Posted on Jan 26, 2011
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission said last week that it will launch a fraud investigation into workers’ comp claims coming out of the Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois. According to research done by Illinois newspaper the News-Democrat, more than half of the prison’s maximum security staff – 389 people – have successfully sought workers’ compensation in the last two years and that 290 more cases were currently pending.

While some claims involve falls on the job or other injuries, he majority of the workers’ comp claims involve injuries due to the repetitive stress of opening and closing prison cell doors – usually carpal tunnel syndrome. Even the warden has successfully filed a $75,000 workers’ comp claim for that ailment. Some prison guards received as much as $100,000 for carpal tunnel injuries that involved surgery and complications.

All in all, the State of Illinois has paid out over $10 million to the employees of this one prison alone – leading many to believe that something at the correctional facility is not going right. An investigation by the state would not only look into whether or not the majority of these claims are valid, but also into how repetitive injuries such as carpal tunnel can be stopped in the workplace.

An initial investigation has already revealed that many of the cases were handled by the same workers’ comp attorney and by the same judge. The vast majority of the cases for carpal tunnel were approved.

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