In April of 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, a deepwater oil-drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico, caused a massive oil spill that caused inestimable damage to the environment and the businesses in the surrounding area. Almost five million barrels of oil spread for hundreds of miles, killing wildlife and wreaking havoc for the fishing and tourist industries. The majority of the blame for the spill was attributed to BP, and to a lesser degree to Transocean and Halliburton, the companies that respectively operated and built the well.
Businesses that were negatively affected by the spill have a right to sue for compensation, and a preliminary Deepwater Horizon settlement has been approved by the courts, which will now be administering the disposition of these settlements. If you have suffered an economic loss due to the spill you are eligible for compensation, but in order to collect for damages suffered, an extensive framework of documentation is required. The courts have set out that any business seeking compensation through the BP settlement must provide not only the claim form itself, but also paperwork showing all information on the structure and ownership of your business, licensure of your business and proof that the person filing the claim can speak on behalf of the business.
There is a long list of documentation specific to the years 2010 and 2011, including federal tax returns, profit and loss statements, monthly sales documentation for retail businesses, and lodging and occupancy information with historical comparisons for hotel and rental businesses. For businesses that are not in the immediate location, the settlement requires proof that the oil spill was the cause of economic damages. All affected parties are also required to provide details of previous payments received as a result of the spill.
The range of information that is being required has been designed to bring both uniformity and transparency to the processing of these claims, in large part because there are expected to be so many of them. Although the need for this type of process is understandable, it is also frustrating and time consuming, and navigating these requirements may be difficult for businesses that are still trying to recover and regroup from economic losses. If you believe that you are eligible for compensation it is essential that you begin the process of filing a claim now, as the deadlines that have been imposed are drawing nearer.