For the time being, British Petroleum has finally stopped the flow of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Months have gone by since the explosion aboard the Deep Water Horizon, and to date there appears to be more questions than answers. One of the only certainties thus far is that the impact of the spill has been devastating. The oil has recently appeared on the beaches of Texas, having now reached all the States that boarder the Gulf, having previously reached Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. The oil spill has released toxic substances, which have caused harm to so many businesses, people, local governments, and the environment in many different ways. In addition to the tragedy taking the lives of 11 workers aboard the rig that day, the oil has left behind a wake of destruction everywhere it has appeared. The oil has devastated the plant and animal life in and along the Gulf Coast, robbed thousands of the ability to make a living, and forced people, businesses, and local governments to bear the enormous cost of the clean up.
Compensation is Available
Those who have been affected by the Gulf oil spill are entitled to be compensated for their losses. The lawyers and associating attorneys of Gacovino and Lake have been hard at work to help people and businesses obtain the compensation they are entitled to. Although the process is complex and may seem daunting at times, we are available to answer any questions and provide assistance with presenting claims to BP’s independent claims facilities and claims through the courts.
Who is Responsible?
There are a host of large corporations who may be legally obligated to provide monetary restitution. British Petroleum is an international global based energy company. It is the third largest energy company, and fourth largest company in the entire world. The company maintains its United States headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company owned the majority of the oil rights to the oil produced by the well under the Deep Water Horizon drilling rig. It also leased the rights to the rig itself from Transocean. Transocean, is the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor, also provided staff and equipment to British Petroleum. The Switzerland based company were the owners of the Deep Water Horizon rig and leased it to British Petroleum. The world’s second largest oilfield services corporation, Hallibruton, who maintains its worldwide headquarters in Houston, Texas, was involved in the cementing process that keeps the pipe from the rig cemented to the ocean floor. Many experts believe that a problem with that process was the likely cause of the explosion. In addition to the companies mentioned above, Cameron International Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, provides pressure control systems to various energy companies. The company manufactured the blow out preventer, which is supposed to be activated during an emergency to crimp the pipes in order to prevent oil leakage. Press reports and interviews with some crew members working on the rig state that although they tried to activate the blow out preventer when the emergency occurred, they were unsuccessful, and forced to abandon the rig.
Oil Protection Act
In 1990 in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Alaska, Congress decided to provide victims of oil pollution with legal remediesagainst those responsible. To date, BP has been designated as one such responsible party under the Act. The most obvious and common question asked by those affected involve what type of harm is recoverable? Under the law, affected individuals and corporations can seek compensation for damage to their real estate, personal property, as well as loss of earnings and the cost of any clean up. Although the law has limitations, many believe that due to possible gross negligence or actual willful misconduct, some or all of the companies may have lost their rights to any protection. In order to seek compensation under the Oil Protection Act, a potential claimant must first present their claim along with any proof to BP’s claim offices located throughout the Gulf. to the responsible party, which in this case is BP.
Independent Monetary Fund: $20 Billion
In the event the claim is not resolved satisfactorily, a party harmed by the disaster can submit their claim to the recently established independent monetary fund. This fund, negotiated between the Obama administration and British Petroleum, is being administered by Kenneth Feinberg, Esq., the same person who helped the victims and families of 9/11 receive compensation from the fund that was established for those affected by the acts of terrorism. To date BP has committed $20 billion to the fund over the next three years. There are three types of payments that can be made through the fund. Initial payments are made to help ensure that companies and individuals affected are able to pay their daily living expenses. The second type of payment is known as interim payments. An interim payment is generally larger than an initial payment, and acts as a bridge to the final payment. The final payment will be paid out upon a party proving the monetary loss of their real estate, personal property or lost income.
How an Oil Spill Lawyer Can Help
Although legal representation is not required to receive money from the fund, it is important to remember that documentation proving any losses, clean up costs, or reduction in the value of land and/or buildings, must be provided. In many cases a forensic accountant, or real estate appraisal will be required in addition to any other experts that one may wish to present. The oil spill lawyers at Gacovino and Lake, and their associating attorneys, are currently handling a wide variety of claims by those affected by the oil spill. We are currently investigating potential claims, and are available to answer any questions free of charge. In addition, if you would like to more about the fund, you can go to BP’s oil spill claims webpage. Click here to view a live feed of the oil. If you would like to speak to one of our oil spill attorneys, please call us at 1-877-785-5800