WBEZ | victims http://www.wbez.org/tags/victims Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Fund doesn't cover all Indiana stage collapse injuries http://www.wbez.org/story/fund-doesnt-cover-all-indiana-stage-collapse-injuries-93644 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-31/AP110817032094.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>INDIANAPOLIS -- Some people injured when high winds toppled stage rigging at this summer's Indiana State Fair aren't eligible for money from a charity fund for victims because they weren't admitted to the hospital, officials said.</p><p>Under a protocol set up with help from a victims' compensation specialist, money from the State Fair Relief Fund is given out based solely on how much time a victim spends at the hospital, <a href="http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011110300358" target="_blank">The Indianapolis Star reported</a>. That means people who were treated at the emergency room but didn't spend a night in the hospital do not qualify.</p><p>Officials acknowledge the system isn't perfect, but say the line had to be drawn somewhere because of limited money in the fund, which totals about $970,000.</p><p>Lisa Hite suffered a head injury in the Aug. 13 accident that killed seven people and injured more than 40 others and won't be able to work for at least 2½ months, her lawyer told the Star. But Hite doesn't qualify for the fund because she wasn't admitted to a hospital.</p><p>"She may actually end up receiving less from these funds than someone who spent a night at the hospital but didn't miss a day's work," attorney Scott Starr said.</p><p>Enoch Vinnegar, a stagehand who was up in the rigging when it collapsed, had surgery to repair a knee injury. But the surgery was performed after the fund's Oct. 2 deadline for a hospital stay and he initially was in the hospital for only six hours, so he also does not qualify for relief fund money. Vinnegar hasn't worked since the accident, he's uninsured and workers' compensation pays only two-thirds of his wages.</p><p>"I've lost almost $7,000," he said.</p><p>Victims' compensation specialist Kenneth Feinberg said hiring a medical expert to evaluate claims made to the fund would have been too subjective and time-consuming and that length of hospital stay is usually "a pretty good indicator of seriousness of injury."</p><p>"When you only have a total of less than a million dollars, wherever you make the break between eligibility and ineligibility is going to promote some divisiveness," Feinberg said.</p><p>The relief fund has so far paid out 21 claims totaling a little more than $500,000, said Indiana State Fair Commission spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland. Another 16 claims are being processed, leaving a bit less than $500,000 in the fund with about two weeks to go before the Nov. 14 deadline for filing claims.</p><p>The idea, said McFarland, was to help those who had the most "catastrophic impact."</p><p>Retiree Karen Pavy told WTHR-TV that only to wait 48 hours after filing her claim to receive $25,000 from the relief fund. The 64-year-old spent 21 days in the hospital recovering from a fractured right leg and a crushed clavicle.</p><p>She has insurance, but her attorney advised her to file a claim, and she said she hopes anyone who was seriously injured in the stage collapse gets help.</p><p>Victims also can make a legal filing with the state's $5 million tort claim fund, but Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has said priority will be given to the families of those who died and those who were seriously injured.</p><p>Experts say any policy for handing out money to victims is bound to raise moral questions.</p><p>"They could have picked something else, but it might not have been as neat and clean, cut and dried," said Robert Katz, a professor of law at IU School of Law-Indianapolis.</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 20:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/fund-doesnt-cover-all-indiana-stage-collapse-injuries-93644 Indiana Toll Road crash claims Chicago victims, including a child http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-toll-road-crash-claims-chicago-victims-including-child-93592 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-28/AP111027158745.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Indiana State Police are continuing to investigate a deadly accident on the Indiana Toll Road that happened around 7 p.m. Chicago time Thursday.</p><p>The crash claimed the lives of seven of the 10 people who were in the 1998 Toyota Sienna minivan traveling from Chicago to New Jersey for a funeral.&nbsp;The names of the victims have not been released.</p><p>“The Indiana State Police continue to piece together the tragic events that transpired last evening,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith told WBEZ on Friday.</p><p>Smith said the investigation so far has confirmed that the driver of the minivan struck a deer in the driving lane shortly before his vehicle was rear ended by a 2006 Freightliner semi pulling a trailer. &nbsp;Smith said the van was heading east on the Indiana Toll Road in Bristol, Indiana, east of the City of Elkhart.</p><p>Seven of the van’s occupants died at the scene, including an infant.&nbsp;One male survivor in the van was taken to Elkhart General Hospital where he is listed in stable condition. &nbsp;Another man and a woman were both airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital and are in critical condition.&nbsp;</p><p>Smith said police have been able to talk to a male survivor in the van who was sitting in the front passenger seat.&nbsp;Smith said the survivor said he remembers the van hitting a deer, which deployed the van’s airbags, but remembers very little after that.</p><p>The driver of the semi, 24-year-old Jesse F. Donovan of Johnston, Rhode Island, was taken by ambulance to Elkhart General Hospital.&nbsp;The truck that he was driving is owned by Roehl Transport Inc. out of Marshfield, Wisconsin.&nbsp; Donovan was treated for minor injuries and later released.&nbsp; A preliminary test for alcohol came back negative.</p><p>“Investigators are trying to determine the speed of the van and its location just prior to it being struck by the semi.&nbsp; It is currently unknown why Donovan was unable to avoid hitting the van,” Smith said.&nbsp;</p><p>Police say the victims were originally from Ecuador and that they are all related, but from different families.&nbsp;It is believed that they have been living in the Chicago area for several years.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 28 Oct 2011 21:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-toll-road-crash-claims-chicago-victims-including-child-93592 Indiana payout limited to five million for collapse victims http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-payout-limited-five-million-collapse-victims-90819 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-19/Stage Collapse flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Indiana lawyers are looking for additional liable parties from last Saturday's stage collapse at the state fair. By law, the damages the state of Indiana could pay victims is capped at five million dollars in total.</p><p>Lawyer Mark Ladendorf represents one of the dozens of injured people from the collapse. "In this case you are significantly dividing that amount by the number of potential plaintiffs that might exist and you're dividing it into almost nothing at some point," he said.</p><p>Ladendorf said more lawsuits are likely to be filed - perhaps against stage designers and engineers or the concert promoter. The state is launching an investigation, and Ladendorf said lawyers be doing the same. He said, "You never want the fox to guard the henhouse, you know?" He added that this accident may prompt a new look at the state's law of a five million dollar cap.</p><p>On Friday a sixth person died due to injuries from the collapse. Jennifer Haskell was a college senior at Ball State University.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 19 Aug 2011 20:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-payout-limited-five-million-collapse-victims-90819