BP Oil Spill Claims Administrator Says More Than $2 Billion Has Been Paid Already
Recently released data by the supervisor of all BP Gulf Coast oil spill claims has said that both individuals and companies have received more than $2 billion through the company’s class action settlement thus far.
The claims administrator, Patrick Juneau, said industries and individuals
damaged as a result of the Gulf oil spill should take comfort in knowing
that claims are getting paid and that the office is busy handling and
paying out many more. Juneau says his team has paid more than $1.43 billion
just for those claims that were filed after the BP settlement was announced
last year. Another $404 million was paid for claims that Juneau inherited
after replacing the original Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which had been
created to process civil damage claims. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility
was set up very soon after the 2010 oil spill and, during its run, paid
out more than $6 billion for the 221,300 claims it processed before the
new court-supervised process was created in the summer of 2012.
The new court-supervised team has handled an equally impressive number of requests, almost a quarter of a million phone calls and just under 100,000 claims. Juneau says that of the claimants who were offered settlements, 95% have agreed to accept them. Juneau says those injured by the spill and its aftermath should interpret such a high acceptance rate as proof that the court-supervised claims process is being handled fairly and that settlement amounts accurately reflect the degree of harm suffered.
The recently agreed upon settlement has BP on the hook for paying around $7.8 billion to resolve tens of thousands of individual civil claims against the giant oil company. The current price tag is only an estimate, BP has not capped the amount it will pay, and the amount will vary based on the precise number and severity of claims filed.
Those affected by the spill, and thus those covered by the settlement, make for a varied group. One big category of injured individuals includes those in the commercial fishing industry who are in line to receive more than $2 billion. This includes captains, boat owners and even deckhands who were negatively impacted by the terrible oil spill. BP’s agreement also covered individual property owners, those working in the tourism industry, medical expenses for those who handled the cleanup of the spill and others who became ill due to exposure to oil or the chemicals used to disperse it.
The deadline for those contemplating filing claims for compensation under the BP settlement is April 22, 2014.
Source: “BP oil spill settlement offers surpass $2 billion mark,” by Richard Thompson, published at NOLA.com.
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