A Few Pointers on Submitting an Oil Spill Claim

Whenever there is an oil spill, hundreds of people are affected. Businesses are particularly vulnerable to disruption, as they have their revenue streams interrupted, equipment damaged, and have to make expensive, time consuming alternative arrangements just to keep some form of revenue stream going. One would think that these businesses would have no trouble getting compensation for their damages in an oil spill. Unfortunately, in an oil spill, whoever was responsible and their attorneys are often flooded with fraudulent claims of people who want to exploit the disaster and make a quick buck. As such, if you want to get your legitimate claim processed, you need to be organized and meticulously document your damages.

First, if you have been damaged by the oil, make sure to make a record of it. If there is oil on your property, take a picture of it before getting it fixed. If your favorite fishing hole is blocked off due to oil, get a picture. Do anything you can to show that you actually suffered damaged by the oil spill.

Second, if you have to make alternative arrangements to keep your business going, then do so. A legal principle in winning damages is that the aggrieved party is supposed to mitigate their damages, or take measures to cut their losses and minimize what the responsible party owes. If you decide to not work after an oil spill and sit around while you wait for the cleanup to be completed, you will not be seen as having mitigated your damages, and you may have your award drastically reduced.

Third, keep any records or receipts that show the expenses you incurred when altering your business to adapt to the oil spill. Chances are, if the oil spill is affecting your business, you are having to spend money on alternative arrangements. For example, you are using extra gasoline in your boat to take customers on boat rides to areas that are not oiled. The same principle applies to losses due to the oil spill. If you are the owner of a beachfront boat rental business, for example, keep records regarding people cancelling boat reservations after an oil spill as evidence of your losses. Basically, collect any documentation you can showing the hardships you have suffered due to the spill.

Fourth, have business records ready for examination. If you are claiming business loss damages, the party that spilled the oil is going to want to see your balance sheets, tax statements, and financial documents over several years to see if you really suffered an annual loss due to the oil spill. Having these records ready is not only evidence of how the oil spill affected you, but goes a long way in showing you are a legitimate claimant.

If you have been damaged in any way by an oil spill, you may wish to contact an experienced offshore injury lawyer. Such an attorney can guide you through the claims process and the documentation collection process to get the money you deserve.


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