Baltimore City leads the state in awarding workman's compensation

November 20, 2012|By Luke Broadwater | The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore City leads the state in the number of payouts for workman's compensation claims.

Between January 2011 and June 2012, Baltimore awarded 2,173 payouts to workers for a total of $28 million. The average award for the city was $12,800, and the most frequent injuries were back problems. That's according to a new book of workers' compensation data called "The Comp Pinkbook."

Lawyer Byron B. Warnken, founder of 27Legal LLC, created the Comp Pinkbook by using a computer program to scrape public data from the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission's database.

The state of Maryland paid out 1,823 claims — the second highest number — for $28.8 million. Prince George's County paid out 1,019 claims for $15.1 million, and Montgomery County paid out 812 awards for $10.8 million. And, the Maryland Transit Administration paid out 437 awards for $5 million.

The top private employers were Giant Food (384 payouts for $8 million), Walmart (148 awards for $2.1 million) and Verizon (101 payouts for $2.1 million).

"Transparency on a government level is important," Warnken said.

He plans to do similar "scraping" projects on other sites, including Case Search, the Maryland judiciary's searchable archive of criminal, civil and traffic cases, he said.

Maryland Workers Compensation Commission Chairman R. Karl Aumann said he had concerns about the accuracy of the Comp Pinkbook. "I'm leery of using scripting programs to get information out of the database," he said.

The Workers Comp database does not compile the data the way the Comp Pinkbook does. The database can only be searched for individual cases.

"We reported what they reported," Warnken countered. "This is the public citizen's data. It was available on the web. I took it and published it. It is 100 percent accurate."

—Luke Broadwater

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