Victims of the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse soon will receive a supplemental and final disbursement of money allocated for victims of the tragedy that killed seven people and injured scores more.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Thursday that $6 million in state aid approved by the Legislature for victims of the disaster had been divided among 59 victims. They will receive money in wire transfers or in the mail in coming days.
The supplemental aid is in addition to $5 million distributed previously under the state’s limit for tort claims, bringing total state victim compensation to $11 million. The estates of the seven victims who died each received a total of $700,000. A flowchart of how compensation was divided is available here.
The second round of compensation was overseen by an arbitration panel that paid all victim medical expenses through mid-November and made provision for those who are permanently paralyzed and those who will require long-term care. Victims may also seek damages from private defendants.
At a news conference Thursday, Zoeller praised the work of an arbitration panel and plaintiff attorneys who worked together to expedite compensation to victims. “Not only do we believe it was more fair in a lot of ways, but it was a much, much faster way to speed relief to the victims,” he said.
Indianapolis attorney William Baten chaired the arbitration panel that also included attorneys Denise Page of Indianapolis and Eugene Stewart of Brookville. It was a nonadversarial process in which Baten said the panel could make individual determinations based on information each victim’s attorney provided.
“We were able to have all the information we needed to make informed decisions,” Baten said. Reaching settlements moved at “light speed, compared to traditional litigation,” he said.
“It was appropriate that the Indiana legislators decided to provide additional financial assistance to victims of the State Fair tragedy in light of all that victims have endured,” Zoeller said in a news release. “Developing and implementing an equitable method for allocating the funds was a complicated process, but our objective that victims receive expedited funds without years of litigation was accomplished.”