1.What types of damages claims are there?
There are numerous types of BP oil damage claims possible.  The first are for people injured or killed by contact with the oil or in the initial explosion.  Second are claims for people whose businesses or jobs have been damaged or destroyed by the oil spill, such as those in tourism, fishing, and oil drilling related businesses.  Third, there are claims for people with waterfront property, who are suffering losses of rental income, and loss of property value due to the fact that buyers are not willing to purchase property due to the oil spill.  There are also possible claims for natural resource damages by those who rely on natural resources for their livelihoods. At present BP is making voluntary payments on only a small percentage of cases.  Business interruption losses are potentially enormous claims.  Many towns and counties have claims for response to the oil spill and for lost tax receipts.  BP shareholders have claims for the lost value of their stock and many elderly persons are suffering from the lost dividends they expected to receive.  Many vacationers booked vacations and paid for them in areas now ruined by oil and are seeking to recover the money they invested in their vacations.  BP gas station owners have suffered due to the destruction of the company’s brand.  There are coutnless other types of possible claims.

2. How much do you charge for a consultation?

Nothing.  A consultation is absolutely free.

3. How long does the claims process take?
That depends on BP and the government at present.  If they voluntarily pay the claim, it could be paid in 60 days or less.  On the other hand, there may be certain types of claims that are denied as a category where claimants need to litigate their cases, which could take a very long amount of time.  For example, it appears that claims of oil industry workers who lost their jobs due to the drilling moratorium may be categorically denied.

4. What is the government’s role?
The government has set up a claims fund with 20 billion dollars funded by BP to be administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg.  The process for making and receiving payment on claims has not yet been established.  We will post an update when more information on this process becomes available.  Mr. Feinberg has publicly stated that he hopes to begin making payments on claims within 30 days.

5. What background do you have in handling these types of cases?
We have extensive backgrounds in similar cases.  Jonathan W. Johnson is a 1992 graduate of Columbia University School of Law, which has one of the nation’s leading programs in environmental law.  He was an Articles Editor for the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law where he reviewed and edited numerous published articles related to environmental law.  He began his career after law school with an environmental litigation law firm, that litigated issues for environmental organizations and individuals dealing with contaminated water sources.  Over his nearly twenty year career, he has been heavily involved in many mass tort cases, including asbestos litigation, claims against Merck related to injuries caused by Vioxx, and airplane crashes which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of individuals.  His former law firm was one of the leaders in 9/11 claims and handled hundreds of cases before Attorney Kenneth Feinberg.  He is also a member of the AAJ’s Oil Spill Compensation section.  John Ulmer also has extensive experience dealing with large and complex claims.  Please review our full biographies.

6. Who is liable for the  oil spill damages?

BP is clearly liable for the damages it has caused.  It is likely that Halliburton and Transocean also share at least some liability for these damages.  Investigations regarding the exact causes of this explosion are still ongoing.

If you have other questions not covered here, feel free to email them to or post them in the forum on our website.