Doug / 06-23-2010 / Newsletter

Insurance Claims Arising from the BP Oil Spill

For going on two months now, oil from a deepwater wellhead nearly a mile beneath the surface has flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil slick covers an area of about 2,500 square miles. Estimates of the amount of oil that continues to flow out of the wellhead each day ranges from several hundred thousand to several million gallons.

An explosion on a BP drilling rig caused the oil spill. The rig had experienced problems for years before the explosion set off the largest environmental disaster in US history. On April 20, a pocket of pressurized methane gas shot up a drill column and exploded on the surface, killing 11 rig workers. Several days later BP determined that the explosion ruptured a wellhead deep in the ocean and that the wellhead was leaking oil.

Anyone following the news is familiar with the devastation the oil leak has caused and will cause as the oil increasingly reaches shores. Experts expect the oil to be particularly difficult to clean up because of its type. The oil springs from about a mile below the surface. It is a heavy blend of asphalt-like substances and it does not evaporate or rinse off easily. If the BP oil spill has affected you or your business, an Orlando personal injury attorney can advise you of what claims you may have.

Handling Oil Spill Insurance Claims

  • Look over your existing policies. Lawyers and experts craft insurance policies very carefully. Be sure to examine them to see what your policy covers and what it requires in order for you to be able to file a claim. For a claim under a homeowner’s policy, for example, there would need to be direct physical damage to the house.
  • Document damage carefully and extensively. The federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 holds parties liable for damages that result from oil spills. If you suspect that you might have a claim, it is important to document such things as the date that the damage occurred and the type of damage. Take pictures and write descriptions. The proof you have, the more likely you will receive compensation.
  • The less tangible the loss, the more you should be documenting it. Losses such as hotel or tourism cancellations are difficult to prove and necessarily speculative. BP and insurance companies will be hesitant to pay them without definitive proof. You should record cancellations and document the reasons for them.

As unfair as it may seem, the burden is on you. You will need to prove your losses and damages in order to receive full compensation for them. If you expect to suffer extensive losses and damages, you should be devoting a great deal of time to extensively recording them. Contact an Orlando personal injury lawyer at Wooten Kimbrough P.A. for more information about insurance claims in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Disclaimer: All verdicts and settlements listed here are gross amounts before deductions for attorney fees and costs. Past results do not guarantee similar results in the future. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result. Before choosing a lawyer, ask for written information about the lawyer's legal qualifications and experience.