New concerns as victims, families prepare legal action following State Fair tragedy
COLUMBUS, Ohio —
There are concerns that the victims and families of the victims of the deadly state fair accident may have difficulty getting money when they file potential lawsuits.
There is talk that a 2005 Ohio law may present a hurdle for victims to sue the manufacturer of the Fireball ride.
Right now, victims of the state fair tragedy, like 36-year-old mother Tamika Dunlap, are focusing on healing.
"Tamika was discharged after a total of eight surgeries at Ohio State," said her lawyer Michael Rourke with Rourke & Blumenthal, "it is too early for her to begin rehab because she can't put any weight on her legs."
Lawyers like Rourke are moving forward with legal action, as their teams work on inspecting the ride and other evidence.
"By the end of the year, and if not sooner, there will be a lawsuit filed or multiple lawsuits," said Rourke.
There is talk that a 2005 Ohio law may protect the manufacturer of the fireball ride from liability.
Tort reform approved by Ohio lawmakers said manufacturers can't be held liable for a wrongful death more than ten years after the product was delivered. That limit may protect KMG, who built the ride in 1998.
ABC 6/ FOX28 reached out to Republican congressman Steve Stiver's who was a state senator at the time and approved the reform.
His office sent this statement:
"Tort reform was critical for Ohio's health care system and growing small businesses. Before tort reform, doctors were considering retiring early or moving their practice to other states, and small businesses were struggling with excessive costs of the system. Tort reform stabilized the medical insurance rates, kept doctors in Ohio, and made it easier to do business.
"However, it has been more than 10 years since the law was passed, and it is up to the Ohio legislature to examine this case and consider if any reforms to the system are necessary."
Dunlap's lawyer wants a change.
"They want to pass it off to the owner and it really makes no sense," said Rourke, "I think it should be as it used to be up to a jury to decide was the design bad was it defective and dangerous when made?"
Rourke said it won't make moving forward impossible, but it will be difficult.
ABC6/FOX28 reached out to the Ohio Manufacturer's Association about this. They have not gotten back at last check.