July 13, 2010
As the Deepwater Horizon oil spill crisis continues, people are taking advantage of online claims-filing process to receive compensation for damages incurred by the spill.
Of the approximately 108,000 claims filed so far, 18,100 were submitted online as of June 29, according to the most recent update on BP's Deepwater Horizon claims web page. The federal government recently launched a new website, RestoreTheGulf.gov that prioritizes information about claims on its home page as well as acts as a central hub for news, data and operational updates about the efforts across the administration to respond to the spill. The new site -- maintained by Unified Area Command's Joint Information Center -- replaces replacing the former Deepwater Horizon Response site and provides more comprehensive details about how people can file claims online. Claims form in English, Spanish and Vietnamese are available on the site. It also provides contact information for checking on claims or filing over the telephone. BP's own claim site also allows people to file claims online via a secure form. Millions of gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20 when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, killing 11 people. BP was leasing the rig at the time and has struggled mightily since then to contain to stop the flow of oil. On Tuesday, its efforts were potentially at their best since the spill occurred. Engineers had managed to replace a damaged cap on the leaking undersea oil and were submitting it to an integrity test that, if successful, would halt the flow of oil for the first time since the spill occurred. The disaster already has taken its toll on the region, however, and so far BP has paid $177 million in claims since May 3. The oil giant, which has not rejected a claim yet, has set aside $20 billion to pay for them. According to its Web site, BP is has committed to paying for legitimate claims for the following losses: property damage; net loss of profits and earning capacity; subsistence loss and natural resource damage; removal and clean-up costs; cost of increased public services; and net loss of government revenue. The company said it also will accept and evaluate bodily-injury claims even though they are not payable under the Oil Spill Pollution Act of 1990.
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