New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. today reported that New York City paid $567.9 million in settlements and judgments for personal injury, property damage and law claims in Fiscal Year 2008, an increase from $558.3 million in Fiscal Year 2007.
“While my office has been successful in implementing creative strategies to reduce claim settlement costs, these costs still account for more than half a billion dollars of the City’s budget each fiscal year,” Thompson said. “My office will continue to work with agencies to find new ways to further mitigate claims costs.”
The report, which can be viewed at www.comptroller.nyc.gov, also notes that the total number of new claims filed in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 was 26,798, which represents the second highest number of claims filed since 1999. The increase in the filings appears to be due to a large number of property damage claims filed as a result of two storms that caused significant sewer overflow-related damage.
In FY 2007, 27,565 new claims were filed, the highest number in the last ten years. The high number of claims was due to the filing of more than 4,000 claims related to injuries claimed by those working at or near the World Trade Center site after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
Since taking office in January 2002, Thompson has created and expanded initiatives to reduce claims costs to the City. One of the most successful has been the early settlement of meritorious claims, which has resulted in savings to the City by avoiding costly litigation and unpredictable outcomes. As a result of early settlements, the City saved nearly $30 million in costs in FYs 2007 and 2008.