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Wisconsin families awarded compensation for Summerfest accident

Some teenagers in the Milwaukee area enjoy going to Summerfest as a way to enjoy music and spend time with their friends. For three people who went to Summerfest in 2010, that decision proved to be tragic. A 13.5-ton concrete panel fell from a parking garage owned by Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. That failure resulted in two injuries and a death. A teen who was killed was only 15 years old.

A county judge recently denied motions for a new trial in the personal injury and wrongful death cases associated with that tragic accident. The insurance company argued that it wasn't bound by the decision of the jury, because it wasn't allowed to participate in the trial. The judge had barred the insurance company from participating in the trial, because he said it was prejudicial to one of the defendants. When he denied the motion for a new trial based on that, the judge also reversed his decision to hold a trial to determine if the defendant's insurance policy covered the damages.

The family who lost a son was awarded $6.8 million by a jury. The family of the two injured people was awarded $11.4 million. Milwaukee County was awarded compensatory damages in the amount of $6 million. It was also decided that the stone company owed $15 million in punitive damages. Court documents show that will put the company out of business. The insurance company policies cap damages at $10 million, but it is unclear if the company is liable for damages over that cap.

The two families involved in this horrific accident, along with the county, opted to seek compensation for damages from this event. Anyone who is injured in an accident similar to this one might have the right to seek compensation for his or her injuries. Understanding how to file claims for damages is vital to ensure that you are following proper procedures.

Source: Wisconsin Law Journal, "Judge upholds O’Donnell verdict, cancels insurance trial" Beth Kevit, Feb. 10, 2014

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