Attorney General Zoeller, left, meeting today
with Kenneth Feinberg, right, in Zoeller's office
at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.
Office of the Indiana Attorney General
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - The $5 million from the state of Indiana for victims of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse will not be distributed to everyone who was at the Sugarland show.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the money will likely go only to the families of those killed and hurt.
"The State is not a private company and the Tort Claim Fund is not a private insurance policy; the State has a higher obligation than a private party. Our objective is focused on the victims of this tragedy. They will not be required to hire a lawyer if they don't wish to; they could apply for compensation directly through the claim managers who have expertise in treating victims in a professional, courteous manner," Zoeller said.
Fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg says there are tough decisions to make.
“There is a limited amount of money here. Everybody can’t possibly be deemed eligible. The question is who are the families and victims most in need of eligibility,” he said.
Feinberg previously oversaw the 9-11 victims compensation fund. He says plans are in the works for the money to be distributed as quickly as possible and with overhead costs as low as possible.
Current Indiana law caps the amount of settlements that can be paid out of the Tort Claim Fund to a total $5 million per incident. Out of the limited funds available, priority will be placed on compensating families of victims who died and victims seriously injured, Zoeller said.
Feinberg says Indiana’s limit of $5 million is a very small amount and adds he will do his best to spread it around as best as possible.
Seven people were killed and 40 more were hurt when the stage went down in a large gust of wind August 13.