State Fair victim denied assistance on technicality
INDIANAPOLIS - A fund set up to get money to the victims of the Indiana State Fair Disaster is not delivering to some of them.
The guidelines to give out the money included death, and the number of days spent in the hospital. But 13 investigates found some victims who now say they've been left out.
The story is well documented. Three-year-old Maggie Mullin was passed from person to person after the Indiana State Fairgrounds disaster in an attempt to save her life. The evidence of that dedication was readily obvious as she and her mother arrived at a Rensselaer rehabilitation center on Thursday.
Time is helping the family heal physically, but not financially. Laura Magdziarz applied to the State Fair Relief Fund for help.
"I heard from my lawyer last night. Maggie's was approved which I would have expected and mine was denied as well as my mom's...because we technically were not admitted to the hospital," said Magdziarz.
Now leaning on her crutches from a broken leg and facing more surgery, she admits the night of the disaster was a blur but she specifically remembers being told she should stay the night.
"They wanted to admit me. My priority, a lot of it is a blur that night, but I had no idea if Maggie made it to the hospital, if my mom and my 12-year-old were even alive," she said.
When she was told Maggie was headed to surgery in another hospital she says her decision was automatic.
"Hey, I'll deal with the pain. I need to get to my daughter," she said.
Now the family makes the 45-minute drive to the Jasper County Rehabilitation Center three times a week. They were hoping this fund would help with the cost.
"I know there are three other people with heads stapled, have lost work, have added expenses to and from work and are struggling and that is what this money was supposed to be for. I believe the people who donated it are under that impression and I think a lot of those people are going to be angry," said Magdziarz.
There is hope for some of the state fair victims who have been turned down for this money.
The State Fair Commission had to come up with some way to prioritize the allocation of the over $800,000 available to victims of the stage collapse. It came with death benefits and length of hospital stay. Eyewitness News has learned that any overnight hospital stay from August 13th to October 2nd makes a victim eligible for the fund, which means if Laura Magdziarz should undergo more surgery on her broken leg as expected, she may yet meet the qualifications.