The GCCF denied many claimants an emergency payment who are deserving of compensation. If your gulf oil spill emergency payment claim with the gccf was denied, or if the payment you received is too low, DON'T GIVE UP. There are numerous options still available to you. Even if your emergency payment claim was denied, a lawyer can help get the GCCF to re-evaluate your eligibility for compensation and get you significant interim payment or final payment. Claimants should not accept a final payment claim without consulting with a lawyer because if you accept a final payment claim you will be required to sign a very broad release that will release your right to any further compensation from BP and the other guilty parties in the Gulf Oil Spill. Most lawyers are willing to review the release with you for free and will explain the rights that you are giving up if you sign it.
The first option for those who were denied an emergency payment claim is to submit an interim payment claim. An Interim Payment Claim provides for past damages that have not yet been compensated. SO IF YOU WERE DENIED AN EMERGENCY PAYMENT CLAIM, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER HIRING A LAWYER TO HELP YOU GAIN ELIGIBILITY AND COMPENSATION. An interim payment claim is not a final payment claim and you will not be required to sign a release or give up any legal rights. The downside is that it will only pay for documented past damages and will not pay for any future damages. Our lawyers can help you with your interim payment claim and help you gain eligibility for compensation.
The second option is to submit a well documented final payment claim. BE CAREFUL WITH THIS---TO GET THE FINAL PAYMENT YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO SIGN A RELEASE. The Final Pyament claim, if accepted, will resovle your entire claim against BP and other responsible parties for the Gulf Oil Spill. If you were denied an emergency payment claim, the GCCF will reevaluate your eligibilty if you submit a final payment claim..
A third option was just announced this week. It is a Quick Final Payment Claim. It is available only to those claimants who already received an emergency payment (basically to those already deemed eligible for compensation). It is an expedited procedure where you can settle your individual claim for $5,000.00 or a business claim for $25,000.00. You will be required to sign a release. WE BELIEVE THAT THIS IS A RIPOFF FOR MOST CLAIMANTS AND IT IS ANOTHER ATTEMPT BY BP TO UNDERPAY THESE CLAIMS. BE CAREFUL! Do not take this option unless you have a full understanding of what you (or your business's) damages are and a full understanding of the legal rights you are giving up. Again, if you are considering this option, you should consult with an attorney as you would be required to sign a release giving up your legal rights.
REMEMBER---IF YOU SIGN A RELEASE--YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR FURTHER COMPENSATION FROM BP OR OTHER RESPONSIBLE PARTIES.
If you are considering your options, you should speak with an attorney (not a GCCF representative) who can explain all of this to you.
Another reason to hire a lawyer for your Gulf Oil Spill Claim is that in the event that you are unable to resolve your claim with the GCCF a lawyer can help make sure that the Oil Pollution Act's "Presentment" requirement is met. In order to file a lawsuit under OPA, your claim must be properly presented to the Responsible Party (BP). This requirement can most likely be met by filing with the GCCF but it needs to be done in the proper way such that all elements of the presentment requirement are met.