hit some snags in the beginning, but our experience is that (GCCF is) now paying emergency claims quickly.
By Peter Taaffe, Attorney Buzbee Law Firm
© 2010 HomeAway.com
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Deadline Newsroom - The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) has been up and running since August 23, 2010.
The operation hit some snags in the beginning, but our experience is that they are now paying emergency claims quickly.
Our clients are, by and large, receiving substantial emergency payments to compensate them for the damages they incurred because of the oil spilled into the Gulf.
This includes vacation rental owners, hotel owners and other property owners.
Accepting payments on your claim does not require a release of BP or any other company from liability.
Our advice to those who have suffered damages is to file a claim immediately.
We strongly advise that vacation rental owners file claims for emergency payments if they have suffered any damages, including lost income, due to the spill. If you think it will be too complicated or too time-consuming, consider hiring an attorney or claims adjuster to assist you.
For more information on hiring a lawyer, see "Oil disaster claims: Hiring a lawyer."
Claims Administrator Kenneth Feinberg has said that he will accept claims for emergency payments until November 23, 2010. He has advised that these claims will be assessed immediately and paid in full when warranted.
After November 23, GCCF will be in a position to assess and entertain full settlement claims for final payments. GCCF has not specified how it will make these assessments. Some attention is going to ongoing clean up measures and research to determine long term effects of the oil.
All lawsuits related to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill have been consolidated into what's called "Multi-District Litigation" (MDL) to be heard by Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans federal court.
This means that any lawsuit, regardless of where it was filed, will be transferred to Barbier's court.
Barbier has held several status conferences, has appointed committees and has set a trial date (February 2012) for a trial on whether the rig owner, Transocean, is entitled to limit its liability to $27 million (the value of the rig as it sits on the ocean floor).
The progress of the litigation has no effect on the GCCF's claims work.
Peter Taaffe is an attorney at the Buzbee Law Firm, headquartered in Houston, TX. He also offers the informational GulfOilSpillFirm.com web site for news and information on the claims process. He and his firm represents 15 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, multiple Florida property owners and multiple fisherman, oystermen, and fishing industry workers.
Taaffe's comments are general in nature, based on his legal experience but not to be confused with legal advice. Speak with your own legal counsel about matters specific to your unique situation.
Other stories about the oil spill claims and litigation:
• Oil disaster claims: Hiring a lawyer
• Making the case for lost-property-value claims in the Gulf oil disaster zone
• Legal Q&A: Can a foreigner file a claim?
• Group Power: Restaurant association hires legal muscle to pressure claims system
• BP Claims Update: Gulf disaster lawsuits move to New Orleans
• Click on the keywords below for more stories on this subject.
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