BP claims: Get paid 'quick' if you don't sue
People and businesses impacted by the BP Gulf Coast oil spill will now be able to receive a settlement almost immediately, so long as they give up their right to sue.
Gulf Coast Claims Facility Administrator Kenneth R. Feinberg is set to announce the new "quick pay" program on Monday.
"There are three options for claimants -- they can file a final claim with proper back up documentation, request interim payments with back up documentation, or if they have received an emergency payment they can get the 'quick pay' option," said Amy Weiss, spokeswoman for Kenneth Feinberg. Additional details will be forthcoming in a press conference later in the day.
So-called "Emergency Payments," available for individuals and businesses that experienced financial hardship resulting from damages as a result of the BP oil spill, were accepted by the facility through November 23. Emergency payments did not require claimants forfeit the right to litigate.
According to the new payment option, claimants who have already received an emergency payment can get a final payment on the "fast track," if they give up their right to litigate.
Interim payments, meanwhile, are a stop-gap way for claimants to be compensated for substantiated, past damages on a quarterly basis, without forfeiting the right to sue. Interim payments do not cover any future, estimated damages and can be submitted once at the end of each quarter.
Weiss also confirmed that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, the independent organization in charge of making payments to those individuals and businesses that have been damaged by the oil spill, will provide attorneys for "those who request it."
Thus far, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has paid out more than $2.4 billion to 163,632 individuals and businesses who were suffered economic damages from the spill.
Kenneth Feinberg said in August when he took over the claims process that he would get checks out quickly to economic victims of the oil spill, and so far, he has been distributing money faster than BP did. In three months that Feinberg's facility was in charge, Feinberg paid out more than five times what BP paid out in four months following the spill.