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Panel meets to discuss stage collapse compensation

Ken Feinberg.JPG
Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

A panel met Tuesday to discuss whether the state’s formula for compensating State Fair stage collapse victims was fair, and the results could serve as a guide for responding to future tragedies.

Ken Feinberg is a nationally-recognized expert in victim compensation.  He worked on the 9/11 victims fund, the Virginia Tech shooting and the BP oil spill.  He also helped develop Indiana’s model for distributing $5 million of tort funds to 62 stage collapse victims. 

Feinberg says every compensation case presents unique challenges.  In Indiana’s case, he says it was the limited pool of money.

“What is the expectation of victims about what they ought to receive or what compensation should be made to them?” Feinberg said. “You’re dealing with a very limited fund.”

The panel also included the Attorney General and attorneys for the victims. 

Tony Patterson represents several of the victims.  He says, because of the resource constraints, criticism has been focused on the limited scope of the compensation formula.

“Did it consider all the elements of a torts claim, such as lost wages, such as future medical bills, such as pain, the loss of enjoyment of life and the impact on the individuals?” Patterson said. “It really focused on the medical expenses.”

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says he hopes future leaders will look to Indiana’s compensation model and Tuesday’s discussion as a roadmap for compensating victims of large-scale incidents.