In most accidents or personal injuries, only a few individuals are involved. Greater disasters, unfortunately, result in serious injuries, fatalities and severe damage. When such catastrophic injury occurs, the approach to the situation is actually quite similar to responding to a smaller incident. Victims of such tragedies must assess their damages and injuries and determine whether they have any legal remedies.
The BP oil spill occurred in 2010, and presently, states are beginning to file lawsuits against the company as well as its cement contractor. There are four states, Louisiana as well as its neighboring states of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, that have filed cases to recover for their damages. The federal trial is taking place in New Orleans; the court has jurisdiction under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The cases assert that BP did not properly replace batteries to prevent the rig's blowout. BP's cement contractor is accused of installing faulty cement barriers.
There are a number of ways that individuals suffering damage and injury from the oil spill can seek recovery. Under the law, people can proceed with both individual claims as well as class action lawsuits. Class action lawsuits are a convenient way for individuals with similar damages caused by similar facts to recover. Their cases are essentially consolidated to make the process more efficient and to help them secure a more substantial award of damages. Of course, plaintiffs will still need to present and establish their case, whether it's grounds in negligence or some other legal principle.
In this unique situation, BP is also offering another means of recovering by directly accepting claims. BP ensures that it will provide compensation for all legitimate and verifiable claims concerning damage caused by the spill. There are a host of possible claims, including: clean-up costs, injuries, property damage and business losses.
Catastrophic injury can seem totally devastating and endless, but there are answers. The BP oil spill demonstrates that people can come together to seek relief as well as pursue individual claims. Alleged negligent actors often try to work with the public to quickly rectify the harm caused by such a disaster.
Source: NY Times, "Florida Sues BP Over Gulf Oil Spill," April 20, 2013