Claims forms for Emergency Advance Payment must be submitted to the Gulf Coast Claims Center no later than November 23, 2010. Missing this deadline will prevent you from receiving any Emergency Advance Payments. It is urgent that you file your claim by this date. If you need assistance filling out the Gulf Coast Claims Center claims form please contact us at 1 800 BIG SPILL (1-800-244-7745).
In the wake of the catastrophic BP oil spill, the oil company agreed to provide at least $20 billion to compensate victims of the disaster. The fund is being administered by Kenneth Feinberg via the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Individuals, business and governmental entities who have suffered economic and/or physical injuries due to the BP oil spill are eligible to file a claim for Emergency Advance Payment for up to six months of losses and/or physical injuries.
Claims forms for these emergency payments must be submitted to the Gulf Coast Claims Center by November 23, 2010 or claimants will waive their right to receive an Emergency Advance Payment. Claimants may accept an Emergency Advance Payment without waiving any of their legal rights.
In addition, they must also apply for final payment of long-term damages through August 23, 2013. Accepting a final payment of long-term damages requires that claimants waive their right to sue BP or any of the parties responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. You can accept an Emergency Advance Payment(s) and reject the final payment if you find it to be unsatisfactory.
Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free consultations to individuals, businesses and governmental entities impacted by the BP oil spill. If you need assistance in filing a claim for Emergency Advance Payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Center, please call 1-800-BIG-SPILL (1-800-244-7745). If you or someone you know has sustained damages because of this disaster, we urge you to contact us immediately to protect your legal rights.
Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion has produced the largest oil spill in the world, and has become a serious environmental catastrophe. Our oil spill lawyers are aggressively investigating this disaster, and are planning to file lawsuits on behalf of anyone who suffered physical, economic or property damages because of this explosion and resulting oil spill. We are committed to holding BP PLC and Transocean LTD accountable for the damage caused to all the southern Gulf Coast states, Louisiana, Alabama, Missiassippi, Florida and Texas by this tragic incident.
Our Oil Spill lawyers are offering free case evaluations to individuals and businesses who suffered property damage, business interruption or any type of economic loss / hardship caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 allows individuals and entities impacted by oil spills to collect compensation for property loss, loss of income and other damages caused by such incidents. Parties deemed responsible for an oil spill are liable for such losses.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill now ranks among the worst offshore drilling disasters in recent U.S. history. After burning for more than 36 hours, the offshore rig sunk into the Gulf of Mexico. At the time of its collapse, 13,000 gallons of crude oil per hour was spilling into the sea. By the following day, an oil spill measuring 100 square miles was drifting northeast toward shore.
At the same time, hope was fading that 11 men missing since the explosion would be found alive. If the missing men are not found alive, the Deepwater Horizon disaster would go down as the deadliest U.S. offshore rig explosion since 1968.
Environmental Damage from Oil Spills
The oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is raising serious environmental concerns, and could threaten the fragile ecosystem of the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts. Those areas serve as nurseries for fish and shrimp and habitat for birds.
Oil spills are one of the worst environmental disasters, causing both short-term and long-term pollutant side effects. Consequences of oil spills include dead and dying wildlife, tarred beaches, damaged fisheries and contaminated water supplies. If oil waste reaches the shoreline or coast, it interacts with sediments such as beach sand and gravel, rocks and boulders, vegetation, and terrestrial habitats of both wildlife and humans, causing erosion as well as contamination.
Oil spills present the potential for enormous harm to deep ocean and coastal fishing and fisheries. The immediate effects of toxic and smothering oil waste may be mass mortality and contamination of fish and other food species, but long-term ecological effects may be worse. Oil waste poisons the sensitive marine and coastal organic substrate, interrupting the food chain on which fish and sea creatures depend, and on which their reproductive success is based. Commercial fishing enterprises may be affected permanently.
The Clean Water Act
Our oil rig spill lawyers are investigating the Deepwater Horizon disaster to determine if either BP PLC or Transocean LTD violated the federal Clean Water Act. In 1973, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established regulations to address the oil spill prevention provisions contained in the Clean Water Act. The regulation forms the basis of EPA’s oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasures, or SPCC, program, which seeks to prevent oil spills from certain aboveground and underground storage tanks.
The regulation requires each owner or operator of a regulated facility to prepare an SPCC Plan. The Plan is required to address the facility’s design, operation, and maintenance procedures established to prevent spills from occurring, as well as countermeasures to control, contain, clean up, and mitigate the effects of an oil spill that could affect navigable waters.
The regulations were revised on two occasions, in 1991 and 1994. The revisions incorporated new requirements added by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 that direct facility owners or operators to prepare, and in some cases submit to the federal government, plans for responding to a worst-case discharge of oil.
The Oil Pollution Act
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) was implemented in response to the Exxon Valdez disaster. It created a comprehensive prevention, response, liability, and compensation regime to deal with vessel- and facility-caused oil pollution to U.S. navigable waters. The Oil Spill lawyers at our firm have represented hundreds of people negatively impacted by such incidents, and our knowledge of OPA liability provisions and other applicable laws has allowed us to obtain the greatest possible compensation for our clients.
Under federal law, all of the owners or other parties responsible for a vessel or a facility which causes an oil spill are liable for the removal costs and damages caused by the spill. Federal law also provides for liability of third parties if it is shown that the act or omission on the part of the third party caused an oil spill.
Under federal law, individuals can make the following oil spill damage claims:
Property Damage: Injury to or economic loss resulting from destruction of real property (land or buildings) or other personal property. Property damage claims can be made by people or entities that own or lease the damaged property. The costs of removing oil from your own property can also be included in property damage claims. Boat damage is included as a subset of property damage.
Loss of Profit and Earnings Capacity: Damages equal to the loss of profits or impairment of earning capacity due to the injury, destruction, or loss of property or natural resources. Anyone with loss of profits or income may make such a claim. You do not have to own the damaged property or resources to submit a claim under this category.
Loss of Subsistence Use of Natural Resources: These claims may be filed by individuals if natural resources you depend on for subsistence use purposes have been injured, destroyed, or lost by an oil spill incident. Again, you do not have to own or manage the natural resource to submit a claim under this category.
BP Accused of Safety Violations At Another Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig
BP, the firm leasing the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last week, is facing a U.S. investigation over possible safety violations on another offshore platform. According to a report in the UK Guardian, a whistleblower has accused BP of breaking the law by not keeping key documents relating to the Atlantis oil rig.
BP denies the allegations, and says it is cooperating with the investigation.
According to The Guardian, Atlantis, which is situated 190 miles south of New Orleans, is the world’s largest platform of its kind. It began operating in 2007 in the Gulf of Mexico at one of the deepest depths in the world. The whistleblower who sparked the Atlantis investigation was employed by a contractor working for BP.
The whistleblower leaked internal BP memos from August 2008 that seem to imply that the company may not have been keeping a complete accurate record of drawings of the components used to build Atlantis. Under U.S. law, rig operators are required to keep complete, up-to-date “as-built” drawings.
One email authored by a BP executive involved in the project warned that if BP assumed the drawings were accurate and up-to-date, “this could lead to catastrophic operator errors.”
An official reply dated April 2010 to the whistleblower from BP’s office of the ombudsman seemed to acknowledge a problem. “Your concerns about the project not following the terms of its own Project Execution Plan were substantiated, and addressed by a BP Management of Change document,” it said.
The Guardian was given the ombudsman’s response by the US environmental consumer campaign group Food and Water Watch. When asked by The Guardian to authenticate the reply, BP would not comment. However, the company maintained that it has “found no evidence to substantiate the organization’s (Food and Water Watch) claims with respect to Atlantis project documentation.”
The U.S. Minerals Management Service has said it will investigate Atlantis documentation issue, after being prodded to do so by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. A report is expected by the end of next month.
The Deepwater Horizon explosion, which has spawned a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the questions surrounding the Atlantis platform are just the latest events to put a spotlight on BP’s safety record. Last year, the company was fined $87 million by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) failing to correct safety violations at the Texas City refinery. In March 2005, an explosion and fire at Texas City killed 15 workers.
The Minerals Management Service is expected to launch an investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster this week. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has also opened a probe into the explosion and spill.
Legal Help for BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Claims
Individuals who suffered damages from the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill need to obtain legal counsel with experience in the area of oil spill liability as soon as possible. The Oil Spill lawyers at our firm have helped hundreds of people affected by such catastrophes, and we will work hard to make sure that your rights under the OPA and other federal laws are protected. Please fill out our online form or call 1-888-BIG-SPILL (1-888-244-7745) to discuss your case with an experienced oil spill lawyer today.
Bloomberg — April 27, 2010 — April 27 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg’s Anastasia Haydulina reports on the clean-up operation after the BP-leased rig Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank last week in the Gulf of Mexico. BP, which is battling an underwater well leak streaming 1,000 barrels of oil a day into the sea, said today profit more than doubled in the first quarter on higher oil prices.
CBSNewsOnline — April 26, 2010 — A man-made disaster is developing in the Gulf of Mexico as a huge amount of oil leaks from the drilling rig that recently exploded and sank. As Kelly Cobiella tells us, it’s headed toward land.
April 26, 2010 — The Coast Guard is working around the clock to secure a 1,000 gallon-a-day oil leak from a rig that exploded off the Louisiana coast last week.
CBS — April 23, 2010 — While an environmental catastrophe may have been averted, the oil slick covering 5 square miles still poses a threat.
CBS — April 22, 2010 — The oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to become an environmental disaster.