Chicago’s Chief Financial Officer announced that city employee workers’ compensation claims have fallen dramatically over the past two years.
City Employee Claims Down 30 Percent
In June 2019, the City of Chicago hired an outside firm, Gallagher Bassett, to administer its workers’ compensation claims. Incoming Mayor Lori Lightfoot had characterized Chicago’s $100 million-per-year workers’ compensation program as so loosely run that it was “ripe for corruption.” She accused Ald. Edward Burke, who had long administered the program, of allowing 1,300 “open” claims to accumulate, costing the city nearly $300 million.
At the time, more than 600 of those claims were at least a decade old. Mayor Lightfoot said the City of Chicago should have tried to settle open city employee workers’ compensation claims and either bring the employees back to work or terminate them.
On Nov. 2, 2021, Chicago Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett delivered a progress report on the city’s workers’ compensation system during a luncheon address at the City Club of Chicago.
According to Bennett, the program has experienced significant savings during Gallagher Bassett’s tenure. She said the source of much of the savings was a “nurse triage system.” Under this system, city employees or workers’ compensation attorneys who attempt to file a claim must speak with a nurse who walks them “through the incident” in order to “help determine whether a claim was needed.”
“This process alone [produced] a 30-percent reduction in incidents being converted to claims,” said Bennett.
Other Savings in Claims Against the City of Chicago
Bennett pointed to additional savings in workers’ compensation and other claims against the City of Chicago, stating that “The city also increased closure of non-litigated claims by 10 percent, reduced days an employee was off work by nine days, reduced the overall claims litigated by 12 percent, and reduced the average cost of medical treatment by 8 percent.”
Bennett further claimed that an “enterprise risk management system” was chipping away at the tens of millions of dollars that taxpayers spend each year on settlements and judgments.
“Examples of efficiencies in this area include creating a new driving training [program] for police officers, as well as changes to the policy to reduce the incidences of car crashes, which cost the city $22 million over the course of three years,” Bennett said.
She added that “The city also put in place an after-action review for litigation to conduct a root cause analysis on how to improve internal city processes to prevent future settlements and judgments.”
How an Attorney Can Help Your Claim
The process by which city employee workers’ compensation claims are administered has undergone a significant overhaul in Chicago. While changes in the system could potentially create obstacles for injured public workers, knowledgeable legal representation can help them obtain the benefits they are owed. For this reason, thousands of injured employees over the years have turned to the workers’ compensation attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLCC
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury law firms in Illinois. Our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys have helped employees in practically every profession who have been hurt in nearly every type of circumstance. GWC has the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation necessary to get you and your family the justice you deserve.
If you have been injured while working for the City of Chicago, contact GWC today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.