Teams of lawyers from around the nation are mobilizing for legal battles over the massive Gulf Coast oil spill, filing multiple lawsuits in recent days.
The oil slick will likely poison popular beaches, ruin fisheries, disrupt traffic on the Mississippi River and ruin the tourist trade. There will likely be hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs from Texas to Florida seeking monetary damages from oil producer BP PLC and other companies that ran the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
At least 26 federal lawsuits have been filed since the spill by commercial fishermen, charter boat captains, resort management companies and individual property owners in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Many of the suits claim the disaster was caused when workers for oil services contractor Halliburton Inc. improperly capped a well – a process known as cementing.
Toxic residues remain to this day after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, studies have shown. Thousands of fishermen, cannery workers, landowners and Native Americans were initially awarded $5 billion in punitive damages. That was reduced on appeal to $2.5 billion and then, in 2008, cut down to $507.5 million by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Most of the lawsuits filed so far are potential class-action cases, meaning the plaintiffs seek to represent an entire group of people in similar situations who claim to have suffered economic losses due to company negligence.
BP says it will pay for the oil cleanup. A fact sheet on the company website says BP takes responsibility for the response to the spill after the offshore drilling rig explosion and will pay compensation for “legitimate and objectively verifiable” claims for property damage, personal injury and commercial losses.
We all hope that BP will follow up on this promise. All persons and businesses that are damaged by the Gulf oil spill need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to make sure their damages are documented and ready to be presented to BP. Lawsuits are often necessary to make sure Gulf Coast Oil Spill victims are fully and fairly compensated. If you have been harmed by the Gulf coast oil spill please speak with an attorney who is handling oil damage claims as soon as possible.