?In April 2010, a massive explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon, a huge offshore oil rig about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Firefighters from the U.S. Coast fought the fire for a grueling two days but were unable to extinguish the flames. As the Deepwater Horizon sank into the sea, about 4 million barrels of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico over the course of 84 days, resulting in devastating damage to wildlife and thousands of coastal residents.
The explosion was the result of a malfunction in the rig’s blowout preventer (BOP), a mechanism designed to close the channel through which oil is extracted. Upon further investigation, responsibility fell on BP after it was discovered that early indications of a problem were ignored during testing procedures. This egregious negligence led to the deaths of 11 employees and the serious injuries of 17 others.
Williams Hart Recovers Over $200M in Damages for BP Oil Spill Victims
Although they were found to have ignored multiple safety warnings before the explosion, BP Oil still tried to get off lightly. In two months following the explosion, BP Oil set up the Gulf Coast Claims Facility to ward off any lawsuits, offering quick lowball payouts for people who signed waivers.
In mid-2010, howe’ver, thousands of ensuing lawsuit claims merged into a single, mass tort case overseen by a U.S. District Judge in New Orleans. The judge eventually approved a settlement from BP Oil for roughly $20 billion. It was the largest criminal penalty against a single entity in U.S. history.
Although BP Oil made attempts to stall and reduce payments, attorneys forced their hand. In June 2012, 18 claims processing centers were set up throughout the affected Gulf states to speed up the payment process. Thanks to their relentless efforts, the personal injury attorneys at Williams Hart secured over $200 million for more than 1,000 businesses and individuals. Money from the settlement was used to help:
- Businesses that experienced losses because of the spill
- Owners with coastal and wetland properties
- Cleanup workers who suffered health problems because of the spill
- Fishermen who owned vessels damaged by the spill
Additionally, the State of Texas received about $19 million to protect over 570 acres of coastal habitat. Although most of the environmental recovery projects are taking place along the coastline, a greenway project in Houston also received some of the settlement money.
Without the hard work of personal injury firms like Williams Hart, it’s likely that BP Oil would have paid pennies on the dollar for the damages caused by their negligence. Our team has a solid record of taking on the big corporations…and winning. We’ve handled several other environmental-related property damage cases, including cases against ExxonMobil for contamination of drinking water.
We will not allow our community to be taken advantage of. If you or someone you know are suffering because of the negligence of Big Oil, contact our experience attorneys today to schedule a 100% FREE initial consultation.