British Petroleum
June 24, 2011 9:33 PM   Subscribe

"How do I fill out a successful BP claim?"

This is the question I got today.

A friend is fighting disaster. His business is high-end web design with a focus on Florida-based destination branding, and in the past year I have watched as he works harder and harder to be more and more successful (technically aesthetically and responsively) for less and less money. What was once a $300k annually business has dried up in a year to a third that.

For some time, I have been working to explain the dynamics in play, particularly here in Florida. (I'm in Key West, he's in Miami.)

Finally, today, he got it. It was like a lightbulb going off. Everyone here in FLA is so cautious with marketing money at this time. He asked me for help.

Do any mefites have any experience with successful BP claims?
posted by humannaire to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I assume you're arguing that the BP. Oil spill caused your friend's business to dry up. Without more detail, I don't really understand that argument, but have you doneaGoogle search for BP gulf oil spill claims? I would imagine that there was a deadline to file such claims.
posted by dfriedman at 9:39 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

A quick google search yields this:
posted by dfriedman at 9:40 PM on June 24, 2011

Response by poster: I assume you're arguing that the BP. Oil spill caused your friend's business to dry up.

Please infer that, as, yes, I am making that argument.
posted by humannaire at 9:58 PM on June 24, 2011

What do you mean that you "have been working to explain the dynamics in play" and that he finally "got it"? Like dfriedman, I think an issue here is going to be the ability to explain how the oil spill caused his business to lose profits -- and if you can articulate that, it might be helpful to do so, because it's not obvious.

I would look into getting a lawyer to represent him on a contingency fee basis if he wants to go through the GCCF rather than wait and hope to get in on the results of whatever happens in the class action litigation. That lawyer can advise whether he should get an accountant or other expert to give an estimate of the amount of loss, if any, and whether the accountant's fees are recoverable in a successful claim, which they might be.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:02 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Like dfriedman, I think an issue here is going to be the ability to explain how the oil spill caused his business to lose profits

Actually, what I am asking is does anyone have experience with filing a claim.
posted by humannaire at 10:27 PM on June 24, 2011

I don't have experience making claims, but I did help a government agency gather information on how to make a claim. 2 disclaimers: (1) I am not writing this for any government agency in any capacity, and (2) the process has evolved greatly since the disaster and may have changed since I last looked at it months ago.

However, my understanding is this: Basically, all claims have to go through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF, Their website has a ton of information, good FAQs, information on receiving free legal assistance, a toll free help line, and links to bricks-and-mortar claims offices in Florida. While it's easy to think of the GCCF as "the enemy" (since they're playing with BP's money), in my experience that's hasn't been the case.

The challenge will be to show that the business slowdown is because of the oil spill and not the larger economic issues in the country. The more documentation your friend has, the better. Business records and tax documents from before and after the spill, emails showing people wary of spending money because of the spill, etc.

When I was working on the issues, the GCCF was pretty lenient, erring on the side of the claimant whenever possible. That may have changed, I don't know.

Accepting a claim from the GCCF will probably affect your friend's ability to receive money from any oil spill-related lawsuits against BP, but I'm not a lawyer and have no idea how that will play out.
posted by griseus at 4:09 AM on June 25, 2011

Best answer: According to the claim website, a successful claim must show proximate cause -- If it weren't for the Deepwater spill, your friend would have made $300,000 instead of $100,000. This is difficult because we're in a recession.

The good news is, the state already made a related claim to help tourism. BP has paid $62 million for Florida tourism marketing, most recently in April. Ten million was immediately dispersed to counties in the Panhandle, and the rest will be dispersed through October. Your friend could contact the recipients (tourism boards) for information about getting work through these funds, or contact VISIT FLORIDA (the official marketing corporation for the state) as they seemed to have plans for this money as early as a month after the spill began.

Or, I suppose, he could use this to bolster his own argument, by saying that it shows that BP recognizes the negative effect on tourism-related businesses and that the money is mostly dispersed to businesses more closely tied to the Gulf area (which excludes Miami because it is not on the Gulf side of Florida, but businesses there may still have related issues).
posted by Houstonian at 4:20 AM on June 25, 2011

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