Compensation claim news
Army faces Hurricane Katrina wrath
US army lawyers have been left scratching their heads in wonder after receiving more than 489,000 separate compensation claims over the floods caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The 2005 disaster caused flood defences to be overwhelmed and almost 2,000 people lost their lives as Louisiana and Mississippi suffered extensive damage.
Now the residents of New Orleans who were affected by the catastrophe have consulted compensation lawyers about claiming damages and are blaming the Army Corps of Engineers for the floods. Their reasoning is that the army designed and built the city's storm protection barriers and so should be held accountable for their failure.
It is not the volume of compensation claims that has left the military's solicitors bewildered, however, but is the potential cost of the damages demanded.
One personal injury claim made by an indignant New Orleans resident seeks damages of $3 quadrillion (that's a 3 followed by 15 zeros), which is actually 250 times more the whole of the United States' gross domestic product.
That particular claim is the largest so far, but there are thousands of people who have submitted claims for personal injury and property damage amounting to millions, billions and even trillions of dollars.
In fact, just the first file of claims opened by army compensation lawyers sought damages which, in total, were equal to the yearly output of the US economy - $12 trillion.
With more than two tons of paperwork associated with the compensation claims still left to sift through, it is expected that yet even more enormously outlandish claims are likely to arise and one lawyer described the situation as "totally off the wall".
A solicitor representing some of the angry New Orleans residents defended his clients' claims, however, saying: "If they'd built the levees right, they wouldn't have this problem."