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 www.BP.com/claims, 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.