(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Nearly all of the possible claimants have accepted Indiana's settlement offers over the State Fair stage collapse.
The Attorney General's office said Monday that 64 of the 65 claimants accepted the settlements totaling $5 million. The amount is the maximum allowed by Indiana law.
"Deciding on compensation for the victims of the State Fair tragedy is one of the most difficult duties the Indiana Attorney General's Office has ever undertaken. From the start we knew that no matter how we divided the $5 million available, it could never replace the seven lives lost nor erase the pain of the injured and grieving. We did all that was possible to treat victims equitably and to assist them with their medical and financial needs within the amount the law allows," Indiana Attorney General Zoeller said in a statement.
The only rejected offer was less than $1,800 to a minor child.
The 64 claimants include the estates of all seven people who died in the stage collapse before a Sugarland concert August 13. Those families will each receive at least $300,000.
Some of the people injured in the collapse received larger amounts than those killed. More than $366,000 was awarded to Jade Walcott, a ten-year-old from Erlanger, Ky. who suffered a fractured skull.
Jade’s mother, Shannon Walcott, received over $101,000 for medical expenses.
Victims will receive their first checks from the Indiana Auditor’s Office later this week.
During the process of calculating settlement offers, the Attorney General's Office participated in mediation with a group of approximately 30 attorneys and law firms representing many claimants and reached tentative accord on the protocol. Settlement offers are with the consent of the Governor's Office.
"Members of the legal profession who met repeatedly with the State to reach consensus on a compensation program for their clients should be commended for helping bring this process to an expedited conclusion. And I'm enormously grateful to Kenneth Feinberg who donated his services at no charge to the State of Indiana or taxpayers. His wisdom from developing past victim compensation programs after other tragedies was indispensible to my office in helping us navigate through difficult questions. The work of the Attorney General's Office does not end here and we will continue to diligently represent the State in legal matters involving the State Fair tragedy," Zoeller said.
The individuals who agreed to accept the state’s offer had to agree to not include the state in further litigation. However, other entities involved to the stage collapse are not protected from separate legal action.