BP Oil Spill FAQ
BP's $20 Billion Claim Fund, Now Known as the Gulf Coast Claims Facility
This system of paying victims of BP's Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was announced on 15 June 2010. It is a joint effort between BP and the federal government to establish an "organized" system of paying victims of this disaster under what is now called the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Filing this claim is not like filing a lawsuit. No representation by an attorney is necessary.
This fund will not be sufficient to pay the claims and losses related to this disaster. Nevertheless, Dean Law Firm believes it is a good start for certain types of victims of this disaster.
For a victim to receive payment from this fund, that victim must provide documentation of the losses to support the claim. This is the tricky part. If a victim does not have an experienced law firm like the Dean Law Firm advising her before the claim is submitted to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, that victim might unknowingly limit the ultimate recovery she is entitled to. In other words, she may have missed something because she has never done this before.
When Will the Gulf Coast Claims Facility Pay Me?
- You first must file a claim. The handler of your claim will ask for personal information and proof of your loss. Even if you have already filed a claim with BP, you must still file a claim with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
- Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the fund, has made emergency payments to individuals and businesses for 2010 losses and has now begun the process of making final payments.
- The $20 billion fund has been set up to pay emergency, or short term, payments to those who file a claim. Over time, the total value of your losses will be calculated based on the proof of your losses you provide to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. If you prove your losses, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility will pay a lump sum payment for your losses.
When Will It Be Too Late to File My BP Claim?
- You should ask an attorney for her opinion.
- The deadline for submission of claims for emergency payments to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility was 23 November 2010. You may still submit what the GCCF calls Voluntary Interim Payment Claims for past losses. These types of claims do not include payment for future losses or damages.
- The Gulf Coast Claims Facility will shut down operations on August 22, 2013. We recommend you do not wait to seek advice or file a claim.
- The court system has not, but very likely will, answer this question eventually.
Do I Have to File My Claim With Gulf Coast Claims Facility?
- No judge or court has answered this question or related issues yet as it relates to the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.
- Legal precedent (prior cases) suggests that certain persons and businesses who are affected by the BP Oil Spill must first go through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility before having the right to sue responsible parties/persons in state or federal court. The legal system calls this "exhausting all legal remedies."
What if I Disagree with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility about the Value of My Claim?
- The Gulf Coast Claims Facility calculates emergency payments based on a set of guidelines. This amount is an estimate and is not negotiable. Once the Gulf Coast Claims Facility calculates the emergency payment, a check will be sent along with details of how the amount was determined.
- If you disagree with the amount of the emergency payment, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility requires the claimant to submit a claim for Final Determination and at that point, you will have an opportunity to present your arguments and any other documentation supporting your claim.
- If you are dissatisfied with the decision from the claims fund about the final value of your claim, you will have the right to sue the responsible companies/parties in court for your monetary damages. Your claim now would be in the court system.
What Are the Risks to Me of Filing a Claim?
- The Gulf Coast Claims Facility is set up to handle your claim with or without the assistance of an attorney. It appears that the Claims Facility will not require you to sign a waiver, or release, to obtain short term, or emergency payments. However, you will be required to sign a waiver to ever sue BP in court if you accept a lump sum or final payment for your losses due to the oil spill.
- The Gulf Coast Claims Facility should apply the law in considering your economic losses. That law defines the boundaries of your claim, what is and is not permitted, and the proof necessary for your claim. If you choose to submit a claim for lump sum payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility without the guidance of an experienced attorney, you may endanger the full value of your claim. When you sign a waiver to accept money from the fund, you are pledging never to sue BP in court about your losses. If you later determine you made a mistake, it is likely too late.
What Should I Ask an Attorney About My Claim?
- What is the attorney's experience in building multi-million dollar "damage models" under the law?
- Does the attorney have reputable financial experts prepared to act immediately in assisting with my claim?
- What is the attorney's background in representing businesses as plaintiffs in the court system (or is she primarily a personal injury attorney)?
- What is the attorney's track record with juries in cases she has represented business as plaintiffs in court cases?
- What is the attorney's fee for services?
- What are other experienced attorneys charging for services in the BP oil spill claims process?
Why Dean Law Firm?
BP knows Dean Law Firm. James Christopher Dean knows BP. James Christopher Dean was a lead lawyer against BP for the Texas City Refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas that killed 15 workers and injured hundreds. The judge of the BP Texas City explosion case appointed James Christopher Dean as her liaison counsel with the dozens of other law firms representing victims of that refinery explosion and fire.
Dean Law Firm is representing businesses hurt or destroyed by the BP oil spill. James Christopher Dean has extensive background in representing business people in high stakes litigation. He and his experts are experienced in building multi-million dollar damages claims for businesses that are aggressive but accurate under the law.
Dean Law Firm will help you in the short term and the long term during this unprecedented disaster.
Before you sign a Release from the GCCF, call Dean Law Firm for a free consultation about your loss at 855-280-8900.