Families of stage collapse victims to get relief funds

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 23, 2011 3:33 PM
Families of stage collapse victims to get relief funds

By Susan Guyett

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - A relief fund will distribute about $700,000 to people hurt or the families of those killed in an August stage collapse at the Indiana state fair, officials said on Friday.

Families of the seven people killed in the collapse will each get $35,000. Individuals who were in the hospital at least 10 days and nights will get $25,000, while those hospitalized four to nine days will get $7,500.

Those hospitalized one to three days will get $3,000, based on a distribution process announced on Friday by the Indiana State Fair Commission.

Friday's announcement involves only the Indiana State Fair Relief Fund. The state of Indiana has agreed to pay victims $5 million, although there have been calls to raise that limit.

Several victims and families were also pursing separate lawsuits against companies involved with the concert and the stage construction.

More than 40 people were injured and seven were killed in the collapse at an outdoor stage at the fairgrounds after high winds whipped the grandstand area just minutes before the country duo Sugarland was scheduled to perform.

Victim compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg, who is consulting with the Commission and state officials, developed distribution protocols similar to what was used by Virginia Tech following a shooting incident in 2007.

The relief fund currently totals about $796,280.50. The initial distribution falls short of that total because the number of claimants is unknown.

The deadline for filing a claim is November 14.

(Writing and reporting by Susan Guyett; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Cynthia Johnston)