Two years after the massive explosion that killed well workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling operation and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a new process has been put into place for settling the claims of individuals and business owners impacted by the disaster.
Shortly after the spill took place, President Obama set up the Gulf Coast Claims Facility with the intention of creating a simple, fair and generous process for the distribution of compensatory funds for businesses and individuals who were injured or economically hurt by the BP oil spill. The organization, which was also known as the GCCF, was placed under the direction of Kenneth Feinberg, who had recently overseen the distribution of funds following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other well-known victims’ compensation funds. But the GCCF was quickly accused of bias because Feinberg and his staff’s salaries were being paid by BP, and the organization was also criticized about the claims that were rejected and the amount of time that it took to distribute funds.
The issues with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility have now been resolved by the establishment of a new distribution process under the terms of a recently approved settlement agreement which will distribute an estimated $7.8 billion dollars to residents who suffered either physical and health damages as a result of the spill, or economic damages. The new process will be administered through eighteen different local offices that opened on June 4th. They are located in all five of the states that were directly impacted by the oil. Their staff has been provided with a series of formulas for use in calculating compensation for different types of damages, and a set of clearly defined guidelines that identify those who are eligible for compensation under the terms of the settlement agreement.
It is anticipated that the new set up will compensate Deepwater Horizon victims in a manner that will be much faster and more efficient than the Gulf Coast Claims Facility was able to accomplish, but there are still concerns that have been voiced by many who fear that they have been left out of the process or that they will not be adequately compensated. If you have been harmed by the BP oil spill and need assistance or counsel from a qualified attorney, it is suggested that you seek help soon, as claims can only be filed for a limited amount of time.