How Much Will BP Have to Pay? Damage Caps for Big Oil
- The Oil Protection Act allows a company that is responsible for an oil spill to be liable for additional damages if the damages were caused by the gross negligence of the company;
- The Oil Protection Act specifically does not preempt state and local lawsuits related to the accident. That means that while damages in federal court are limited to $75 million, additional damages can be claimed pursuant to state and local laws;
- The $75 million is specifically exclusive of all clean up costs. Clean up costs from the accident are not capped by federal law and the government has stated that it intends to hold BP accountable for the considerable clean up costs associated with the Deepwater Horizon accident;
- BP’s global chief executive is quoted in the May 5, 2010 New York Times as stating that the “$75 million cap would inevitably be exceeded.” This indicates an acceptance on BP’s part that the $75 million cap is unrealistic given the magnitude of this oil spill; and
- Federal legislation has already been sponsored that would retroactively raise BP’s damage cap from $75 million to $10 billion. Of course this legislation is not yet law and even if it does become law it will almost certainly be the subject of litigation for years before it can be applied to provide damages to plaintiffs in Deepwater Horizon lawsuits.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Gulf Oil Spill Articles
- The Potential Plaintiffs of the Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuits
- The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund
- The Legal Differences Between the Exxon Valdez and the BP Oil Spills
- Environmental Laws and Oil Spills
- What is the Oil Pollution Act of 1990?
- What legal remedies are available to individuals and businesses affected by the Gulf Oil Spill?
- Is compensation available to tourism businesses and workers for lost income or profits as a result of the Gulf oil spill?
- I own or lease property damaged by an oil spill. Am I entitled to compensation for the damages?
- My boat was damaged by the Gulf Oil Spill. Am I entitled to damages?
- What is needed to file a claim for damages resulting from the Gulf Oil Spill with the National Pollution Funds Center?
- What is the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF)?
- Does the law limit the amount of money an oil company is liable for after an oil spill?
- If an oil company negligently caused an oil spill, then does the $75 million liability cap apply?
- If I submit a federal claim for Gulf oil spill damages, does that mean I can't join a private or class action lawsuit?