How To File A Claim Against BP For Oil Spill Damages
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Workers process BP oil spill claims at a center in New Orleans, Lousiana. (Source: BP)

As a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico many businesses are facing an inability to earn income. Those affected range from commercial and private fisheries to dock, marina and waterfront property owners, and even city, county or state governments.

British Petroleum, the company responsible for the disaster, has taken steps to provide restitution for those and others who are suffering from bodily harm or illness, property damage, and/or loss of income. Last week, the company announced that it would create a $20 billion claims fund to satisfy “all legitimate claims” including natural resource damages.

There are three ways to file a claim with BP. The company is accepting claim applications by phone at 1-800-440-0858, on the Web at, and at one of 33 field offices in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. A 1,000-member claim team has already received about 64,000 claims and issued payments exceeding $100 million to date and is preparing to receive more.

Before you place your claim here are five steps you need to take in order to ensure your economic needs are met:

Determine your type of claim. Different documentation is required for each type of claim. Claims can be submitted for:

— Property damage
— Net loss of profits and earning capacity
— Subsistence loss and natural resource damage
— Removal and cleanup costs
— Cost of increased public services
— Net loss of government revenue

Gather your documentation. BP needs verifiable evidence that you have been negatively affected by the oil spill. Here are examples of what you’ll need:

Loss of income or net profit claim documentation can include: Tax records, trip tickets, wage loss statements, deposit slips, boat registrations, and/or copies of your current fishing license. If you are filing for lost wages then file a separate claim form for each person affected. For business interruption losses, a claim representative will determine the amount of time the business was not operational and will request financial records including profit and loss statements and tax returns.
Cash-only employees will need to provide a phone number for manager to confirm employment, but they can submit pay stubs or another document showing how much money they earn.
For claims related to property damage you might need photographs and/or receipts after you replace or clean the property. Larger property damage claims may require an on-site inspection by a claim adjuster. If you are reporting property damage to more than one vehicle, boat, or water vessel, and they all belong to one owner, file a single claim form. If they belong to different owners, file one claim form for each owner.
Loss of rental claims can include prior occupancy rates, cancellations, tax records, and bookkeeping records. If you are reporting property damage and more than one real estate property is involved, please file a separate claim form for each address.
Bodily injury claims are not payable under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990; however, BP will evaluate each bodily injury claim submitted on a case-by-case basis. You will need to provide medical records, medical bills, or pharmacy records to support the claim.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.