2005_12_3_settlementstats.jpg

Excuse us while we geek out on you for a second. So the office of Comptroller Thompson released it's annual claims report for the 2004 fiscal year yesterday and it is chock full o' fun numbers which will be feeding news story statistics for the next year.

When looking at them the Daily News focused on the $68.2 million a year the city spent paying off sidewalk slip and fall claims in 2004. That's an average of $30,637 for the 2,226 cases resolved during the reported period. However, those numbers should fall dramatically soon since Mayor Bloomberg pushed through Local Law 49 in 2003. That Law puts much of the future sidewalk slip and fall liability on the shoulders of property owners, not the city.

While the News focuses on one set of numbers, the Post looks at the big picture (i.e. LAWSUITS $OCK CITY FOR HALF-BIL!) and actually digs up some fun, Post-y, stuff:

* Bronx residents had 1,962 personal-injury claims settled for $148.5 million, yet Brooklyn residents who filed 3,354 got settlements totaling $143.6 million.
* Ninety-five cases were resolved for over $1 million, and 42 involved medical malpractice at city facilities.
*The highest such settlement was $5.5 million, in the case of a woman who suffered brain damage while giving birth.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg in this Report. Seriously. Did you know that Property Damage claims (that's damage to personal property due to the City's negligence) against the city went up 6% in 2004? Or that the City shelled out $37.1 million dealing with claims against the Department of Education? How about the fact that since February 2004 the city has been using an Internet-based settlement tool called Cybersettle. Apparently it implements a "double-blind negotiation process" and has saved the city enough money that "plans include the expanded use of Cybersettle by placing Cybersettle kiosks in courthouses." Yeah, we didn't know any of that either. Which is why we recommend looking around in this chart-filled report.

Chart from the Comptroller's Report.