Oil Spill Claims FAQ

Skilled Legal Guidance for Gulf Coast BP Spill Claims

In 2010, 5.9 million barrels of oil were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico by BP. The oil spill adversely affected the rights of many people who live and work on the Gulf Coast. At Milam & Milam, our attorneys have handled many claims against BP and can help you file an independent lawsuit if that is more appropriate than opting into the class action settlement. Here is some information that you should know about this situation.

What is the $20 billion fund?

BP set up a $20 billion fund at President Obama's urging to compensate people living and doing business in the Gulf for loss of profits, loss of earning capacity, property damage, removal and clean up costs, and natural resource damage. Many claims were made against the fund. Although one aim of the fund is to minimize lawsuits, the amount of the fund was not a cap on BP's liabilities.

What is the class action settlement?

In 2012, BP and some plaintiffs agreed to a class action settlement with no specific cap. BP estimates this deal will ultimately cost $7.8 billion to compensate victims of the oil spill. Individual claimants are not required to agree to the settlement, but for some claimants opting into this settlement is a better decision than filing a separate lawsuit.

Who may bring a claim or lawsuit against BP for economic losses associated with the spill?

Individuals or businesses in Alabama or Florida that depend on the Gulf of Mexico to work may bring a claim against the fund, opt into the class action, or bring a separate lawsuit. This includes commercial fishermen, those in the seafood processing industry, dock and marina operators, boat owners, and those with waterfront restaurants or condominiums. Various factors may affect your claim, so an experienced attorney can evaluate what type of options make sense for your circumstances.

What documentation do I need to make a claim against BP?

You will need to submit federal tax returns. Businesses will also need bank statements, fishing licenses, reservation cancellations, bank statements, boat registration records, payroll and tax records, and accounting books. Entities that want to claim a loss of profits from the class action settlement must show what their revenue was during three consecutive months between May and December 2010. In order to recover, they must show that their revenue during the three-month period was 15% less than during the period before the spill and that their revenue was at least 10% higher in the 2010 period.

Can I recover for health conditions caused by the spill?

Yes. You can get access to the medical benefits portion of the class action settlement, or you can bring a separate lawsuit. If you are claiming against the medical benefits portion of the settlement, you must have lived at least 60 days along oil-impacted shores or been involved in the cleanup, and you must have one or more specific health conditions. In connection with the class action, BP agreed to set up a Gulf Coast health outreach program over a five-year period, during which they will pay for medical examinations. There is no specific cap on these claims.

Can I recover damages if I am working in a cash-only job?

Yes. You can prove your claim by submitting documentation, including your tax return or W-2 and the phone number of somebody who can verify your employment.

Do tourism businesses receive preferred treatment in the class action settlement?

Yes. Some of the tourism businesses receiving preferred treatment are hotels, motels, restaurants, gas stations, department stores, convenience stores, taxis, RV parks, bars or taverns, clubs related to hunting and fishing, go-karts, and other recreational sports enterprises.

What businesses are excluded from the class action settlement?

Those connected to oil and gas exploration, insurance, financial institutions, banking, and real estate are excluded from the settlement.

When can I make a claim to recover from the class action settlement?

You have to act now. Businesses not specifically excluded by the settlement order are eligible to recover. This includes businesses that may be unaware of their claims, such as boat dealers, gas stations, restaurants, medical or dental clinics, and lawn services.

Seek Advice About the Oil Spill from Attorneys Serving Alabama and Florida

Our BP spill lawyers at Milam & Milam can help you if you were harmed in Alabama or Florida. We are located in Fairhope in Baldwin County, Alabama on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Our office serves clients in cities across the Southeastern United States, such as Pensacola and Birmingham, with cutting-edge technology, clear communication, 25 years of combined experience, and ethical strategies. We work hard to seek a favorable outcome for each individual whom we represent. Contact us by calling 251-928-0191, or request a consultation through our online form.