The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 Allows for Business Losses Due to Oil Spills
Florida law currently requires that a person or business suffer direct contamination from the spilled oil in order to bring a claim. However, the Federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 allows for business losses for fishermen, marinas, hotels, and any other businesses or individuals that have suffered as a result of the BP Oil Spill. So Florida residents and businesses should bring a claim under this Federal Oil Spill Act in order to recover their losses.
How Do I Bring my Florida Claim under the Oil Pollution Act?
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 provides that before a lawsuit can be filed the business or individual suffering the loss must make a claim upon the corporation that spilled the oil. So a detailed description of the claimed loss must be presented to BP in writing. A lawsuit can only be filed if the claim is denied.If the claim is not presented to BP before filing suit it is likely that the lawsuit will be dismissed.
How Do I Need to Document My Claim?
The Oil Pollution Act requires that each claim be well documented. This includes describing how the oil spill caused your loss of income and actions that you took to minimize your losses. You should also describe why you could not make up that income in some other business or with some other business. Additionally, you must account for overhead you might have saved. Business records for prior years for earnings during the same period of the year would also help to document your losses. The key to making this claim is to document in as much detail as possible.
Where Do I Make My Claim?
British Petroleum has a website at www.bp.com and you will see a claims section on the right hand side of the page that will bring up an online form that you can fill out and submit. That would be the best place to start.
Is BP paying Claims for Oil Spill Losses?
Yes, so far BP is paying many claims that are submitted to them without requiring a release of liability. You should not sign a full release of liability because it is too early to tell how long the spill will last and how much damage it will do. If you claim is not paid you should take your time to find an experienced lawyer to assist you.
If BP Denies My Claim What Type of Lawyer Do I Need?
You need a lawyer who has experience in federal law practice. Many local accident attorneys have little or no experience in federal court or in handling maritime matters. I have been practicing federal law and maritime law for 25 years and I would be happy to recommend a lawyer in your area for you if I am not able to represent you or if you would prefer a lawyer in your area.