Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oil Spill/Georgia: Submitting a Claim under the Oil Pollution Act

BP Gulf Oil Spill, 5.20.2010, @40,000 feet.Image by zphone via Flickr

Federal law allows people to make a claim now under the Oil Pollution Act. What are the particulars?

What Claims May Be Submitted?

Claims can be submitted for a number of problems associated with either the oil spill or even the substantial threat of discharge of oil. Possible claims include

* Removal Costs
* Real or Personal Property Damage
* Loss Profits and Earning Capacity
* Loss of Government Revenue
* Costs of Increased Public Services
* Natural Resource Damage

These are just some of the ways individuals may be able to be compensated for this disaster as a variety of other reasons do exist.

Who Can Make a Claim for Damage from the Oil Spill?
A claimant could be

* An individual
* A corporation, partnership, or association
* States, municipalities, and political subdivisions of States.

Do You Qualify to Submit an Oil Spill Claim?

To qualify to submit an Oil Spill claim, these factors are to be met

* The incident/events surrounding the spill must have occurred on or after August 18, 1990. EVEN THE THREAT OF THE SPILL GIVES YOU A RIGHT TO FILE A CLAIM.
* The incident involved discharge, or substantial threat of discharge, or oil.
* The discharge or substantial threat of a discharge was into or upon the navigable water or the U.S. and its shorelines

What is the Claim Format for an Oil Spill Claim under OPA?

There is no required format for an Oil Spill Claim under the Oil Protection Act. However, you must support your claim with evidence, information, and documentation. Claims must be made in writing, and must follow include the following information:

* Type and amount of damages for each type of claim
* Total amount claimed
* Your full name, street and mailing address, and telephone numbers for your home and business
* Time, date and geographic location of the oil spill, identification of the navigable water impacted; and an explanation of how the oil impacted the water
* Identify the vessel, facility, or person causing or suspected of causing the spill, if possible, and include an explanation of why you suspect the vessel, facility, or person to have cause the spill.
* A general description of the impact of the spill, including the removal costs or damages claimed by category
* Explanation of how the damage happened, the location, and the date and time (this may/may not be the same as the location, date, or time of the spill)
* Descriptions of actions taken to minimize or avoid damages
* Costs of assessing the damage
* Name, street and mailing address, and telephone numbers of any witnesses and a brief description of what the witness knows
* Copies of any written communications and content of any verbal communications with the RP, including any claims submitted to the RP
* Information on any attempts to submit claims to the person or company responsible for the oil pollution
* Any compensation you have received for removal costs or damages from the spill
* Statement that no action has been taken in court or, if action has been taken, the status of the pending court case
* Certification statement of the accuracy of the claim to the best of your knowledge and belief
* Your signature and, if applicable, your legal representative's signature.

Talk to us if you are considering making a claim.

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