County sees jump in injury claims

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
More than a dozen on-the-job injuries have almost doubled the county’s workmen’s compensation claims.
In a typical year, the county’s workmen’s comp claims total $300,000 to $400,000.
Finance Director Leslie Heidrick said the cost this year will likely be more than $700,000.
“It’s been a bad year,” County Manager Gary Page told the Rowan County Board of Commissioners Monday night.
The county’s workmen’s comp program is self-insured up to $250,000 per claim. At that point a commercial catastrophe policy kicks in.
Workmen’s comp pays both the medical costs and lost wages.
None of the current crop of claims has hit the $250,000 threshold. Instead, the costs have run between $20,000 and $160,000.
Ken Deal, director of administration, said several of the claims involve deputies, including one who was in a car accident.
Other claims involve employees in other departments, including emergency services and the library.
Several of the claims involved back injuries.
In some cases the injury occurred a year or more ago.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioner approved a budget amendment transferring $138,000 from the workmen’s comp fund balance to cover added expenses.
The county had already budgeted $682,000 for the current year.
Overall, officials said the fund balance for workmen’s comp should be $1.1 million on June 30 รณ without additional major claims.
The county budgeted $577,000 to settle claims in 2008.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.