Many Floridians are scratching their heads wondering how and why businesses from the Panhandle all the way down to the Keys can recover under the recent BP Deepwater Horizon class action settlement. There was no oil on Tampa Bay beaches—and certainly not as far south as Naples and beyond. Some people worry it is just not right to claim benefits under the settlement under such circumstances. This is exactly what BP is hoping for.
Let’s reverse the analysis and ask: Why would BP offer to pay all manner of businesses in all the counties bordering the west coast of Florida if oil did not directly affect them? Let me take you back to April of 2010. Do you recall this video?
That video played 24/7 day after day during the oil spill. The world was bombarded with horrific images of huge masses of oil floating atop the Gulf of Mexico and tar balls washing up on Panhandle beaches.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Perception is reality”? That’s what happened to the State of Florida in 2010. Our tourism dependent state became a victim of the “perception is reality” line of thinking. Why would someone risk taking a vacation here on a Florida west coast beach, when all that was going on out there in our Gulf waters?
But BP isn’t making things right with the west coast of Florida without getting a significant benefit from the deal: limitation of risk exposure. The BP class action settlement has a deadline for submitting claims that will be here before you know it: April 22, 2014. Though that date seems far away, with an unwieldy claims administration process and tens of thousands of businesses eligible under the settlement, it is prudent to file your claim as soon as possible.
The settlement agreement has some complexity to it and flexibility as to how claims can be made. Characterizing your claim in different ways under the settlement terms can result in maximizing your recovery. At Ligori we will ensure you receive the full benefit to which you are entitled.
Don’t you fall into the “perception is reality” trap yourself. If your business’s financial history qualifies under the settlement, BP has admitted you are entitled to recover, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Florida took a huge hit from the oil spill media hype—and it is about time Florida’s west coast businesses get some relief.