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Posted by Monica on Sep 3, 2014

Recovering from the BP Oil Spill

After spilling more than 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico in April of 2110, the worst oil spill in US history, British Petroleum (BP) opened a claims program in conformity with the established compensation rule of the 1990 Oil Pollution Act. This claims program was used by injured rig workers and owners of small businesses (as well as some casino companies which were affected by the spill) in seeking compensation for damages and losses. Before BP decided to shut down this internal oil spill claims program, it covered thousands of individuals and businesses that were considered ineligible from seeking shelter under the Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program, which is a court-supervised settlement. It also became an avenue for claimants who opted to not join the program as they believed it offered a settlement amount that was not enough to cover their losses. After having settled some of the claims, and with no knowledge (by the public) as to how many claimants still needed to be paid, BP made the shocking move of shutting down the internal claims program, claiming that it will affect a very small number of people anyway as 99 percent of claims have already been settled. BP’s claim, thus far, faces bold challenges and the accusation of being a big lie as about 10,000 claimants would be affected by the decision.

To some lawyers, BP’s intent of not really paying anymore claims or paying as little amount as possible, by using the courts to stall payments, is now apparent. Though BP clearly complied with the Oil Pollution Act’s stipulation on compensation rule by opening an internal claims program in 2010, one can now question the giant oil firm’s real intent in paying out the thousands of still unsettled claims along with those who suffered losses from fraudulent oil and gas investments. This is because the spill happened four years ago, but the Oil Pollution Act’s statute of limitations lasts only for three years. Even those who have filed claims with their private insurance providers have not received fair payment, as insurance firms thought, even in 2010, that those affected by the spill will have better chances of recovery by focusing their attention to the settlement to be offered by BP. There are those who have suffered foreclosure and/or continued losses because of the very small amount of settlement offered by BP or insurance firms. While business goes on as usual for BP and Insurance firms, it is not the case for many other individuals and small businesses affected by the oil tragedy. On issues of BP settlement or insurance benefits, those affected by the spill should think seriously about seeking the help of a Dallas insurance lawyer.

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