Legal Issues on BP Oil Spill Lawsuits

The impact of the BP oil spill in 2010 will be present in Mexico’s Gulf for years, and even decades to come. With nearly five million barrels of oil gushing from the seabed into the Gulf, there is no question that this was the worst oil spill in history. Now that the oil flow has stopped and the extent of the damage is being studied, attention is now being given to how it will all play out in the legal system.

Thousands of lawsuits have already been filed because of the BP oil spill, such as those involving:

Environmental damage

There is absolutely no question that the oil spill resulted in immense damage to the Gulf’s coastline, wildlife, ecosystem and wetlands. At present, the Justice Department is weighing its options for filing both criminal and civil lawsuits against BP and other companies that are responsible for the oil spill, including all violations against the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. 

Property damage

Numerous residential, commercial, and even undeveloped properties along the Gulf coastline have been damaged by the BP oil spill, as well as several small islands located offshore. Cases involving property damage may be addressed by filing a claim through BP’s $20 billion compensation fund. 

Individual income losses and lost business profits

Thousands of workers and businesses across Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana have witnessed their livelihoods suffer or disappear completely, and seek compensation for the income and profits lost due to the oil spill. These include both companies and employees in the commercial fishing, oyster and shrimp industries, hotels, charter boat operations, tourist attractions and rental property owners. This also includes other establishments in popular resort areas.

Health problems and risks

The individuals and families in the region who are left to deal with health problems and hazards caused by both the presence of the oil by coastal property and the chemicals used to clean up the spilled oil have also filed lawsuits.

Health risks and injuries resulting from cleanup

In the months after the oil spill, several individuals worked on cleaning up and burning off the oil, and reported health problems linked to the cleanup, including throat irritation, nausea, and headaches.

Injury and wrongful death claims 

Rig workers and their families have filed wrongful death claims against both BP and Transocean, particularly the family members of the 11 workers who were killed by the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Surviving drill rig workers who sustained injuries that day also sued the same companies for negligence.

BP shareholder lawsuits

Dozens of investors have accused the company of misleading shareholders and causing the values of BP shares to plummet. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is presently investigating whether or not BP insiders profited from trading due to nonpublic information in the weeks and months succeeding the oil spill.

State government lawsuits

Alabama is one state considering filing a lawsuit against BP in order to regain tax revenue from all the business income lost due to the spill, as well as to recover state funds used to clean up the spill.

Who is being sued?

When speaking of the lawsuits related to the 2010 oil spill in Mexico’s Gulf, BP has the primary role in the entire disaster, especially considering its reputation as a globe business power and the company’s deep pockets.

Estimates show that BP has approximately $32 billion set aside to cover spill-related costs for cleanup, fines, legal claims and other costs. BP, therefore, is taking the biggest financial hit for its contribution to the worst oil spill in the history of the United States.

There are, of course, other parties being targeted in lawsuits involving the oil spill. These parties include:

  • Transocean – Owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig
  • Cameron International – Manufacturer of the well’s blowout preventer that did not function as planned, and did not help in decreasing or preventing the oil spill
  • Haliburton – Well contractor

Seeking legal representation

If you have lost personal or business income due to the oil spill, it is best to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney about your legal options and to first determine the full scope of your financial losses.

Port St Lucie Accident Victim Testifies About Injuries

port st lucie court roomKristen Bork showed the jury the result of severe injuries sustained when her car was struck by another vehicle fleeing from the police on Easter 2012—a darker spot located on the right side of her head, just below her blonde hair.

Bork testified that she now takes sleeping pills and anti-seizure medication, no longer grasps concepts like she used to, and is suffering from problems with both her memory and vision. Unless she writes things down, Bork says, she cannot remember what she does on a daily basis.

28-year-old Dexter Tooks is accused of driving the vehicle that crashed into Bork’s. He is being charged with driving with a suspended license and fleeing-eluding high speed-reckless seriously bodily injury. As one of the best personal injury attorneys in port st lucie fl will tell you, reckless speeding leads to serious accidents and hence serious lawsuits.

Reports state that on April 8, 2012, police were chasing Tooks for driving a vehicle used in a McDonald’s armed robbery. After spotting the Mazda, the police chased it down. Individuals inside the vehicle started throwing things out of the window, and then began to throw themselves out of the car. Three people escaped out of the car during the chase.

Tooks was the only person left inside the vehicle by the time it approached Nova Roa and Dunlawton Avenue in Port Orange. Police stop sticks had shredded three out of four of the Mazda’s tires, yet testimonies reveal that the vehicle was still running at approximately 50 mph when it ran the red light.

Bork states that she had worked all day, and then left her brother’s house located in Daytona Beach after having a late dinner and playing a game of cornhole. During questioning, Bork testified that she didn’t remember the crash that occurred right before midnight. What she did remember was waking up at Halifax Health Medical Center, and being visited by the police, including an officer with an injured hand. According to the officer, he broke his hand when breaking the window to rescue Bork from her car.

At times, Bork held back tears as she testified. She had to undergo two surgeries, one surgery to remove a portion of her skull and relieve the pressure on her swollen brain, and another surgery to replace that piece of skull. She stated that the brain injury cost Bork her job, and delayed her plans to become a nurse.

Bork was waiting to receive applications to enter nursing school prior to the accident, but the acceptance letter arrived while she was in a coma. She also stated that she has not yet entered, as she had not yet finished a statistics class she lacked due to her sustained accident injuries.

Swimming Pool Drowning Dangers and Liability

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children between the ages of 1 and 14

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children between the ages of 1 and 14

Swimming pools are naturally alluring to young children. Since children are unable to detect dangers, pool operators and owners have the responsibility to prevent unguarded children from getting into their pool. Thousands of people die in drowning accidents each year. Due to the inherent risks presented by pools, it’s important for property owners or pool operators to be aware of the laws surrounding swimming pool injuries and liability.

According to a number of studies, swimming pools have been linked to serious injuries, certain illnesses, and fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children between the ages of 1 and 14, and is the leading cause of accidental death among children between the ages of 1 and 4 in the United States. Some causes of swimming pool accidents are slippery sidewalks, electrical defects, ladders, slides, defective drain covers, diving boards, and other hazards.

The Environmental Health Services Branch of the CDC also released a documented report showing that pools are associated with acute gastroenteritis, dermal infection, eye and ear infections and irritation, respiratory infections, neurologic infections, hepatitis, and urinary tract infections caused by certain chemicals, viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

When young children are able to survive a swimming pool accident but sustain serious injuries, it may take them a great deal of time to recover. Certain injuries, such as disembowelment, can have lifelong consequences. Many pool injuries could have been avoided had proper precautions been taken by pool owners.

Children should not be allowed to play near the suction outlet drains in pools, nor be allowed to enter pools with a broken or loose drain cover. Property owners should surround their pools with a fence, and should never leave flotation devices and toys around to prevent children from being attracted to pools. Whether the pool is privately or publicly owned, young children must not be allowed to enter the pool without adult supervision.

“Since the responsibility of keeping the guests safe lies with the property owners, they must ensure that their guests don’t sustain injuries on their property.” advises Florida injury attorney Philip DeBerard. When pool owners have failed to exercise proper care for their guests, especially small children, they can be held liable for the injuries that occurred on their property, including swimming pool injuries.

“Parents whose children have been injured in swimming accidents due to the negligence of another person or entity are entitled to file a compensation claim for their children’s injuries.” adds DeBerard. To ensure that the claimants obtain fair compensation, they should seek the legal help of a personal injury lawyer who has experience in successfully handling premises liability claims against negligent property owners and swimming pool operators.