Confirmed Yesterday with claims administrator Patrick Juneau that the first check have gone out to people accepting their offers from the Deepwater Horizon Settlements, two weeks ago we reported that we had seen the first 4 offers come in. We saw 3 VOO claims beeing offered $66,000 each and 1 real estate claim being offered 25k. Not all could accept these offers only because of the implication of accepting an offer would have on your other claim. So the way it works is like this. If you accept your VoO money then you have to take your business economical claim though the settlement process also. You cannot choose to accept VoO but reject the economical claim for your charter fishing business. Its all or nothing in this one.
The people that could not accept their offers are patiently waiting for their economical claim to be processed and to see an offer on it before accepting their VoO claim.
How Long Should I Wait For My Settlement Offer ?
The next deadline comes on October 1 2012, where you have to opt out of the settlement or forever be stuck in the Deepwater Settlement. You might ask why this opt out is so important, and here is the answer. If you don’t opt out before October 1 2012 you are stuck with what ever they offer you. It could be you think the court settlement is going to be fair and you opt to stay in and find out, but just remember if you do that there is no recourse if its not fair. There is no suing BP if the settlement is not fair to you.
Right now they are processing about 11,500 claims out of 46,000 claims that has been submitted. Its not to late to submit your personal or business claim to the settlement, but I would advice you to seek an attorney to do it for you as the claims process is a real jungle. You want to make sure that everything is done correct on your claim for best results. If you are afraid that the attorneys will opt out your claim on October 1 2012, you should be, but its always your decision in the end on what you want to do, just remember to listen to their advice as they do know what they are doing.
Getting An Attorney To Represent You
The attorneys all work on a contingency basis so you will not pay them anything before you get your money, so its free to contact and attorney and to sign up with them. In the contract you sign the attorneys get paid 25% off what you get in the settlement. They will wait to take their payment for the work they perform until you get your money. So let them do the hard work up front, give them all the documents they require and then wait for the settlement office to send you a settlement offer. This way your legal rights are protected by the lawyers and they will try and get you as much as possible with all the different claims out there. Fill out the red form and you will hear from an attorney today.
The most important thing for you to do after you sign up with an attorney is to tell them your address of your employer so they can see what zone you are in if its a personal claim, and to give them W2 for the years 2009, 2010.
Help your attorney with the paperwork that they need from you will get you a settlement offer the fastest.
Quick-Pay Releases Updates
I have found one law firm that will take a look at individual releases from Shrimpers, oystermen, commercial fishermen, crabers and anybody in the seafood industry. This means if you have sign a final release or a quick pay with the GCCF and you are in the seafood industry, you should fill out a claims form now and I will get you in touch with the law firm to handle your lawsuit against BP to change your final release and hopefully get you more money. This offer is only for people in the seafood industry, mostly seafood harvesters will have the best chance to be considered for this lawsuit. Please fill out a claim and give me as much detail as possible.
Example: I am a shrimper and they gave me $5,000 to sign a release. Please fill out the red form on this website now.
Anybody else not in the seafood harvesting business please do not fill out forms yet as there is nothing I can do for you guys right now.
The Quick Pay system that the GCCF was using to get people to sign off with BP for small money like $5,000 and $25,000 was working well for the GCCF, by their own statistics almost 200,000 people got paid this way.
Read All About The BP Settlement
I am not saying this was a bad thing as it was an easy payment solution for people that did not want to go though the hassle of paperwork and waiting for processing. I would say in most cases the Quick Pay was a good thing for most people especially BP.
Now what I do have a big problem with, and I hope it gets addressed by this BP settlement is the fact that Oystermen, Shrimpers and Crabbers got paid $5,000 on the docks when they came in, and had to sign a contract not to sue right there on the docks to get their $5,000 check.
Clear Injustice In BP Claims Quick Pay To Seafood Industry
That was a clear injustice that the GCCF and BP did there especially after it has become clear what trouble their industry is in now, its very clear that $5,000 does not cover an oysterman’s losses from the BP oil spill. Its very clear that $5,000 does not cover shrimpers losses from the oil spill.
I hope that the BP settlement will address this with make up payments to seafood harvesters, the class of people I am talking about here is very limited and there might be 20,000 people in all in this group that was clearly taken advantage off by the GCCF and BP.
If this injustice does not get taken into account in the BP settlement I will take it on myself to mount a court battle with BP over the faith of these people that clearly were lured into accepting money for something that they had no idea what the scope of the problem was. On top of that the losses that the seafood industry have had since the oil spill, have made even the tightest purse strings open up. The lasted was when Kenneth Feinberg offered this group 4 times their 2010 losses.
BP Settlement Should Address This Problem
I would hope the BP settlement takes this small group into account when finalizing the BP settlement and let this group come back to the table and get a make up payment for their losses. This would eliminate a future court battle with an organized group of seafood harvesters fighting for their real losses from the BP oil spill.
Right now its not being addressed in what I have seen from the BP settlement but I hope this appeal will change that if its not to late. If its to late I would suggest we all get organized and bring the case to the courts to decide.
Now I want to make this very clear, this is only for the seafood group of quick pay recipients, this is not everybody that took a quick pay. I am sure there are other groups that took a quick pay that did it under duress because they had to have the money to keep their house or truck or to buy food. I am not saying that this was fair in anyway.
This appeal however goes out for a group of people who’s lively hood was changed because of the BP oil spill that has boats, equipment and skill sets that can only be used to harvest seafood. This group has been responsible for the good seafood we all enjoy. This group has been side tracked and taken advantage of by BP and the GCCF and this group should get another shot at compensation.
Lawsuit for Quick Pay Recipient in the Seafood Industry
If the BP settlement process does not take care of the seafood quick pay recipients attorneys will, and this will be a nightmare trial for BP. Could you imagine a shrimper that has lost everything going to trial and BP have to defend that $5,000 compensated is this guy for all his losses. They will also have to defend that this poor guy signed a contract not to sue BP. I think this lawsuit would end very badly for BP, both in the media and in court.
So a shout out to the people finishing up the BP settlement to put some wording in there for seafood people to be able to get a make up payment if their Quick Pay is deemed inadequate for their situation.
Now I am making this appeal because I have the medium to do so in my blog. I will help this group by writing here, if the settlement does not address this problem I will address this problem in future blog post when the time is right and we will get everybody organized with one attorney that will take the fight at the courts.
Please do not fill out forms for this right now its not the right time to get attorneys to deal with this problem. Lets wait until the time is right, I know waiting is not what most of you guys want to do right now, but we have to get an attorney to be on board to do this work and I don’t have that at this time.
I will not forget this issue and will come back to it.