More Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Claims in Government Jobs
Posted on Sep 10, 2013
New Orleans has already faced a tight fiscal year. Now, there is a new challenge on the horizon for this major city; an increase in Louisiana workers’ compensation claims has inflated payments by an estimated $8 million.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his budget director, Cary Grant, told the City Council that they expect payments for workers’ compensation claims to increase from $16 million in 2012 to $24 million in 2013. These claims come primarily from firefighters hurt on the job.
There is no working theory as to why there is such a dramatic increase in these claims. The city has said that they hired a forensic auditing firm from Sacramento, California, to look into the spike.
At our Lake Charles workers’ compensation law office, we were surprised to hear that New Orleans currently has approximately 1,000 outstanding workers’ compensation claims. More than 75 percent of these come from the Fire Department.
To help overcome this large increase in firefighter workers’ compensation claims, the city is developing a light-duty program to help firefighters return to work after an injury. These jobs can include teaching fire prevention tactics or handling administrative functions. According to city council member Susan Guidry, the decision was an easy one, and not one that needed to be studied too closely. Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Courtney Bagneris agreed with Councilwoman Guidry.
As the program continues to roll out, and the increase in workers’ compensation claims is investigated, all eyes are on the audit reports. These reports are expected to come out by mid-October.