BP Settlement Opt Out and more Thoughts
BP Settlement Opt Out Date is Drawing Near
Now let me state this at the outset, I am not an Attorney but we now have one who is independently working with us at BPClaims.org. What I am about to say should in no way be construed as legal advice, it is my opinion, and my thoughts.
That said and to put it as simply as possible: if your claim does not fit into the framework of the Deep Water Horizon Settlement, you may want to seriously consider opting out. But, if you can prove your losses, and have ALL the paperwork to support your claim you may want to stay within the framework DeepWater Horizon Settlement.
If you have a medical claim and are seriously sick, you may want to opt out of the Settlement.
If you have an economic claim and you have gaps in your paperwork or other issues, opting out should be very much on the table.
The Settlement fund wants to pay you, but only if you can provide all of the documentation that they require. Their hands are tied, all they do is administer the DeepWater Horizon Settlement, which was created by BP and the Plaintiff Steering Committee and overseen by Judge Barbier. The Settlement is not open for interpretation; it is what it is, and it is just beginning to pay people.
Many Attorneys want you to Opt Out, this is to protect your rights in most cases, though there have been reports that some are doing it for self gain, and higher fees down the road.
We have seen the DeepWater Horizon Settlement Fund make serious strides in processing claims, and they are beginning to pay those claims. I met with some of the leadership of the claims process myself recently and they have a high degree of integrity and take this very personally. Most of them are from different areas of Louisiana and have family and friends that were deeply injured by the BP Oil Spill. Their Legacies and Heritage are on the line.
Who is in the DeepWater Horizon Settlement
As I understand it, if you are in any of the Settlement Zones, you are automatically in the Class and if you don`t want to be in the Settlement you will need to Opt Out. These zones include the whole states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, parts of Texas ,and the coastal counties along the Gulf and the Keys of Florida.
How do you Opt Out of the DeepWater Horizon Settlement
Your Attorney can NOT do this for you.
It is really quite simple, you write a letter. Here is what you need to to do, it must be postmarked by November 1 st 2012.
Here is an example of an Opt Out letter.
I John Doe, 123 Main Street, Destin, Florida. I wish to be excluded from the Economic Class or Medical Class Settlement.
Write one letter for each one of your claims, if it is a business I would write both an individual letter and business letter and include your E.I.N. or your social security number. If you have a medical claim and an economic claim I would write a letter for each of my Claims.
Address the Letter to: For Economic Opt Out
Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program
P.O. Box 222
Hammond, LA 70404-0222
To validly exclude yourself from the Economic Class, you must submit a written request stating “I wish to be excluded from the Economic Class.” The request must include your printed name, address and phone number and must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2012. The written request must be signed by the Natural Person or Entity seeking to exclude himself, herself or itself from the Economic Class, even if they are represented by an attorney. Electronic signatures will not be accepted.
For The Medical Settlement
Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Settlement Opt Outs
935 Gravier Street, Suite 1400
New Orleans, LA 70112
To Opt Out of (exclude yourself from) the Medical Class, you must mail in a written request stating “I wish to exclude myself from the Medical Class.” Your written request must also include your full name, address, phone number, date of birth, and a copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued identification. You must sign your written request.
Whats Next if you Opt Out of the DeepWater Horizon Settlement
You will need to prepare a claim for O.P.A. presentment, this is also called the BP Claims Program and it is administered by BP. You do not need an Attorney to do this. You will need an Attorney if you don`t get what you want from BP, and decide to litigate. You have to go through the O.P.A. process before you can litigate. My issues with this are these:
- The BP Claims Program is run by BP, we`ll see how they do; the jury is still out.
- Attorneys and other Processors will put their best claims first into the process, individuals will be left behind again.
- The Settlement is fair if you can prove your losses.
- There are too many people capitalizing on peoples’ fear.
- I don`t think people should have to go through O.P.A. before the choose to litigate.
Individual Claims that have issues really need to think about Opting Out at this point, it is my opinion that they may be best served down the line when the Attorneys start putting them in Classes. I would also expect that many Attorneys will drop many Individual Claims as they will be pressed for time to put together these claims by the January 20th deadline.
So what is Happening Now with the BP Settlement
- We have gotten clients through our network literally millions in the last few weeks
- Restaurants have received 300k – 700k
- Business Claims of all sorts have received from 20k-800k
- A Property Owner with Oil on their Property was offered over 30 Million; that was one claim.
After the Settlement is ratified on November 8th at the fairness hearing the DeepWater Horizon Settlement will become more streamlined. There will be less claims in their que as many of the ones with issues will choose to opt out. There will be less of a need for an Attorney as you will either fit or not into the Settlement. There is little room for interpretation.
I see more of a role for Attorneys during O.P.A. presentment as certain Attorneys do have reputations for holding BP accountable, and they may decide to form some sort of class down the road, before litigation. It is difficult to predict exactly what tact they will take with BP. In the end, if they choose to litigate I do expect Claims to be broken down by Class and the different cases will be paid by Merit and extent of loss, but they will be settled in groups. I do not expect to see many cases to reach the Court House.
Recent News: BP pressures Judge to approve DeepWater Horizon Settlement Process
Recently it was reported that BP was trying to pressure Judge Barbier into approving the DeepWater Horizon Settlement. I think they are doing this because of the unexpectedly low turnout of BP Claims entering the Settlement process, and they think they are going to get off light. When BP actually pushes their own agenda, we should all pay special attention.
My opinion is that Judge Barbier is the wrong person to push, and at some point I would expect him to push back. There is no doubt that BP wants to put this behind them but if I were them I would tread lightly.
When I first started working in this field, we created a site that was designed to get people aid that were victims of the Oil Spill, it was very successful and Catholic Charities stepped in and helped many of the people that we referred to them. Many of these people were exceptionally sick or were on the verge of loosing it all. Later I was told to follow the Claims process, we then created BPClaims.org. We would enroll Attorneys, Claims Adjusters, Accounting Groups, and other Web Designers to assist us in making BP pay. It was a big job and we knew we needed help. I am sad to say some were more interested in dollars then they were in helping people and they cherry picked clients. They were cut from the Network.
For me it has always been about the people and their businesses, and it always will be.
We have the LARGEST NETWORK of BP Claims Professionals on the Planet.
We can Help you if you decide to Opt Out.
They ALL Specialize in different types of Claims. We now can process your claims in house for as little as 15%, If your claim is complex or a high dollar claim, we have the support of one of the Nations Largest Accounting Firms. They are currently processing more then 500 Million Dollars worth of Claims.
There are Attorneys within the network that specialize in Claims that were not covered in the Settlement such as Casino Workers, Insurance Companies, Moratorium Claims, and Developer Claims just to name a few. We are not talking about one firm here, we are talking about 10 different firms. Different Claims are handled best by Firms that specialize in different types of claims. Their fees range from 20%-25% at this time, but expect those fees to rise if they have to move towards litigation.
Recently we have brought in an Independent Attorney to help you; he has volunteered to assist people decide whether or not you need to Opt Out or stay in the DeepWater Horizon Settlement. You can reach him at 1-800-BP-CLAIM.
The next few days are critical, if you need assistance just call or fill out the form to the right. We will be working 18 hour days, we are here for you. We have been here from the beginning we will be here to the End.