BP Oil Spill Claims Fund Makes One Final Settlement Payment

Only one final <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/BP-Gulf-Oil-Property-Claims-Rental-Property-Lawsuit-Lawyer-Class-Action">BP oil spill claim has been paid by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and its administrator, attorney Kenneth Feinberg, according to a report from the Associated Press. That’s out of 91,000 final settlement claims submitted to the facility so far.

It was a big one – $10 million. But according to the Associated Press, the Gulf Coast Claims Center only made the payment after BP itself intervened on the claimant’s – a company with a business relationship with BP – behalf. Feinberg told the Associated Press that the claim was not reviewed by the Claims Facility for merit, and that BP had made an outside deal with the claimant.

Obviously, other BP oil spill claimants weren’t thrilled to hear that BP had managed to get that one claim paid, while they are still waiting for news on their own, or in some cases have already been denied. Many are still struggling to make ends meet.

Feinberg has been criticized recently for what some see as an apparent lack of transparency and independence from BP. He told the Associated Press that the compensation program is a success, pointing to $3.3 billion in payments to some 251,000 claimants. But the Associated Press also pointed out that that half of the 484,000 claims filed have been denied because of ineligibility or lack of documentation.

An appeals process for denied claims set up by the U.S. Coast Guard also has few fans, according to the Associated Press. More often than not, it sides with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, critics say. So far, out of more than 200 appeals processed, the Coast Guard has agreed with the facility in every single case.

The BP oil spill began on April 20, 2010 with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men. Attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the undersea well on July 15. By that time, roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The BP oil spill, which now ranks as the largest offshore oil disaster in U.S. history, paralyzed important segments of the Gulf Coast’s economy, including seafood and tourism.

In the wake of the spill, BP agreed to provide at least $20 billion to compensate victims of the disaster.

• A quick cash one-time payment of $5,000 for individuals and $25,000 for businesses. This option requires claimants to give up their right to anymore money or to sue BP or any other responsible company.

• A final settlement of long-term damages. This also requires claimants to give up the right to sue.

• Residents and business owners who aren’t ready to make that decision may file for interim quarterly payments through August 2013, provided they can show proof of continued losses.

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