Injured Missourians unable to win enough money in lawsuits to make themselves whole are getting thousands of dollars from a special state fund.

Here’s how it works:

Suppose you’re left with high hospital bills because of an accident and the person who caused the crash has minimal  or no insurance.   That’s where the state Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund comes in. 

Half of the punitive damages paid in civil lawsuits goes into a the fund every year. This year that fund is providing 2.4-million dollars to 32 Missourians who have applied for help.  

State Labor Director Larry Rebman says it’s not enough to make these people whole. But it is a record payout–34 cents for each dollar of the claims filed with the fund. .

Three dozen claims had been filed.  Administrative Law Judges had found 32 of them were qualified to receive grants. The largest award is about 103-thousnd dollars to a 49-year old mother of three children who sustained spine and nerve injuries in a car crash.  The smallest amount being paid out is about 18-thousand dollars. 

This year’s awards mean more than 550 people have been helped by the program in its first decade. They’ve gotten more than 11-million dollars

 Bob Priddy interviews Larry Rebman (5:29 mp3)