It seems like people are rushing through their final claims paperwork for damages from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. British Petroleum’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) says they have been denying final claims left and right because of a glut of new filings coming in with no proof of damages or without proper documentation of otherwise legitimate claims. Over 20,000 people were denied by the end of November.
GCCF Denied Claims Up Sharply
By contrast, only 125 were denied in September. Many others are only getting tiny percentages of what they claimed as damages, although there are reports of many receiving full payments against their claims.
The GCCF says they are taking it all in stride though. Kenneth Feinberg, the head of the GCCF, denies that his office is in utter chaos. He says that even though the GCCF has been inundated with claims they feel are fraudulent—which means that the GCCF in turn has to spend countless hours investigating them—they are able to handle the problem. Those claims that the GCCF finds fraudulent are then sent on to the United States Department of Justice for possible prosecution. This all takes hours of additional effort and wastes valuable resources that could be better spent elsewhere, though Feinberg insists everything is going as planned.
GCCF Denies claims because of late filings.
To his point, Feinberg did point out that, “[a] true emergency claim one would have expected would have come in shortly after August 23rd [when the he and the GCCF took over the claims process].” After months of lost revenue and damages from the oil spill, you would definitely think that people would have been in a rush to get their claims filed and would have taken the time necessary to ensure that their claims would be approved. However, Feinberg notes that over 66% of the so-called “emergency claims” did not start appearing until after October 1st, and many of those claims came in lacking supporting documentation and/or proper paperwork.
Are you tired of dealing with British Petroleum and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF)? Has your claim been denied and chiseled down by the GCCF? There may be another alternative. There is a little-known oil spill claims fund run by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). This fund, called the National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC), was created in 1990 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill to assist those that Exxon could not or did not.
NPFC and its restrictions
The federal law that created the NPFC has many restrictions. First, you have to first try and settle with the party responsible for the spill—in this case, British Petroleum and the GCCF. If the responsible party denies your claim or if you have waited over ninety days for a response, you can then apply to the NPFC. You may have your claim considered by both the GCCF and the NPFC at the same time as long as ninety days have passed since you applied to the GCCF. If you receive a settlement offer from both the NPFC and the GCCF, you may only accept one of the claims. In other words, you can’t double dip.
The National pollution center (NPFC) has money
The monies in the NPFC fund are backed by a five cent per barrel tax on oil but there is a $1 billion cap. However, if you receive a claim from the NPFC, they will eventually bill the responsible party. This way, you do not have to feel bad for taking money from the “good guys” while letting the “bad guys” off the hook. Those that have filed claims with the NPFC report that they have been satisfied with the process. A specific claims adjuster is assigned and claimants are free to call the adjuster whenever they like to check on the status of their claim. You are free to decide where to file your Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims—just make sure that you know all your options before you plan your strategy.