Photo: Rich Evers (Flickr)
State Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Tuesday settlement offers have been extended to victims of the state fair stage collapse.
Zoeller’s office, along with help from consultants and attorneys for the victims, created criteria for distributing the maximum $5 million from the state’s tort claim fund.
The seven people who died as a result of the collapse will each receive at least $300 thousand. After that, 58 other surviving victims who were among the most seriously injured will be compensated for up to 65 percent of their submitted medical expenses. Zoeller says he is hopeful that, because of the tort claim cap, most of the victims will accept the settlement, rather than go to court.
“They need relief now, so years of litigation to decide who’s at fault would give them no more funds than I can offer now,” he says.
Kenneth J. Allen represents several of the victims, including some of the deceased. He says the settlement offers were made far too soon, without considering enough information.
“They continue with the same pattern of careless, thoughtless behavior in saying, ‘We’re going to distribute this money now and, regardless of who has future consequences, take it or leave it, and if you leave it, you may not get anything,’” he says.
Victims have until December 12 to agree to the settlement. Any unclaimed money will then be redistributed among the victims that agreed to the settlement, according to the same protocol. Allen says he believes the protocol is unconstitutional and is counting on a judge to halt distribution until court proceedings are decided.