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Business Economic Loss (“BEL”)

Business Economic Loss (“BEL”):
The BEL is for businesses that were operating at the time of the spill (April 20, 2010) and that assert economic loss due to the spill. This includes both larger corporations as well as those reporting business income through their personal income tax returns on Form 1040 Schedules C, E, or F. The Form 1040 Schedule C is for reporting profit or loss from a business you operated or a profession you practiced as a sole proprietor. The Form 1040 Schedule E is specifically for reporting income or loss from rental properties, and the Form 1040 Schedule F is specifically for reporting profit and loss from farming businesses. There are also other variations of the BEL for claimants who may have a business that was just getting started when the BP oil spill occurred or for businesses that failed and had to close down, enter bankruptcy, and/or liquidate assets after the spill.

  • Start-Up BEL:  A “Start-Up” business is a business that was in operation for less than 18 months before the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster occurred. What’s different about these claims is that a start-up business will obviously not have several years of past business records in order to compare things like total revenues. Therefore, the start-up business’s May through December 2010 revenues will be compared to a different “benchmark” period—May 2011-April 2012. This is the method by which these claims will be calculated to determine whether or not you have a viable claim.
  • Failed BEL: A “Failed” business is an entity that began before November 1, 2008, and that, subsequent to May 1, 2010 but prior to December 31, 2011, had to cease operations, shut down, and/or dissolve. Failed businesses are also required to submit a specific failed business form to the claims administrator, among other additional documentation such as loan documentation, outstanding debts, details of assets, bankruptcy filing information, etc.
  • Failed Start-Up BEL:A “Failed Start-Up” business is a business that started after November 1, 2008. However, after May 1, 2010, but prior to December 31, 2011, this business would have been forced to cease operations and wind down, enter bankruptcy, or otherwise liquidate all its assets. Failed businesses are also required to submit a specific failed business form to the claims administrator, among other additional documentation such as loan documentation, outstanding debts, details of assets, bankruptcy filing information, etc. Failed start-up business owners could also be entitled to “Sweat Equity” compensation based upon the amount of work that went into trying to get the business of the ground by filling out affidavits and other various documentation. These type of payments are designed to compensate failed start-up business owners for all of the hard work that goes into trying to open a business that doesn’t necessarily show itself on profit and loss statements.

BP has set up a framework for all of these types of business economic losses – from the typical business operating well before the spill and after, to the start-ups or failed businesses that limped along and struggled to survive due to BP’s negligence. The approved settlement that was reached is over a thousand pages, and amidst those pages, it discusses all of the documentation that a business must submit in order to prove their losses. This language can be confusing and/or unclear for inexperienced persons. Our firm will help you navigate the waters of the settlement and aggressively, ethically, and efficiently represent your business or individual claim(s) related to the spill.