New BP Compensation Opportunities for Businesses Large and Small.

As of June 4, 2012, a new funding mechanism was implemented to benefit businesses affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Many types of companies can participate.

While the criteria are complex and varied, if your corporate entity or other commercial (or non-profit) concern experienced  a revenue decrease over a three month period between May and December of 2010, you would be well served to have your books evaluated by legal and financial counsel. If your revenue trend follows a certain pattern, indicating a loss associated with the spill, you may qualify.

The claim submittal deadline is approaching. As such, the time to act is now. Please complete our Contact Form or call 813-251-9706 to speak with one of our professionals.

Quick Answers About BP

Are we eligible?
Nearly all businesses and individuals located in a Florida Gulf Coast county or the panhandle (as well as all of the counties in AL, MS, LA and select counties in TX) are included as class members. Your income does not have to be generated directly from tourism, seafood or the Gulf in order to qualify.
But our company is not located anywhere near the Gulf of Mexico?
Many businesses, even if they are located miles inland, are class members and thus are eligible to participate. Throughout the tourism dependent Gulf Region, what affects coastal economies inevitably impacts businesses located inland.
How do we prove the oil spill was associated with our financial performance?
There is no requirement to conventionally prove that the April 20, 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill caused your loss. The system was intentionally created this way, as precisely allocating the cause of a business downturn would be nearly impossible given the general economic malaise of the period. Instead, an objective revenue test is used to establish causation. If your revenue trends follow certain prescribed patterns, then all losses are presumed to be caused by the spill.
If we don’t have to conventionally prove our case, what are the requirements?
Contained in the 1,200+ page settlement agreement are many ways to qualify, based largely on geographic location and industry. In the most restrictive geographic zone (Zone D, generally located up to 325 miles inland), 2010 revenue for a specific three month period between May and December must be down at least 15% from the same three month period in 2009 or an average of those same months in 2008 & 2009 or an average of those months in 2007, 2008 & 2009. The applicable three month period, as well as the benchmark years, are chosen by the claimant. Subsequently, 2011 revenue for the same three month period must rebound at least 10% from the 2010 low.

The closer you move to the coast, the less stringent the financial causation test becomes. In Zone C (anywhere from 1 mile to approximately 20 miles inland), 2010 revenue for any three month period between May and December must only be down 8.5% as compared to previous benchmark periods, and up only 5% during the same months in 2011. Finally, in Zone A, largely comprised of barrier islands, there is no causation test to meet.

The agreement is very nuanced and there are many exceptions to what is stated above. As such, it is important to consult with an attorney to better understand your options.

Is it true that an initial claim evaluation is free?
Yes. If you provide the firm with monthly profit and loss statements in spreadsheet format for the years 2007 through 2011, this office will provide a free claims analysis to determine whether you qualify for payment. There is no charge for this service, nor is there any obligation to further engage the law firm.

While the initial evaluation is free, if you subsequently retain the firm, preparing and filing your claim is a complex process for which a contingency fee is charged.

Do we really need outside counsel? Can we do this in-house?
This settlement agreement is overseen by a United States Federal District Court in New Orleans. As with any legal proceeding, companies are free to represent themselves. However, if you do not like to prepare your own annual tax returns, you will not enjoy trying to navigate this process. Furthermore, without the assistance of legal and financial professionals well versed in the intricacies and nuances of this unique program, you run the risk of failing to maximize the value of your claim, or worse, having it denied altogether.

Additionally, there are many CPA’s and para-professionals (claims “adjusters” and “consultants”) who simply do not understand the complexity of this voluminous settlement agreement. A recent report issued by the Claims Administrator highlighted the significant number of claims that are being denied outright or returned for deficiencies because they were prepared by inexperienced and unqualified non-lawyer para-professionals.

Finally, BP often appeals awards issued by the Claims Administrator. Navigating the appeals process is foreign territory for all lay people and most attorneys. Make sure the law firm you choose has experience handling BP appeals.

The old adage “you get what you pay for” is apropos as it relates to this program.

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