Over the past year, the city of Baltimore has seen a record number of work-related injury claims. Eighty percent of the claims were filed by personnel in four agencies: police, fire, public works and public schools. Those claims also accounted for 90.3 percent of all money paid to injured workers.
There was a jump of 55 percent in injury claims over the performance targets set by the city. This led to around $14 million more paid out in injury claims than was expected.
The agency with the largest increase in work-related injuries was the Baltimore Police Department. For the fiscal year 2015, 1,136 claims were filed that cost the city $16.6 million. The expenses, both current and future, included medical and hospital costs, rehabilitation, disability benefits and accident. The police department claims for 2014 resulted in $12.9 million paid out for 990 claims.
According to officials with the Finance Department, the increase in claims could be attributed to the civic unrest after Freddie Gray died in custody in April 2015. The audit data compiled by Robert McCarty, Jr, the city auditor, showed 179 claims directly related to the disturbances.
The number of claims was lower than those in 2014 without those claims. However, the costs for injury claims in 2015 were still about $2 million more than 2014 if the disturbance claims were removed.
Robert Pearre Jr., the city’s chief waste and fraud investigator, issued a report on what is called “uniform fraud.” That term refers to false applications in the fire and police departments for disability retirement and workers’ compensation.
No matter what the costs, if you are injured at work, you are entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim. Should your claim be denied, an attorney can help you pursue the benefits you need and deserve.
Source: Baltimore Brew, “Injury claims by employees cost Baltimore $39 million last year,” Mark Reutter, Oct. 06, 2016