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National Briefing / Minnesota

Payments offered in bridge collapse

February 28, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Compensation offers have gone out to 179 victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, who have until mid-April to decide whether to accept.

Attorneys expect most victims to agree to the settlements from the state. Susan Holden, who headed the panel that divided $36.4 million among the victims, said lawsuits would bring the victims far less state money because of liability limits. Accepting settlements requires them to give up their right to sue the government but not private companies that worked on the bridge.

"I don't really see any reasonable alternative but to take it . . . fast," said attorney Chris Messerly, speaking for a legal coalition representing 117 victims.

The bridge collapsed Aug. 1, 2007, in Minneapolis, killing 13 and injuring 145.

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