by Marcia Wade Talbert
April 20, 2011
One Year Later, Gulf Oil Spill Continues to Impede Gulf Progress
BP has received 505,161 claims, but they’ve only paid out $3.9 billion to 177,937 to claimants and to a separate fund for real estate brokers and agents. For more than two-thirds of the people who have filed claims, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has failed to process their claims according to the timeline that was set forth at public forums and on web sites, says John Jopling, a managing attorney, at the Mississippi Center for Justice.
- There have also been complaints about a lack of specificity about why claims are being denied. “When a client is told that their documentation is insufficient, they are not told why it is insufficient,â€ says Jopling. “If they don’t think that what you sent is sufficient, they need to identify why it is deficient and tell you what else you can send so that you and your lawyer can try to meet whatever standard they are applying. But they don’t even say what that standard is.â€
- It also appears that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility isn’t paying many of the service industry claims, says Jopling, referring to cocktail waitresses, casino table dealers, people who provide spa services, and other hourly wage earners. These are individuals who weren’t directly employed in the seafood industry, but who suffered from a reduction of income when tourism decreased after the oil spill.