While residents of the Gulf of Mexico region begin the process of preparing their BP oil spill claims for compensation for real estate property loss, business losses and individual wage losses, and others gather the documentation of their medical expenses for conditions caused by the spill, they are also keeping a careful eye on what is going on in the case between the government of the United States and BP oil. The Deepwater Horizon Settlement agreement that impacts the locals has received preliminary approval, and is going through the final steps of the legal process that is expected to end in November of 2012, when the final Fairness Hearing will be held. But the government’s case against BP for the negligence of the oil spill of April 2010 has barely begun; the trial date has been pushed back to early 2013, and though there are certain discovery motions being filed and ruled upon, there are also settlement talks under way.
Although representatives from BP oil and the Justice Department are not speaking on the record, it is rumored that the two sides are far apart in their negotiations. BP Oil is said to want to pay less than $15 billion dollars in fines and penalties for the massive oil disaster that impacted the Gulf region from Texas to the Florida keys, and the government is said to be looking to receive at least $25 billion dollars. Legislation is being discussed in Congress to allocate the lions’ share of those fines back into the Gulf region, so even though the residents are concentrating on their own individual claims, the end result of the government’s legal process is of great important to restoring the Gulf’s devastated economy.
The Deepwater Horizon settlement that was recently approved has been targeted at $7.8 billion dollars in economic and medical compensation. Since the settlement received its preliminary agreement, thousands of claims have already been filed, and it is anticipated that as many as 800,000 individual claims may be received by the administrators of the court supervised program. Although the claims process does not require attorneys to file the paperwork, many people are availing themselves of qualified BP oil spill attorneys because the process is turning out to be more complex than had originally been hoped, particularly for those who need to file multiple types of economic claims for different family members.