As a result of the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and the resulting Gulf of Mexico oil spill, British Petroleum (BP) set aside $20 billion dollars to help those affected who may have suffered losses or damages.
BP Oil Spill Claims
BP decided to award the damage and loss claims in two main phases – an “emergency claim” phase, which ended November 23rd, and a “final claim” phase, which will end in August 2013. There will also be “interim claims” that can be made quarterly before you make your final claim. In the first “emergency claim” phase, nearly half a million victims filed claims. Over 125,000 of these claims have been paid out so far, resulting in a total depletion of the fund by over $2 billion dollars. The $20 billion fund is also restricted to only pay out $5 billion per year for each until 2013.
How much can you get from you BP Claims
How much will you receive from BP? Will you get 100% of all of your loss and damage claims? On average so far, local fishermen who were affected received $17,000 for losses suffered from the oil spill. For comparison, the average Gulf fisherman lost approximately $30,000 during the spill. One man who made an early final claim requested $1.4 million to cover his past and future losses. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) paid him only $14,000. So when considering what you can expect from your BP final claim, keep in mind that there are lots of victims and only a finite amount of cash. Something is better than nothing.
Why did you not get what you asked for ?
Why are people not receiving all of their losses? Remember that BP set aside $20 billion dollars for loss and damage claims resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Further, as stated above, there is a restriction of $5 billion dollars worth of payouts per year. While that seems like a lot of money, remember that there are potentially millions of victims that might have claims against BP. That is a lot of people trying to drink from the same fountain, so to speak. Therefore, you may not get everything you are claiming, but once again: something is better than nothing. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 sets a cap of only $75 million dollars to deal with situations such as this. BP is offering $20 billion dollars, which is significantly more than they were required to. This may seem unfair, but if claims against companies were unlimited, the companies would simply declare bankruptcy and no one would get any money at all. This is not meant to discourage you, but rather to give you an idea what you can expect from your BP final claim.
Right To Appeal or go with an attorney
If you are unhappy with the award you are given from the GCCF, you have the right to appeal your case to the United States Coast Guard and/or the federal court system. For those who receive $250,000 or more, there is a three-judge panel who will hear appeals from those who feel they did not receive enough. Though there is no official “cap” on loss and damage claims, BP has said that it does reserve the right to appeal any award over $500,000.