State Fair victims could soon receive compensation

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INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana State Fair Commission approved a plan and process for compensation victims of the August 13 Fair stage collapse Friday.

The plan provides $35,000 each to the estates of the people killed in the collapse, and varying degrees of compensation to those hospitalized.

The formula recommended by victims compensation specialist Kenneth Feinberg will give $25,000 to those hospitalized for at least 10 days and $7,500 or $3,000 to those hospitalized for shorter periods.

Attorney John Trimble says that formula could distribute about $700,000 of the just under $800,000 that has been donated to the fund. The relief fund is separate from the $5 million the state says it will pay toward legal claims.

Applications would go online Monday, with a November 14 deadline to apply for compensation.

Sources tell Eyewitness News the goal is to have the funds distributed to victims within 30 days. The money has been donated by people in the aftermath of the stage collapse. It also includes $550,000 raised during the Train-Maroon 5 benefit concert. This is separate from the $5 million that will be paid out by the state.

Heather Goodrich, wife of security guard Glen Goodrich, who was killed in the collapse, needs help supporting her two children. Her husband was the primary breadwinner. She's gone from a part to a full time job to make ends meet.

Her attorney, Carl Brizzi says some people may think of victims as greedy. "Folks that maybe haven't experienced tragedy or whatever, some people would say, oh, these people are greedy or they're this, they're that.  They're not anything like that. They need some basic compensation to help get them through the day."

The relief fund, which totals $796,280.50 to date, will be distributed according to four classifications:

• $35,000 for death claims

• $25,000 for those admitted and hospitalized for at least 10 days and nights

• $7,500 for those admitted and hospitalized for 4-9 days and nights

• $3,000 for those admitted and hospitalized for 1-3 nights and days

As the fund administrator, Feinberg will meet with accident victims who request a meeting to discuss their claims.

Because the total number of claimants is not known, the initial distribution contemplates payments totaling about $700,000 to assure the fund is not overspent. Additional distributions of remaining funds and newly donated funds are anticipated. Donations to the relief fund will be accepted until Oct. 31, 2012.

The protocol and claim form will be made available online on Monday (Sept. 26) and may be obtained from the state fair relief fund claims processor, whose function is to facilitate collection of required documentation. Claim forms should be submitted by Nov. 14; however, payments will begin as soon as forms are submitted and information confirmed.

Related documents:

Fair fund claim form

Fair fund protocol