BP has publicly pledged to pay for the cleanup of the oil spill that's still pumping some 200,000 gallons a day into the Gulf of Mexico, just south of the Louisiana coastline. But some experts say that the amount of the actual payout can vary dramatically.
Based on what happens with the still-spreading slick and some maritime laws, the amount of money and to whom it will pay the money is far from clear.
Estimates to both clean the spill and to compensate for economic damage could reportedly run from between $2 billion to $14 billion dollars. That's obviously a big discrepancy in liability. But the truth is, nobody really knows until the oil flow is stemmed and the suits have been filed.
BP is in the midst of a containment effort. Should the flow stop in the next few days, the costs would be on the low end. But if the spill is not contained and the oil moves on Gulf currents - or worse, it moves on the currents from the Gulf up the eastern seaboard -- it could bring oil as far up as New England, which would of course cost BP more. From spoiled fishing grounds to polluted beaches, that would spike the cleanup cost and cut into the revenue of thousands of other businesses - which would then file more suits.
But BP and its minority partners in the well, Anadarko and Mitsui, plus the well contractor, may have liability capped by a federal law that limits the payouts for economic damages from an oil spill to $75 million. Once that threshold is reached, a federal fund may reportedly kick in, covering an additional $1 billion. The fund is generated by a 8-cents-a-barrel tax on oil. Both the house and senate are currently looking at ways to increase that 75 million dollar limit.
If you or your family have been or will be affected by the spill, it's important that you know your rights. The Doan Law Firm has extensive experience in negligence and personal Injury litigation. For more information, contact the Doan Law Firm at 1 Riverway, Suite 1700, Houston, TX 77056. Phone: (713) 869-4747 or (800) 910-FIRM.