Yesterday we blogged that the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office had been put in charge of processing claims for compensation from survivors of the deadly Conception boat fire. More details about the program are emerging.
VCStar.com reports that the California Victim Compensation Board named the Santa Barbara DA’s Office's Victim Witness Program as the agency which will administer the funds and help victims’ families seek referrals. The funds will reportedly be used to help families with costs associated with funerals and counseling.
In a statement, District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley said “From day one our office has been engaged in this endeavor. From the early morning hours of Sept. 3, 2019, our office’s focus has been on the fire victims and their loved ones."
As the VCStart.com report notes, of the 39 people aboard the Conception when it caught fire, only five people, all crew members, escaped with their lives. The 34 passengers were on the lower deck of the ship when the fire broke out and their only means of escape was directly through the blaze.
As the Santa Barbara DA’s office gears up to help the victims’ families, the legal maneuverings begin as well. The Conception’s sinking falls under the specialized legal field of maritime law and victims’ families will have to choose carefully in order to ensure they select an attorney who is experienced in this specialized field of practice.
District Attorney Dudley gave both a local contact number, 805-568-2400, and a toll free number 855-840-3242 for victims’ families to contact the office for assistance.