Minnesota Bridge Collapse Settlements Total $36.6 Million

All 179 claims presented against the state of Minnesota on behalf of those impacted by a 2007 bridge collapse have been settled for a total of $36.6 million, with individual settlements ranging from $4,500 to over $2.2 million.

The state of Minnesota agreed to pay the settlements to survivors of the tragedy and to family members eligible to present wrongful death lawsuits for the 13 people killed when the heavily traveled Interstate 35W bridge collapsed on August 1, 2007.

Last November, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that the collapse occurred due to substandard building materials used during the construction.

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A steel gusset plate that connects the bridge beams was only half as thick as it should have been to maintain the structure’s integrity. The error was traced to a design flaw that went undetected since the bridge was built more than 40 years ago.

According to the Associated Press, most personal injury attorneys representing victims and their families strongly recommended the settlements offered by the state through the compensation fund, as the state’s liability for the entire event was capped at $1 million for all victims under legislation in place at the time of the collapse.

By accepting the settlements, bridge collapse victims give up their ability to file a personal injury lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota. However, they are not precluded from filing lawsuits against other parties who have been implicated in the collapse.

The first Minnesota bridge collapse lawsuits were filed in November 2008, naming third party inspectors and contractors who were performing work on the bridge at the time it fell.

The complaints allege that buckling and bulging signs were observed as early as 2003, but URS Corp., a San Francisco consulting firm responsible for evaluating the bridge during the years before the collapse, either did not attach the appropriate significance to the signs or negligently failed to observe the problems.

The lawsuits also allege that Progressive Contractors, Inc., who was performing work on the bridge at the time of the collapse, negligently stored about 587 tons of equipment at the weakest point of the bridge.


  • JeffreyApril 20, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    www.deficientbridge.com This is a national crisis

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