Circuit Court Judge Theodore J. Markow has approved an $11 million state settlement with families of nearly all of the victims in the Virginia Tech massacre. The families of twenty-four of the thirty-two people killed by Seung-Hui Cho will be compensated by the agreement. It also covers eighteen people who were injured, though their cases did not need court approval. This decision will prevent a court battle over who, other than the gunman, was to blame.
The settlement is considered by many to be a very reasonable outcome to the situation since Virginia usually has a $100,000 cap on liability in such cases. By agreeing to the settlement, the victims’ families are giving up their right to sue the local government, state government, the community service board that provides mental-health services in the area, and the university itself. Attorneys for the victims were given complete access to many documents that related to the shootings, such as investigative reports. These documents further detailed the poor job Virginia Tech did at notifying students of the threat on campus and of locking the university down to prevent other casualties.
Under the settlement, the families of the victims will be able to talk to university officials and the governor of Virginia several times to discuss changes made to the campus since the tragedy to better ensure students’ safety. The settlement also gives seriously injured victims free healthcare for the rest of their lives, the families of the people killed will each receive $100,000 and each of the individuals that were injured will be able to receive up to $100,000 each. Families of those who were killed can seek more money from a $1.9 million hardship fund. Attorney fees and money to charities will also be paid for.