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Settlement March 2, 2012 for Certain Gulf Oil Spill Claimants

Documents Relating to Settlement

On March 2, 2012 a preliminary settlement was reached between BP and the Plaintiff's Steering Committee to compensate hundreds of thousands of victims of the oil spill disaster. The terms of the settlement will provide, in nearly all cases, higher payouts than the GCCF was providing. The settlement terms are complicated, and a lawyer can be very helpful in evaluating whether it makes more sense a particular individual or business to opt into the settlement, or to opt out of the settlement.

This is what you need to know now:

  1. The Court will soon give preliminary approval to the settlement. Once that occurs claimants will have a specified time period--likely 60 days---to either opt into the settlement or opt out of the settlement.
  2. If you have a current non-expired final payment offer from the GCCF, you can receive 60% of the amount of the offer now without having to sign a release. Then, you can see what you would receive under this settlement and make a decision whether to opt into the settlement or opt out of the settlement. To do so within the specified time-frame will require that you gather the appropriate documentation now, and that you do not delay in submission of your claim. Our lawyers can help you with this process.
  3. The GCCF's quick pay option is only going to be available until May 7, 2012. On that date, all quick pay offers are being revoked by BP.
  4. The Court has established a "Transition Process" whereby claims can continue to be submitted and claimants can continue to receive interim payments until the Court Supervised Claims Program begins. To see Judge Barbier's Order on the Transition Process click here.
  5. The following types of claims are not. included in the settlement: State and Municipality Claims, claims by those impacted by the moratorium/business interruption claims, BP Employee Claims, claims by banks, insurance companies, casinos, financial advisors, and defense contractors. The settlement also does not address compensation for deckhands (non-vessel owners) who participated in the vessel of opportunity program but were not paid all of the time they were owed.

The documentation requirements for those participating in the settlement have been relaxed as compared with what GCCF required, and claimants are now permitted to choose any 3 months of 2010 losses to compare with either (i) 2009, (ii) 2008/2009 average, or (iii) 2007/2008/2009 average. The loss amount determined will be applied a growth factor and then, in most cases multiplied by a risk transfer premium.

In fact there were two separate settlements (both pending court approval). The first settlement is for those residents and clean-up workers who suffered injury as a result of the spill. The second settlement is for those individuals and businesses who suffered economic losses and/or property damage in the spill. The amount of the settlement is "uncapped" for all claims except for "seafood" claims--- which means that BP will have to pay whatever amount is necessary to fully compensate those who participate in the settlement in accordance with the formulas provided for in the settlement. With regard to those in the seafood industry, $2.3 Billion Dollars has been set aside to compensate those individuals and businesses with economic losses.

Our legal team is currently evaluating the following types of claims, and can give you a free consultation if you call (888) 213-8140:

  1. Physical Injury Claims/Medical Claims: Clean-Up Workers and residents who live in close proximity to the spill who suffered acute and/or chronic medical injuries are entitled to compensation if they opt into the settlement. The injuries which will likely receive compensation include: heat stroke, respiratory problems, asthma, rashes, redness, blistering, headaches, dizziness, fainting, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal injuries, chronic rhino sinusitis, nasal obstruction, facial pressure, decreased sense of smell, contact dermatitis, and eczematous reaction. Depending on where you live, it may not be necessary that you received medical treatment in order to obtain compensation under the terms of the proposed settlement. This also includes Vessel of Opportunity Worker Claims.
  2. Seafood Claims: Claims for those in the commercial fishing industry including oystermen, oyster lease holders, shrimpers, crabbers and other types of fishermen, fin fish, seafood processors, charter boat fishermen, seafood wholesalers, bulk seafood purchasers, marinas, gas stations, docks selling ice, etc.).
  3. Business Claims: Any business with losses attributable to the spill should submit a claim. The Settlement will consider paying out on claims for failed startup businesses, failed businesses and individual employees as well.
  4. Tourism Industry Claims: Compensation is provided for businesses and individuals who lost earnings as a result of the oil spill. The extent of proof necessary will depend on where you live in relation to the spill, and will be evaluated using NAICS data.
  5. Oyster Claims: the gulf oyster industry has suffered tremendously from the spill. The settlement will provide for payments to oyster lease holders on a per acre basis and will also pay those who farm oysters their lost earnings multiplied by a risk transfer premium.
  6. Real Property/Real Estate Claims: Anyone who sold real estate from May 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 in specified areas impacted by the spill would be entitled to additional compensation on top of the sales price (realized losses only). For others who own property impacted by the spill, payments will be made if your property is within the scat line of where oil impacted your property and additional payments will be made for loss of use and enjoyment of your property. These payments will be considered for those with coastal property and those with wetlands property. The people who have valid real property claims include real estate developers, condominium association owners, vacation home owners, and real estate holding companies.
  7. Vessel of Opportunity and Clean up Worker Claims: Our lawyers are working closely with many individuals who participated in the Vessel of Opportunity Program and with many individuals who helped claim up the oil by placing boom, cleaning up tar-balls along the beach, and/or skimming oil off of the Gulf surface. The proposed settlement provides compensation for those with Master Charter Vessel Agreements whether they actually were put "on hire" or not.
  8. Subsistence Claims: Those individuals and families who, prior to the spill, would catch fish to feed their families are entitled to compensation under the settlement for what is known as "loss of subsistence" damages.
  9. Other Claims: Our legal team is also evaluating other types of claims for any individual or business who suffered losses as a result of the Gulf Oil Spill.

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