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Minnesota Bridge Collapsed Victims To Be Compensated

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, May 02, 2008 11:02 AM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, In The Workplace
Tags: Minneapolis Bridge Collapse, Bridge Safety, Wrongful Death, Aging Infrastructures

A $38 million fund for compensating Minneapolis bridge collapse victims has been established.

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IMAGE SOURCE: WikiMedia Commons/ MN I-35 bridge, August 14, 2007 / U.S. Navy Photo

 

Last night Minnesota lawmakers worked out a deal to compensate the 13 people killed and more than 100 injured when a Minneapolis bridge collapsed last August.

A sticking point had been whether the state should recognize a $1 million per individual liability cap for those harmed or killed.  That would have left the most severely injured uncompensated while their lawsuits took time going through the court. 

Initially lawmakers proposed giving $300,000 to settle each action. Individuals requiring more would have to sue the state.

But last night Rep. Ryan Winkler and Sen. Ron Latz announced a $38 million compromise plan under which victims can receive up to $400,000 each to settle their case, avoiding trial.

Individuals more severely injured have the right to sue the state to try and receive more under a supplemental worst-case $12.6 million fund.  In that case the $1 million liability cap could be waived.

Chris Messerly, an attorney who represents many victims tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "For many people, this will be closure for them and that is so critically important."   

The full Legislature is expected to sign-off on the compromise Monday, sending it onto the governor. 

Last August 1, 2007, the Interstate-35 W. bridge over the Mississippi River buckled and collapsed during the evening rush hour, plunging cars into the water, killing 13 and injuring more than 100.  Divers spent weeks recovering all of the bodies.  

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded that gusset plates were too thin and the “critical factor” that caused the bridge to collapse. The bridge was built in 1967. It’s unclear how the design flaw of the gussets made it into the bridge.

Other victim lawsuits are on hold until the final conclusions on the bridge collapse are made.

As the U.S. infrastructures age, inspectors are on alert because there are 465 similar bridges across the U.S.

Construction of a new bridge is underway.  #


2 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by geo magn
Friday, May 02, 2008 1:18 PM EST

Although it is convenient to find a design flaw to blame, I'm sure the coverup is to protect state inspection negligence. Business as usual.

Posted by Steve Lombardi
Saturday, May 03, 2008 12:45 AM EST

I'm glad the state of Minnesota is willing to pay victims in this obvious government failure, but how convenient that money damages are being offered before anyone's head rolls for failing to do their job. Where were the bridge inspectors? Where were the bridge inspector's supervisors? It would be interesting to know how many layers of government officials failed to do the jobs they were paid to do. It would be interesting and probably important to know how high up the ladder failed leadership slinks. Government officials have a way of hiding behind money - tax money - our money. Are the people of Minnesota that naive to not want to know the extent of the bridge problem in their state? With over 10,000 lakes there have to be a lot of bridges at risk. How extent is the problem? Pay all you want but without a full report drive not with a seat belt but with a snorkel.

Comments for this article are closed.

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