Oil Spill Litigation
On April 20th, 2010, a massive explosion aboard BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig, located 41 miles off the Louisiana coast, triggered a series of events that have cost the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. dearly. The explosion not only sank the rig and killed 11 workers, but it also triggered a sea floor oil gusher that has lead to what is now the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
As of late June 2010, the oil gushing from the sea floor has reached much of the Louisiana coast line, and has flowed onto the shores of Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Florida. Experts fear that the up to 4.2 million gallons of oil flowing daily into the gulf will result in both an environmental and economic disaster unseen in modern U.S. history. Extensive impact has already been felt by the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries, though the full impact of this spill may not be known for a long time.
Industries and People Affected in States Such As LA, MS, AL, and FL
The full impact of this oil spill disaster has been and will continue to be felt in many different ways and by many different people and industries including but not limited to:
- Fishing, Oystering, Crabbing, Shrimping, et. al., Companies and Employees
- Seafood Packing/Processing Companies and Employees
- Property Owners and people with Damaged Personal Property
- Hospitality and Tourism Businesses such as Charter Boats, Restaurants, Hotels, Rental Property Owners/Managers/Agents and their Employees
- Boat Dealerships and their Employees
- Marines and Docks
- Local and State Governments
- Clean Up Crews and their Employees
- Oil Rig Workers on other rigs
With the government imposing a ban on fishing in the oil affected areas, many individuals have had their sources of income destroyed. Moreover, there are countless others whose lives depend on the waters of the Gulf, either directly or indirectly, and whose livelihoods have doubtlessly been affected by this spill.
Companies That May Be Responsible
Responsibility for this disaster is not limited to just BP. In fact there are several parties that may be liable for this tragedy. They include:
- MOEX Offshore 2007
- And possibly others…
Compensation Is Available
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), set up after the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker, has established a system of compensation for those affected by any oil spill. If you are someone who has been affected, you may have options for collection from BP under this act.
As of recently, BP has set up a $20 billion fund for the compensation of those who have been impacted by this disaster. Should you send a claim to BP and they deny you or you are unhappy with the amount given, you may be compensated through a separate $1 billion fund called the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF), established under OPA 90 and run by the National Pollution Funds Center as part of the U.S. Coast Guard. Finally, another option available to those affected is the court system. Those who have caused this disaster can and should be held liable in court and forced to pay both actual and punitive damages.
Importantly, before you accept any compensation from BP or under the OSLTF, make sure you reserve all desired rights, including the right to additional compensation and the right to sue those responsible in the future.
What To Do Now?
You don’t need a lawyer to file most claims with BP, but in my opinion, you should have one. The right investigation and proof, with the help of a lawyer, can not only make it easier to file your claim, but more importantly it can get the money you need into your hands faster. Additionally, BP, though promising to pay all claims, has not only been slow in responding to those seeking relief, but it also has every incentive to not give you full compensation. Further, some claims such as personal injuries and non-economic damages are not covered under the OPA 90 and thus those with these claims are not subject to receive money from BP’s established fund.
A qualified attorney with expertise can help you decide the best option for your needs, whether it is a claim with BP, a lawsuit against one or all of the responsible parties, or joining a class action lawsuit that is already pending with people in similar situations to yours.
If you, your property, or your business have been affected by this oil rig disaster, contact Bloom Legal to protect your interests and navigate through the difficult process of charging a large business with wrongdoing and receiving just compensation. Bloom Legal will be here to represent you and zealously advocate on your behalf when battling some of the largest corporations in the world.
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