Minnesota Makes Public Payments to Bridge Collapse Victims

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune today reported how 179 victims and relatives were compensated by the state of Minnesota for injuries and deaths associated with the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis on Aug. 1, 2007. The bridge's collapse killed 13 people and injured 145; the National Transportation Safety Board said a design flaw in the bridge caused the collapse. Minnesota Public Radio and the Associated Press also published a report on the settlements.

A panel of three members evaluated the cases and determined the settlement amounts, which ranged from $4,500 to more than $2.2 million to a family who were in a minivan traveling on the bridge when it fell. Paula Coulter sustained serious head injuries and her husband and two daughters were injured. The state legislature created the compensation fund.

The highest settlement in a case involving a fatality was $1.39 million. Victims faced a deadline yesterday to accept the settlements, but Paul Walsh reported in the Star-Tribune that they had little choice because state law limits Minnesota's liability.

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