BP Claims For Deepwater Horizon Spill
The Deepwater Horizon spill that involved BP Oil in a $7.8 billion settlement occurred over two years ago on April 20, 2010. When the spill was finally contained, an estimated 4.4 million barrels of oil was released into Gulf waters. BP is eager put behind the explosion aboard the oilrig that killed 11 workers and became the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. However, BP claims are still trickling in from businesses, fisherman, oil industry workers, property owners and others who experienced monetary and medical losses as a result of the spill.
Originally, BP attempted to handle BP claims through Kenneth Feinberg, who administered the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF). A Plaintiff’s Steering Committee that represented individuals with claims against BP related to the spill was responsible for BP’s decision to settle the claims outside of federal court. As of March 2, 2012, BP claims are handled by court supervision, the GCCF is defunct, and Kenneth Feinberg no longer presides over claims decisions.
Filing a claim through the class action settlement is not necessarily the best course of action for individuals with BP claims. Individuals who have suffered losses as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or other BP claims, fall into one of three categories: financial losses, medical injuries or property losses. Regardless of which area you might fall under, BP claims are actually personal injury matters.
The Opportunity Cost of the Class Action Settlement
When the court handles BP claims as a result of the class action settlement, it handles them as a batch. BP claims are bundled in with all the other claims. This is a less than ideal situation. People want the most careful consideration of their BP claims. No one wants their personal situation to be handled automatically and processed in with thousands of other BP claims. When you turn in BP claims through the class action settlement process, that is what occurs.
Medical Injury BP Claims Lawsuits
BP claims have a much better chance of being compensated if a personal injury attorney handles them because they will get attention outside the plethora of BP claims being handled within the scope of the class action lawsuit. In addition, certain types of BP claims, such as serious medical injury, deserve special consideration because the damages have far reaching effects. Damages could include loss of enjoyment of life and permanent loss of income. This is considered egregious damage and jury awards are often generous for this type of injury. BP is likely to settle these BP claims rather than pursue a court case, but if you secure a personal injury attorney, you are more likely to receive a higher claim award than if you pursued these BP claims yourself through the class action settlement.
Workers involved in the cleanup, oil workers, shrimpers and other fisherman, and people living along the Gulf Coast have suffered medical injuries as a result of their exposure to the spill, as well as the chemicals used to treat it. Those most seriously affected have been people who live in the coastal regions of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The resultant injuries cover a broad spectrum of illnesses ranging from chemical poison, respiratory disease and dermatological ailments like chemical burns to gastrointestinal diseases and migraines.
Recovering Your Financial Losses
If you have incurred financial loss due to negligence on BP’s part, even if you have documented evidence that the loss occurred, it may not be a black and white decision for these BP claims. If your economic loss as a result of BP negligence from the Deepwater Horizon spill or other BP business falls into a grey area, your best defense is to consult with a personal injury attorney to receive compensation for your losses on these BP claims.
The businesses and individuals affected financially by BP negligence are quite broad and could include any business in the area. This category could apply to anyone who can provide documented proof that they have been financially affected by the spill. A jewelry store was interested in filing a claim for financial loss. This type of business is not directly related to the oil industry, the cleanup, or the fishing industry, yet was surely affected by the aftermath of both the spill and the cleanup.
Many retail businesses came to a complete halt as a result of the economic repercussions of the spill on the area’s inhabitants. Yet, the court could easily argue that the jewelry business was never prosperous for this owner. The amount of paperwork they would need to produce to substantiate their claim would certainly delay their BP claim. A personal injury lawyer would be indispensable in a case like this where the court’s response would need to be anticipated or where there might be prolonged negotiations. What you want to avoid is a preemptory refusal for lack of ability to substantiate BP claims.
The Gulf Oil Drilling Moratorium
Many people have suffered economic loss due to the government mandated oil drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. The new $7.8 billion class action settlement specifically excludes these individuals. At least that is what the claimants were told when their BP claims were refused. People who have been affected by the oil spill moratorium include oil workers, suppliers of oilrigs, shipyards, and Gulf Coast property owners who rent out to oil workers.
As the claims process has progressed, many claims alleging economic loss have been rejected. A story featured in the New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, stated that about 6,000 claims for financial loss have been unsuccessfully made through the dissolved Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
If your claim has been refused because it does not fall under the rules of the class action settlement, you may still recover by filing a lawsuit against BP outside the guidelines of the settlement. Personal injury attorneys are helping many people file lawsuits when their losses would be better met by taking BP to court separately or when people have had legitimate claims rejected either by the GCCF, the court-supervised process or both. Consulting a personal injury attorney is free of charge, and the attorneys only receive payment when the lawsuit is either settled outside of court or a jury specifies an award.
Loss of Property BP Claims Lawsuits
Individuals who have suffered property losses as a result of a BP oil spill, should also consult a personal injury attorney due to the special nature of property loss claims.
Property owners and people who leased property during the spill and cleanup are entitled to recovery for their loss of use and enjoyment of property affected by the spill and the cleanup.
For individuals who have permanently lost the use and enjoyment of waterfront property, this type of claim can fall into a grey area where the loss cannot be adequately compensated by the market value of the property. It could be considered unique and irreplaceable, especially if it was inherited and was something passed down from generation to generation. If the damage occurred in a species protected area, such as a wildlife refuge, the damage could be considered egregious and especially irreversible.
If you have a BP claim, you should secure a personal injury attorney to be sure your claim receives the attention it deserves. Allowing your BP claim to be processed automatically simply ensures that it will be processed; not that you will receive maximum compensation or consideration. Your consultation with your attorney is free of charge, and your lawyer does not receive any money until you receive your compensation.
Filing oil spill claims can be problematic for any individual or business enterprise that has been affected by drilling operations in various regions of the world. In the case of large spills, oil spill claims are numerous because of the number of individuals affected and often the oil companies will request special handling of the cases by the appropriate court as part of a blanket settlement offer.
The most obvious and common example of this occurrence was the BP Gulf of Mexico explosion from a few years ago. The biological impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is just now being recognized and some of those with oil spill claims stemming from incurred damage could find limited compensation levels. This is particularly true for the commercial fishing industry claimants that have individual claims along with economical oil spill claims. Fortunately, the settlement structure has been determined and the process has been simplified in order to expedite payment to affected fishing operators.
Oil spill claims can be filed initially online for free in the case of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Many people were affected and it is important for everyone who has been affected to be aware of their potential eligibility to file oil spill claims. As in standard and less publicized accidents, compensation settlements are based on loss of income and damage to property, along with any illnesses that may be occurring due to the negligence.
Standard legal rights are also part of the plan, as denied claimants can go through the appeals process. The filing process is being handled through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and the total amount of claims has been capped at $7.8 billion. Because of the number of individuals affected across the multiple states of the region, it is important to file oil spill claims as soon as possible and have all necessary documentation at the time of the claim filing.
Common oil spill claims filed in other cases are processed through the United States Coast Guard division of the the United States Department of Homeland Security. After valid approval, the damages are paid through the National Pollution Funds Center. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 established the Oil Field Liability Trust Fund for those affected by drilling accidents, utilizing both an emergency and a principal fund to pay oil spill claims.
There also are legal agencies that will handle the process from start to finish and ensure that all claims are filed properly and all documentation is supplied as evidence. Hiring representation is not necessary in many cases, but cases that fund managers may find invalid originally may need a crafted legal argument to establish negligence. It is always a good idea to look at the oil spill claims process first and then take an inventory of what claims may be acceptable and the necessary documentation to support those damage claims.
The National Pollution Funds Center is continually adding web applications to their official website that make interaction and communication with their customers simplified and convenient for anyone with internet access.
The oil spill resulting from the April 20, 2010 explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig has caused untold damage to the Gulf of Mexico. Before it was finally capped on July 15, 2010 and the relief well was completed on September 19, 2010, the well released an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, and 2011 analysis of oil sheen found near the site indicates that it may still be seeping. Wildlife has been devastated. Humans who live near the shore or who depend on the Gulf for their livelihoods have been adversely impacted, and reports of damage continue to rise.
Some Gulf residents are experiencing health issues which may have been caused by the dispersants used to break up the oil slicks. Among other carcinogens, the dispersants contain a chemical called 2-butoxyethanol, which was previously identified as a cause of health problems among cleanup workers of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. Residents and first responders have experienced chest pains, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Health experts believe those affected will likely see an increase in occurrence of ongoing problems like cancer, neurological disorders, and birth defects.
If you are one of the people negatively impacted by the spill, a BP claims lawyer may be able to help you prove your case and reach a settlement with BP and the other responsible companies. A BP claims lawyer will give you a free initial consultation to help you determine if you have a case against the company or not. Typically, a BP claims lawyer will not charge you until your settlement has been awarded.
Affected people working in the tourism and seafood industries in the Gulf region are covered by an already-existing settlement. A BP claims lawyer can help you determine what documentation you need to prove your loss and file a claim against the settlement on your behalf. Your BP claims lawyer will then make sure your claim is filed correctly and deal with BP and their attorneys for you; once you’ve filed via attorney, BP is obligated to deal with the BP claims lawyer and is not permitted to talk to you directly.
If you do not work in the industries covered by the existing settlement, a BP claims lawyer can help you recover your damages by filing suit for an individual settlement. For this method, once you’ve had an initial consultation with a BP claims lawyer to determine whether you’re likely to win a settlement, the lawyer will help you gather your information. The lawyer will then present your documentation to BP or their representatives and file suit on your behalf. BP may let your case go to trial or they may attempt to settle with you before the court date. Either way, your BP claims lawyer will handle communications with BP.
The process to reach a settlement for Deepwater Horizon damages can be complex and daunting. A BP claims lawyer can help you determine your best options for recovering your damages.