February 28th marked the beginning of BP’s civil trial, resulting in a plethora of greed, failure to maintain, and finger pointing allegations. With testimony from Randy Ezell, a survivor of the BP rig explosion, and a series of text messages and e-mails portraying the dismissal of maintenance needs and further required safety procedures, BP is facing the most expensive civil fine in history. The US Department of Justice is vying for the maximum fine of $17.6 billion against BP for gross negligence, though the minimum possible penalty is estimated at about $4.5 billion if BP is found simply negligent.
Questions have been raised as to whether or not this trial could have an impact on the Deepwater Horizon Settlement Program, and the short answer is no. The trial will determine liability and damages owed to the States and U.S. government, while the Deepwater Horizon Settlement Program is set-up to provide compensation to businesses and individuals who suffered direct or indirect economic losses as a result of the oil spill. The Settlement Program, which was granted final approval on December 21st, 2012, is addressing the trickle down impacts that caused businesses to suffer, and in some cases, close down all together.
The Settlement is unlike others in more ways than one. Aside from compensating for the worst oil spill in U.S. History, it is court-supervised by a federal judge. It is un-capped, meaning BP is required to pay all valid claims. This settlement will provide billions in economic stimulus funds to qualifying businesses. Additionally, BP is not required to inform those businesses located in the included geographic zones that they in fact may valid and valuable claims.
The court has established a complex set of specific guidelines to determine whether a company meets causation. There are 135 variations that need to be analyzed when determining causation and compensation on a claim, therefore damages may not always follow the easy-to-spot V-shaped trend, but still be a valid claim.
ERG Law Firm is assisting businesses by navigating the BP claims process for them from start to finish. With our highly qualified team of attorneys and financial analysts located strategically throughout the state of Florida, ERG is ready to assist you.
Are you eligible? It’s worth the look.