Gulf Coast businesses and individuals who lost money because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster have until June to file the paperwork necessary to qualify for BP’s multbillion-dollar settlement, the agreement’s court-appointed administrator said Thursday.
Lafayette lawyer Patrick Juneau said the deadline for filing claims is June 8.
That date is now set after the U.S. Supreme Court this month refused to consider BP’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that businesses do not have to prove that the April 20, 2010, oil spill caused them direct financial losses in order to collect from the 2012 settlement.
The high court’s decision put into motion a six-month window for filing claims. Claimants can file their paperwork online, by mail or at an assistance center.
The class-action settlement was intended to avoid piecemeal litigation by resolving hundreds of thousands of claims for economic damages from one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. To simplify things, the pact called for treating all claimants who lived in a certain area along the Gulf Coast similarly if they could show a loss of income after the disaster, regardless of the reason for that loss.
Since opening in June 2012, the claims program has processed more than 217,100 claim forms, federal court records show. As of Oct. 31, the program had issued eligibility notices affirming the validity of more than 75,300 claims, with payment offers totaling almost $5.3 billion. Almost 70,800 claims had been paid, adding up to more than $4.2 billion.
Louisiana residents have accounted for 26 percent of the overall damage claims, second to Florida.