179 Claims Filed for Bridge Collapse Victim Fund
By 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the official deadline for people to apply for damages from a $36.64 million fund allocated by the Legislature last year for victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, attorney Susan Holden had received 179 claims from victims, the Star Tribune Reported.
Holden is the chairwoman of a panel of personal-injury attorneys in charge of distributing damages for claims,which range from property loss to injury to death.
More than 100 of the claims were submitted within 24 hours before the deadline. Holden said her office had been calling survivors on Wednesday to make sure they new about the widely-publicized deadline.
Between now and the end of January, Holden and two others, Steven Kirsch and Michael Tewksbury, will meet with survivors individually or as a panel.
"The next few months will be very intense," Holden said. "It's going to be an enormous amount of work, and we are going to hear some gut-wrenching stories, no question about that. It will be time-consuming and emotionally draining, but we all are equipped and ready to do that."
The panel aims to complete the hearings by Jan. 31. It will then determine how much money each survivor will receive for losses and damages, both tangible and intangible. Compensation offers must be made by Feb. 28, 2009, and recipients have 45 days to accept or reject offers.
The Legislature created two funds. The first $24 million is available to any survivor for as much as $400,000 per claim. The second $12.64 million is for survivors who claim damages exceeding $400,000, and it must be used to cover uncompensated medical bills, loss of wages or loss of future earning capacity.