Filing a claim online with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is free. That’s right – there is no cost to file your claim. Does that seem too good to be true? Well, it just might be. 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.
What good would an Attorney Do ?
Attorneys are experts in these matters, and you will definitely do yourself a favor by retaining one. 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.
Advantages to having an attorney
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.
While you might not want to pay for an attorney to handle your BP final claim, it may very well be the difference between getting a much larger settlement (even after the attorney takes his piece) and getting an average settlement that you get to keep all to yourself.