23 October 2007

The hospital bills are always more than you think.

For I-35W bridge collapse victims, how much compensation is enough?
Yet the state's liability for the entire collapse is capped at $300,000 per individual and $1 million total. If divided among the 100 injured and relatives of the 13 killed Aug. 1, the money won't go too far.

That just about sums it up.

One hundred people splitting one million dollars is ten thousand dollars each. I think that might pay for the first surgery. That doesn't help much when you need physical therapy, more than one surgery, nursing help and the medicine. Since many of the injuries are back injuries, I think its safe to say that these injuries are not going to heal simply. There is no way the people injured are going to be able to pay for this, its simply too much.

The idea of starting a fund in the style of the 9/11 fund is being floated. Rather sue the state, the victims would get money from the state without taxes and without having to wind through the courts. Also without having to have that pesky discovery phase of the law suite. But that phase of the litigation might be a good reason to have at least one or two people sue. I really don't think that any commission set up by the NTSB, the governor or the legislature is going to really dig into all this the way a lawyer suing the state would. Nothing could be set up in Minnesota that would produce anything as thorough as the 9/11 Commision Report.

Getting back to the money, this is another example where we wouldn't even be having this discussion if there was a universal single payer health care system in place. Think about all the law suits that wouldn't take place if no one had to sue some one else to pay for health care after an accident. I see reasons for universal health care every time I load the NYT website, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong about it.

Let me just get this out there now since the 35-W Bridge will probably come up again and again here:
I was in St. Paul when the bridge collapsed, I was watching the Tastee bread truck burn next to the school bus before CNN knew what was up. I frantically called my parents before the cell phone system was overloaded. This is not something that is going to be over for the people of the Twin Cities anytime soon. There are several things that seem fishy about all this;
  1. The Collapse
  2. The Bidding for the new bridge
  3. What was going on at MNDOT under Molnau
That said there were somethings that worked really well. First Responders, EMTs and the hospital staff all worked very well together. And the WiFi they used when the cell system was over loaded, that worked just as planned.

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