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:
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.
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.