Tripping, falling, and insurance claims

Data shows few insurance claims against city. Payouts from 2022 to 2021: $319,484

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I’ve wanted to research trip and fall injuries in Seal Beach for years. The subject recently became personal.

I tripped over a curb in the Seal Beach Police Department parking lot on Friday, Aug. 5. Cracked a lens in my glasses. Hurt both my arms; the right arm got the worst of it. I allowed paramedics (who happened to be present for the National Night Out/SBPD Open House) to take a look. They didn’t think my arm was broken. A kindly Lion gave me a ride home.

No, I’m not going to file a claim against the city. It’d be a conflict of interest. I’d rather keep covering the city government. I mention this experience as a reminder to readers (and myself) that trip and fall injuries are a serious issue, but only a fraction of falls result in claims.

Earlier this year, I asked the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority for slip-and-fall data in Seal Beach from Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021.

Joint Powers Insurance Authority that seemed like the best source for the data. Slips without injuries and trips with minor injuries were unlikely to be reported and would not cost the public money.

According to the CJPIA, there were 38 slip-and-fall claims filed against Seal Beach during the years 2002-2003 to 2021-2021. (That was more data than I requested. I consider myself lucky if I get as much as I request.)

According to the Excel spreadsheet the JPIA sent me, that’s an average of 2.7 trip-and-fall claims a year from 2002-2003 to 2021-2021.

How much money did these claims cost?

“Regarding claims, total closed claims for Seal Beach between 2002 and 2021 equaled $319,484,” according to a July 13 email from Olga Berdial, JPIA’s communications director.

To put that in perspective, the city budgeted $1,254,300 for general liability, that is the annual insurance premium in the 2021-22 budget.

According to Berdial, there is a white paper on managing the risk of slip and fall injuries. However, that document is available to members of the JPIA.

I’ve requested city of Seal Beach emails to the JPIA that address efforts to minimize the slip-and-fall risks to Seal Beach. At the request of the City Clerk’s Office, I narrowed my record request to a 90-day period.

In a July 15 email, the City Clerk’s Office wrote: “The City of Seal Beach has determined that additional time is required to properly review and respond to your request for public records. Government Code Section 6253(c) permits this extended period, however the City endeavors to provide all requests promptly.”

In a July 15 email, the City Clerk’s Office wrote: “The City of Seal Beach has determined that additional time is required to properly review and respond to your request for public records. Government Code Section 6253(c) permits this extended period, however the City endeavors to provide all requests promptly.”

As of Monday, Aug. 8, the city is still working on my request. I’ll let you know when I have more information.

My kingdom for ink

I carry six pens in a pocket protector at all times. Not counting the pens and back up note pads in my jacket.

During the July 25 City Council meeting, three of my pens ran out of ink. Fortunately, I carry at least six pens with me most of the time.

I will no longer tolerate ridicule on this matter.

Charles M. Kelly is associate editor of the Sun Newspapers. He’s also a grouch.

Tripping, falling, and insurance claims