Although oil is an extremely valuable resource, it has the potential to cause devastating damage. Oil is extremely flammable and has the potential to explode. These explosions can lead to serious injury and death. Furthermore, after the explosion, the oil can spill out and cause severe environmental damage and damage to personal property. The victims of an explosion may be entitled to sue for money damages.
In April 2010, an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oilrig caused a massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The explosion caused 11 deaths and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf. BP, the company that owned the oil rig, faced countless lawsuits from federal, state and local governments for the environmental damage caused by the rig, in addition to collateral damage such as loss in tourism and damage to the seafood industry. Now, a settlement has been reached that would force BP to pay $18.7 billion. If approved by Judge Carl J. Barbier, this would be the largest civil settlement with any single entity in our nation’s history.
Under the terms of the agreement, BP would pay the federal government $5.5 billion under the Clean Water Act and $7.1 billion under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment. This would cover the environmental damage caused by the spill. Under the 2012 Restore Act, 80% of the money paid under the Clean Water Act will go directly to the states affected by the spill. Similarly, the Natural Resource Damage payments will also be received by the affected states. In addition, BP must pay an additional $5 billion to the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas for economic damage caused by the oil spill. Therefore, this settlement is a windfall of sorts for the states. There is an additional $1 billion to be paid to the 400 local governments that filed claims.
According to the New York Times, BP has already paid $4 billion in criminal fines. Furthermore, the claims made by shareholders and individuals are not affected by this settlement. Therefore, the thousands of claims by individuals and businesses affected by the spill will continue to be litigated in court.
Many environmentalists applaud the settlement, but others fear that it is not enough. This is because many predict that the true effects of the spill will not be realized for years to come.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an explosion accident, please call 617-787-3700 now to speak with one of our expert Massachusetts explosion accident lawyers or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.