Is compensation available to tourism businesses and workers for lost income or profits as a result of the Gulf oil spill?

Yes.  Under the Oil Pollution act, if you've lost profits or income as a result of an oil spill, you may submit a claim for lost profits or earning capacity.   For example, many hospitality and tourism businesses rely on coastal areas for their livelihood such as recreational fishing companies, marinas, businesses which take people on pleasure cruises around the harbor, coastal restaurants, hotels, wildlife excursions, and other tourism businesses. 

The tourism industry on the Gulf Coast is a multi-billion dollar industry.  With the oil spill, those businesses are facing millions of dollars in lost revenues.  Under the law, businesses may submit a claim for compensation of commercial losses including loss of earnings/profits.  Note, however, that only lost profits are covered, not lost revenues. 

For example, if the Gulf oil spill caused the marina where your boat is docked, you could submit a claim for the profit you lost during the time the marina was officially closed. However, you could not receive payment for the revenue you typically bring in during the loss period; rather, you could claim the only amount of profit you typically earn (i.e, what is left over after deducting expenses from revenue).

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.

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