Indiana stage collapse victims to share $5M

Some victims suing to get cap lifted

December 7, 2011

(AP photo)
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

The State of Indiana will soon be allocating funds to victims of last summer’s stage collapse in Indianapolis.

But there’s a limit to how much each will get.

Indiana state law caps the state’s liability to $5 million regardless on the number of victims. That means, of the seven people who died following the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair, their families will receive $300-thousand dollars each.

The remaining balance will be awarded to 61 other victims who survived the August event. The amount given will be based on the severity of their injuries.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said deciding how much each victim or their loved ones receive has been among the hardest issues his office has faced.

“There is no amount of money ever can replace lives lost or ever hope to alleviate the anguish endured by the victims of the Indiana State Fair tragedy,” Zoeller said Tuesday. “I believe my office has done everything we’ve possibly could to allocate these settlement officers fairly, equitably and humanely.”

Zoeller’s office is receiving help in awarding the funds from Kenneth Feinberg, who administered compensation funds at 9-11, the shootings at Virginia Tech and the BP Gulf oil spill.

“I applaud Attorney General Zoeller, his staff and all others involved in designing the compensation protocol. No amount of compensation can make victims whole, or resolve their grief. But the protocol will bring some amount of financial relief to those most in need and will provide a fair and efficient process for resolving their claims against the State of Indiana. It is sound public policy,” Feinberg said.

If families and victims accept the offers, they wouldn't be allowed to sue the state. Some have already filed lawsuits challenging the liability cap.