Settlements of at least $300,000 each are awaiting acceptance by the families of the seven people who died during the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in August, according to a release by Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
Compensation for one of the deceased estates would total $315,500, but only if the family chooses to accept the offer rather than taking it to court. Families of the deceased can reject the settlement offer, and the money would be redistributed using a formula the state has developed to compensate the victims.
Should the family or any of the families involved in the stage collapse choose to pursue a lawsuit, they could receive nothing. This is because the state of Indiana has a liability cap at $5 million for the fair and that money would be exhausted by the settlement offers.
Already, dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the state, but the state will abide by the cap, regardless of the results of any lawsuits or admissions of fault.
The families have until Monday to make a decision on the settlement offer, Zoeller said. In statements to the press, Zoeller has said making the decision in this settlement was no easy task, and that he realized that no amount of money that the state could provide would ever be able to replace the families’ losses following the state fair tragedy.
Part of making the settlement decision also included making the call on who would and wouldn’t receive compensation following the event. There will be some who have made a claim who will receive nothing. Some of those who applied to the state claimed no physical injury and they will receive nothing. Another 31 people who had some kind of physical injury but without any medical expenses from the injury will also receive no settlement offer.
Of the $5 million in funds to be disbursed, about $2.1 million will be offered to the estates of those killed in the stage collapse. The remaining amount will be offered to 50 surviving victims that were the most severely injured. In order to distribute this money equally to those who were hurt in the incident, payments will total about 50 percent of the total cost of documented medical bills.
Among these payout offers, the highest is for $503,000 to a teenager who was permanently paralyzed. The lowest offer was $109.
The state also turned down an application filed by the same-sex partner of one of those who died in the collapse; Indiana does not recognize same-sex couples.