MOSCOW, February 15 - RAPSI. The Emergency Ministry's main department for the Chelyabinsk Region in the eastern Urals said that residents may be issued requisite compensation for injuries and damage sustained from the meteor shower.

"In cases of need, victims of this natural disaster will be granted social pay-outs," the department stated.

The observatory in Yekaterinburg, about 200 km (125 miles) southeast of Chelyabinsk, reported a meteor shower over the Chelyabinsk Region on Friday at 7.23 a.m. Moscow time.

Dozens of people were hurt by broken window glass and debree across the region affected by the meteor's passing. As of mid-day, over 500 people had reported injuries as a result of the strikes. Most of the people hurt seem to be concentrated in the hard-hit Chelyabinsk Region.

The meteor shower hit three regions of Russia, and Kazakhstan, Russian state officials confirmed on Friday. The police are searching for the fallen meteorite pieces and are protecting affected buildings from looting.

An estimated 20,000 emergency response workers have been mobilized. Background radiation levels reportedly remain unchanged - an important consideration in an area with a fair number of nuclear facilities.

Reports vary about whether this was one larger meteorite, or many smaller ones.

Lawyers interviewed by RAPSI said the meteor shower is not an insurance event, but rather a force majeure circumstance. Thus, individuals are unlikely to receive insurance refunds, they stressed.

Vladimir Zherebenkov has recommended inviting an official to inspect the damage and to photograph the damaged property in the presence of their neighbors, so the courts will not question the authenticity of the photographsб, as well as compiling a list of damage to be certified by the witnesses.

Lawyer Yevgeny Shestakov said that even if the injured parties receive financial compensation, they can still take their case to court for additional payments. However, he said it will be nearly impossible to win such a case.

Lawyer Kirill Belsky agrees that insurance companies are unlikely to send insurance rebate checks to the injured parties.

“I believe that insurance companies will most likely refuse to issue refund payments, citing Clause 3 of Article 401 of the Civil Code, which allows them not to do so under force majeure circumstances,” the lawyer said.