this can be resolved."

In the meantime, Lartique Wayne is stuck in a cast and he doesn't have an income. He said that he can't put pressure on his leg, which still causes him pain. "I'm trying to get my leg working to look for a better job," he said.

When asked what kind of job he was looking for, he said "something that's not fast food."




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