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Comments on max payout pledge for Indiana stage collapse

August 31, 2011

On August 31st, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller stated that Indiana will pay out the full $5 million in compensation available under state law for the victims of the August 13th State Fair stage collapse.

Greg Zoeller commented in a written statement: "My goal is to focus on the needs of victims and their families while minimizing the expense of lengthy and costly litigation,"

State law limits individual damage claims against the state to $700,000 and overall claims to $5 million per event.

Fort Wayne, Indiana based Sweeney Lawfirm’s David Farnbauch, who has sued many governmental entities related to injury or death, said Zoeller's acknowledgment is a great public relations move.

"It is taking responsibility and trying to help these people," he said. "The state is trying to let people know that liability is not going to be the issue as it pertains to the state. It knows it has liability and there is no point in fighting that out."

Farnbauch said at some point he expects a judge to step in to help decide how to divvy up the $5 million.

"There has to be a rhyme or reason to who gets paid what before the state starts paying out money," he said, noting it can't be guided by a first-come, first-served mentality given the limited pot.

He said victims have 180 days after the incident to file a tort claim. Once that period has run out, the state will have a better idea of the scope of those with claims on the money and can more easily come up with a formula and procedure for compensation.

As reported in The Journal Gazette