How the GCCF Processes Your BP Claims
The way the GCCF processes BP claims is pretty murky. Since the GCCF doesn’t seem to be trying to clarify how BP Claims work, I’m going to do my best to lay out the steps of the process, the timeline you’ll be looking at, and how much money you can expect to get.
Step 1: You file your BP Claims or claim with the GCCF, including all the documentation they ask for about your previous income. You can do this either online, at a claims office, or over the phone.
Step 2: You wait. A long, long time. The GCCF says it tries to process BP claims in 90 days, but most people are waiting upwards of 120 days to receive anything back from the GCCF.
Step 3: They finally send you a letter. Most of the time it will say one of two things: Either a) We paid you too much in emergency claim money so we don’t owe you anything, but you can take a quick pay for $5,000 (or $25,000 for business claims) and sign away your rights or b) We need more documentation to process your claim. If you’re very lucky, they might actually have just processed your claim, but that almost never happens.
Step 4: You can either accept the low-ball quick pay (We recommend that you do not), or you send in the additional documentation if they asked for it, and wait even more for your BP Claims money.
Step 5: After waiting even longer, the GCCF will most likely just send you a measly quick pay offer of $5,000 for personal or $25,000 for business claims. Very few people get real money from a final or interim claim. If you are one of the lucky few who got a good offer, you can go ahead and take it and you’ll be finished.
So What Should You Do About Your BP Claims?
If you are one of the many people who just got a quick pay offer for your BP Claims, you can try to appeal with them, but I wouldn’t bank on that working out. If you think it’s fair compensation, you can take the quick pay. If you are like most people though, it’s not going to be anywhere near the amount BP actually caused you to lose.
If you have gotten to the point where all they are offering you for your BP Claims is quick pay, the only way to get a larger amount is through an attorney. You can either get one to help you with your BP Claims and tell the GCCF that you are represented by an attorney, or you can wait and file a lawsuit.
If I’m Not Getting Anywhere with my BP Claims, how will filing a lawsuit work?
The big trial to figure out which of the many companies involved in the oil spill are liable for what is happening in February 2012. After that trial takes place, you will be able to file lawsuits to get what you rightfully deserve. It is definitely a long time to wait, especially because so many gulf coast residents are hurting right now, but if quick pay is the best they are offering you for your BP Claims, it’s probably the only way to get real money from them.
Lawsuits can be a hassle, but once you’ve gone through the GCCF’s complicated process to get your BP Claims money, if you are not satisfied by the pitiful amount they probably offered you, then you may need to consider contacting a lawyer. It’s not about trying to get money you don’t deserve; it’s about BP making up for the damage they caused to you and your family.
If you want us to take a look at your BP Claims and help you out with the process, always feel free to fill out the free case review box on the side of the page and we’ll get back to you soon.
Though you do not have to have an attorney to file a claim with BP, or to sue BP, or to join a class action law suit, it is always preferable to have one. Attorneys are experts in these matters, and you will definitely do yourself a favor by retaining one.
BP Final Claim Attorney
Most attorneys in these types of matters will be willing to take your case as on “contingency”. This means you do not have to put down any money up front. Instead, the attorney will take a certain percentage of your final judgment—your “winnings”. This percentage will normally be in the range of 20-45%, depending on how complex your claim is. If you lose your case, you will only owe court costs in most cases, and your attorney will receive nothing. This is a strong incentive for your attorney to work extra hard to win your case. One final thing to keep in mind is that once you retain the services of an attorney, you will have to have your attorney represent you throughout the claims process.
There are several advantages to having an attorney to process your BP final claim. First, attorneys do these types of cases for a living. They are very familiar with all of the procedures and they know all the ins and outs. They know exactly what you will need to win and they can help you think of things that you may not have thought of on your own. Attorneys also know many important people. Often, they are able to get things done much faster than the average person without an attorney.
If you have decided to retain the services of an attorney, you need to make sure that you get a good attorney. There are several ways to find an attorney that meets your needs. The easiest way is to call your state or local bar association. Most of these organizations provide a free referral service to an attorney who specializes in your type of case. Another option would be to search online or to ask other victims who they are using. You can also look in your local phonebook—the yellow pages usually have attorneys organized by specialization. Once you have decided upon an attorney, you need to assemble all the necessary documents that will serve as proof of your losses. Any documents proving loss of income, loss of wages, or loss of revenue will bolster your claim. Business owners will need profit and loss statements for 2009. Employees of companies that incurred losses from the spill will need pay stubs and W-2 forms for 2009 for verification. Your attorney will tell you if he or she needs anything else.
Keep in mind also that, while it is smart to have an attorney, you are not required to have an attorney to file your claim. You have the fundamental right to represent yourself in your claim against BP. This is called suing “pro se”, or representing yourself in the court. It’s not the best plan of action, but it is totally legal and you can collect all the paperwork from the court house where you plan on suing. As a side note, keep in mind that court clerks are forbidden by law from offering you any legal advice. Only attorneys can do this.