Deepwater Horizon Class Action Medical Settlement
On April 20, 2010, an explosion occurred on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig located at the BP operated Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon rig was located 52 miles off the coast of Louisiana and was close to completing a well 13,000 feet beneath the ocean floor.
The tragic explosion took the lives of 11 individuals and caused the worst oil spill and ecological disaster in United States history. According to reports, the sinking oil rig severed the wellhead and several safety measures put in place to cap the well in emergencies situations failed. Oil flowed unabated into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days releasing a conservative estimate of over 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The incident triggered one of the most massive environmental cleanup efforts ever undertaken by man.
While attempting to respond to the massive spill, BP recruited thousands of people to help with the cleanup effort. BP then dumped 1.84 million gallons (also a conservative estimate) of a controversial and toxic oil dispersant known as Corexit into the Gulf of Mexico. BP did this despite the fact that these dispersants have been banned in other parts of the world. Oil dispersants work by causing oil molecules to clump and separate from water molecules so that the oil can be skimmed from the surface of the water.
During the course of their employment, many cleanup workers who helped respond to the man-made disaster were exposed to these dispersants as well as crude oil. The cleanup workers inhaled and came into contact with substances on a daily basis. Because the chemicals are known to cause harm to humans, BP has agreed to a class action settlement with cleanup workers and certain Gulf Coast residents for personal injury caused by chemical exposure during the oil spill cleanup effort.
The Deepwater Horizon Medical Settlement compensates claimants with lump sum payments based on the type and severity of the conditions they suffered from. The settlement also provides for “back-end” lawsuits in the event physical conditions not compensated in the settlement manifest at a later date. This is very important considering the full effect of dispersants and hydrocarbons on humans is not yet known.
Further, the settlement also provides for “enhancer payments” if the specified physical conditions suffered caused overnight hospitalization within a week of the symptoms’ first appearance. Depending on the amount of time spend in the hospital, the value of the enhancers goes up.
Who is Eligible for the Medical Class Action Settlement?
The main category of eligible individuals is men and women who worked cleaning up the Gulf Coast after the BP oil spill. These people skimmed the oil out of the water, washed the barges, cleaned oil from the beaches, handled hazardous chemicals, and performed many other tasks involved in environmental response.
Unfortunately, many of the people who helped in the response effort are now suffering from the effects of chemical exposure. The Deepwater Horizon Class Action Settlement is meant to compensate these hardworking individuals. To qualify for injuries suffered cleanup after the spill, the claimant must have worked as a cleanup worker between April 20, 2010 and April 16, 2012.
Certain individuals who also lived in designated areas near the cleanup activities for at least 60 days and show signs of exposure could also be eligible for compensation. To determine if your residence falls into this category click here.
The zones are very limited and the time the claimant is required to have resided in them is different. Zone A claimants need to have resided in the area at least sixty days between April 20, 2010 and September 30, 2010 (“Zone A Resident”), and have had a “Specified Physical Condition” prior to September 30, 2010. Zone B residents need to have resided in the zone for at least sixty days between April 20, 2010, and December 31, 2010 (“Zone B Resident”).
To view a list of medical conditions covered by these claims, click HERE.