On June 4, 2012, the Gulf Coast oil spill Court Supervised Settlement Program will open, and thousands of Gulf Coast residents harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be able to file claims for their damages. As we have reported, the settlement reached by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee is a historical settlement whereby businesses and individuals will be compensated based on their unique financial position. The economic settlement is set out in a 1200 page document. It will be administered by Pat Juneau in New Orleans, La, and will cover a multitude of different claim types, including:
• Various tourism-related economic loss claims for businesses;
• Commercial shrimpers, oystermen, fin fishermen, and crabbers;
• Commercial fishing deckhands;
• Charter boat captains and fishermen;
• Seafood processor and wholesaler claims;
• Hotels, condominiums, rental properties, and rental agencies;
• Recreational and entertainment businesses, such as water sport businesses and theme parks;
• A variety of spill-related loss of wage claims for lost commissions or wages as a result of the spill;
• Gulf-front property use and enjoyment claims;
• Realized losses on real estate sales during the oil spill;
• Vessel of Opportunity claims;
• Physical boat damage claims;
• Subsistence claims.
While many may concentrate on the types of claims covered, it’s also very important to understand what areas are covered under the settlement. The settlement provides compensation for those who qualify in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, four counties in Texas, and the Panhandle and Western-most counties of Florida. For this reason, businesses and individuals within the settlement’s geographic coverage should take a good look at their financials to determine whether they may have a claim. Lawyers in our firm have fielded calls from businesses and individuals further inland from the coast and calculated significant claims for them under the spill settlement.
In addition to the economic settlement, a separate and equally ground-breaking medical settlement will also open on June 4, 2012. It will be administered by Matthew Garretson of The Garretson Firm Resolution Group. For residents who qualify and cleanup workers, Claimants will be entitled to up-front money compensation for symptoms related to their exposure, a 21-year medical consultation program, and a back-end litigation option against BP for any hidden illnesses that develop later as a result of exposure to oil and dispersant. Given the extreme difficulty in litigating toxic tort exposure cases and obtaining medical consultation programs, we believe this settlement is a very good result for Gulf Coast residents.
Our firm is in the process of preparing claims to file with the settlement program as soon as it opens. Many businesses and individuals have multiple claims. It’s very important that Claimants bring all of their qualifying claims in the settlement – otherwise, they could be lost forever. In addition, claimants with claims that qualify in the settlement must decide by October 1, 2012 whether they want to participate in the settlement. That is critically important.
Lawyers in our firm continue to assist our clients in either the settlement process, or for those who do not qualify under the settlement, outside the settlement process. If you have any questions about the settlement process or about an oil spill claim, we have separated our lawyers by client type:
• For questions about commercial and tourism-related businesses, contact John Tomlinson at John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com.
• For questions about real estate, rental property, and rental agency claims, contact Chris Boutwell at Chris.Boutwell@beasleyallen.com.
• For questions about commercial fishermen, charter fishermen, marinas, vessel of opportunity and personal injury exposure claims, please contact Parker Miller at Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com.
• For questions about loss of wage claims, contact William Sutton at William.Sutton@beasleyallen.com.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
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