Attention Gulf of Mexico Residents: BP has reached a settlement agreement. Find out if you can make a claim for damages.
On April 20, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire after an explosion, leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, businesses along the U.S. Gulf Coast have suffered, or are expected to suffer, huge financial losses as the oil slick moves closer to shore. Commercial fishing, tourism and energy companies are just a few of the industries predicted to be adversely impacted by the oil spill.
Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, employees and business who suffer losses as a result of an oil spill are eligible to collect damages for lost income or profits.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion has the potential to affect several industries in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Gulf Coast. Workers that may experience a negative impact from the oil spill include, but are not limited to the following:
Commercial Fisherman: The Gulf of Mexico oil spill could potentially damage surrounding ecosystems for several years. In addition to contaminating or killing fish and other food, the oil spill can hinder the natural food chain and reproduction process of sea creatures. If this happens, years may pass before the commercial fishing industry recovers.
Seafood Processing Plants: Seafood processing plants along the Gulf coast are among the businesses are facing significant financial losses as a result of the BP oil spill. Workers at these plants prepare fish and other types of seafood for transportation to grocery stores and restaurants. Now many of these employees are facing reduced hours and lost wages due to fishing ground closures and contamination issues in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Beach-front Property and Hotel Owners: The effect of an oil spill on Gulf Coast beaches can last for more than a decade, as pools of oil can remain beneath the sand even following an initial clean up. As a result, many owners of vacation property and hotels on Gulf Coast beaches will continue to struggle renting their homes and filling their rooms.
Restaurant and Bar Owners/Employees: With the southern seafood supply cut off, restaurants and bars along the Gulf Coast are importing product from other waters at an increased cost. As a result, many restaurants are suffering economic losses and have resorted to raising prices for customers. Additionally, many seafood restaurants have reported that consumer fears of contaminated shrimp, fish, oysters and other sea life are contributing to revenue losses.
Shrimp Fishermen: The shrimping industry has been hit particularly hard by the Gulf oil spill, as the April oil rig explosion coincided with the start of shrimp season. Due to the expanding oil slick and fishing ground closures, shrimp fishermen are facing great challenges in harvesting this year’s catch and are consequently facing a loss of revenue and income.
Oyster Businesses: Although all sea life is in danger from the leaking oil, oysters are particularly susceptible because they cannot move away from the slick. Several oyster harvest areas have already been closed as the oil slick continues to contaminate the Gulf Coast. As a result, many Gulf Coast oyster businesses are seeing a diminishing supply of shellfish and a subsequent loss in business.
Tourism Businesses: The oil spill stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion is also expected to hinder tour operators, hotels, restaurants and similar industries which rely heavily on business from tourists. Charter fishing guides are also facing cancellations and loss of income because the oil spill has put the Gulf of Mexico's marine life and accessible fishing areas in jeopardy.
Oil Rig Workers: Workers in the energy industry are also expected to suffer economic losses. For instance, the Ocean Endeavor, an offshore rig located 10 miles from the Deepwater Horizon, has been evacuated. These workers have suffered a loss of wages and may be entitled to damages.
Other employees: Businesses who are dependent on the Gulf waters or its beaches are not the only companies expected to suffer financial losses as a result of the oil spill. A decline in water or soil quality near spill zones can decrease property values and business activities. As a result, many workers may become unemployed and suffer a significant loss of wages.
In June 2010, BP agreed to place about $20 billion in a special fund to pay for damage claims resulting from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. If you have suffered a loss of income or profits due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, you may be able to recover financial compensation by filing an oil spill claim. According to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the individual or entity responsible for the oil spill may be held accountable for any resulting losses. Several lawsuits have already been filed, and the number of oil spill claims is expected to grow.