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Dec 10 10

Final Claims with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility

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Processing the Final Claims
For people that have filed their claims, it is now a waiting game for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. If you are one of those people that have filed and are waiting, you’re basically at the mercy for them to determine what is going to happen for your outcome. Otherwise, there is a deadline for people that haven’t filed, so if you are looking to make a claim, the time to do it is now, and it is important to get your claim in before the deadline passes. With all the questions and information that is out there, it can be difficult to make the claim and get all the information, but the most important thing is actually getting your claim into the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
For people that haven’t filed yet, there is a deadline for filing. That deadline is November 23rd, 2010, after this date, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility will no longer be taking applications for the Emergency Advance Payments. What they may accept in the future would be interim or final claims. So, if you haven’t filed, time is running out and you are going to be sitting there losing out on a potential claim.
Once the claim has been filed, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility will start to process the claims. When they process the claims, they may have questions or need more information on what you are claiming. For some individuals they may have qualified for the Emergency Advance payment which is giving to people that are experiencing hardship right away. For this claim, you will get a payment either for a monthly loss or for six months depending on how you file it. This payment is essentially an advance on what the Final claim will be when it is paid out.
For people that don’t want to file for the Emergency Advance payment or feel like they don’t need it, they will need to wait for the Final Payment. The Final payment is what will be processed after the dates for filing claims has passed on November 23rd, 2010. Your final claim will be based off of a few different factors in order to determine what it will be and when you will receive it. It is important that if you get a final claim that you are unhappy with that you know how to protest or appeal it. Having an attorney to look over a final payment may be a good idea.

Dec 10 10

Hiring an Attorney to help with BP claims

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Contacting an Attorney to Help with BP Claims
A lot of people are in a dilemma when it comes to deciding whether or not to hire an attorney to help with the BP claims process through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. There are many people that would swear by it and others that just plan on doing it themselves. Of course, there are reasons to have an attorney and there are reasons to not have an attorney, you have to decide what is best for you based on the pros and cons of each option and finding out which one is going to be the best fit for you.
Pros:
With an attorney, generally they have some strings that they can pull. So, if you’ve found that your claim is dragging or that you can’t get an answer, you get your attorney to deal with them. That’s what is important. Also, generally, with an attorney, they can make filing this complicated form that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has created a lot easier. They will ensure that the form is filled out correctly and that they have all the supporting documents that they need to submit the claim. For the most part, they will generally file the claim for you and make sure that they keep copies of everything. This takes a lot of the hassle off of your shoulders and puts it on someone else, which frees you up to do what you need to do.
Cons:
Of course, the largest downside to using an attorney is that generally you have to pay for them, and sometimes they aren’t cheap. It may not be worth it for individuals to use an attorney to file their claim because they have to weigh the amount of the claim that they are getting with the amount that they are being charged hourly by the attorney. It is important to make sure that it is well worth it, and probably only larger corporations that are filing large claims should be using attorneys.
When it comes to hiring an attorney to file your claims with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, you have to determine if it is a good decision for you. Although it may make filing the claim a lot easier, it may not be the most affordable option that exists for you. Be sure you are weighing your claim amount with the cost of an attorney before you go out and hire one.

Dec 4 10

Frustration mounts with Gulf Coast Claims Facility

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Frustration with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility
There are many people that are fed up and frustrated with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and the amount that they are entitled to. It seems to be that a lot of people are having issues getting their claims paid or there is a lot of confusion to get these claims paid. If you are frustrated the lack of help or the confusion that has set in with your Gulf Coast Claims Facility, you aren’t the only one! There are so many other people that are in the same situation as you today.
For a lot of people, the main frustration has come from the looming deadline date, which is November 23, 2010. This is the first deadline for people that are trying to get what they deserve from an oil czar that ruined their livelihood and have threatened their ability to earn a living. For many people, gathering the information and getting to the office to file has been hard enough. For others, they didn’t even realize that there was an option to file and are now scrambling at the last minute to get done what they need.
A lot of people are very frustrated because not only were they unsure how to file or who to file with, a lot of them weren’t even sure that they could sign up as individuals. Finding out last minute that they can has them scrambling to get their information together. Even worse, what they find is that when they head to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility that the lines are literally hundreds of people long. It is a nightmare trying to file and get what they can with lines that resemble some people’s worst nightmares. But, when your only option to feed your family and to pay your bills depended on something that BP ruined, they have to do what they can to provide for themselves and their families.
Although BP has tried to set up the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, unfortunately, it hasn’t been the friendliest and easiest process to get signed up for. People are thoroughly frustrated with the process and how it works. If you are someone that has to make a claim, be patient, it may not be the best process ever, but patience and persistency will hopefully help you get the money you deserve so that you can move on with your life and make up for what you’ve lost.

Dec 4 10

How to file a claim with Gulf Coast Claims Facility

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How to File a Claim with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility
When you are looking to file a claim through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, there is a certain process that you must follow. Knowing this process is really important because it will ensure that you’ve done your job to process the claim and that there is no issue in the paperwork that you filled out. There are different ways that you can fill the form out, either mailing it in, visiting the local Gulf Coast Claims Facility, or through the Internet.
There are ten parts with the Claims Form:
1. Instruction section: Read this to know how to properly complete the Claims Form.
2. Claimant Information: Fill in information about the individual or business making the claim.
3. Attorney Information: If the individual or business has hired an attorney, their information would go in this section.
4. Claim Information: This section would be information that can justify your claim.
5. Collateral Source Compensation: This section would explain any benefits that you have received from other sources since the spill. This would include insurance settlements, unemployment, and that sort of thing.
6. Alternate Contact Information for Individual Claimants: This doesn’t need to be filled out unless you want to provide other information on how to reach you.
7. Representative Claimant Information: For this form, you would fill this out if the individual is deceased or somehow can’t complete the form on their own and a power of attorney had to do it.
8. Method of Payment: This section is the best one because you will fill out how you want to receive your payment if you qualify.
9. Signature: Be sure to sign this section and read everything before you do sign it.
10. Exhibit A: With this section you need to include any supporting documentation that will back up your claim and show your loss.

After you have the form completed, you can either mail it to the office, which is probably the slowest option. There is also a form of this available that you can fill out online. The easiest and the quickest way to process this, however, is to go to your local office. You can find these local offices on the website for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility website. There is a deadline for filing, so be sure that you are familiar with it and how it works. It is important to be on top of these claims so you don’t lose out on anything.

Oct 28 10

Gulf Coast Claims Facility and Casino Workers

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Here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we have 11 beautiful casinos along the beach. When the BP well blew on April 20th, we all assumed it was the end of tourism as we knew it. And it absolutely was the end of tourism as we knew it, but oddly it wasn’t the end of tourism. Things were very, very bad for awhile. Local fishermen and some tourist businesses were absolutely destroyed as the oil began to wash ashore. Some fishermen were lucky enough to get jobs working with BP and money started to flow through the economy again, but not as much and not through the same businesses as before. Some were lucky and many were not as the local economy switched gears. Probably a whole book could be writtten about how the tourist economy here was flipped on it’s ear in just a few months and many local businesses were made over or destroyed, but today I wanted to talk about the Casinos and more specifically the casino workers along the Mississippi Coast.
Casinos employ about ten thousand people here along the Gulf Coast, that’s a small number of those affected by the spill, but local papers here are running articles about casino workers claims being categorically denied by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and nothing really shows more clearly the dichotomy of those helped and those hurt by the storm. I have worked in Gulf Coast Casinos off and on and since 1992. I know many, many, many of the workers who are affected or not affected as the case may be, by this spill. As the spill reached our beaches, tourism here did suffer, but hotel bookings did not. People who come to the Gulf Coast it turned out, primarily come to gamble. Yes, they book fishing charters, and spend time at restaurants over looking the beach, but if those things weren’t available, they still came. The fishing captain and the restaurant waiters suffered. But the casinos for the most part really did not. Only one of the six months since the spill had smaller gross revenue numbers then 2009. And that was July which really was more affected by the number of weekends falling this year versus last year. Gross casino revenue was up in the months following the spill, and while October numbers aren’t even close to being ready, I would guess that they will be substantially up due to a “Cruising the Coast” event that was definitely well attended. And some of that attendance has to be credited to the many tens of millions of dollars that BP has given to both state and local tourism boards to promote events like “cruising”. That money combined with the tens of millions BP was paying out to individuals and companies enrolled in their vessels of opportunity program mean that cash was still flowing through local communities, but not through to the same businesses and individuals as it had during a normal tourist season.
This can be seen in the sales tax revenue for the local counties over the past six months. So the Casinos were still making money, and to my knowledge not one of the casinos has filed a claim for loss of revenue with BP. But even within the casinos, money did flow differently. Rooms that were filled with BP claims reps and vessel of opportunity personnel meant that occupancy could be up, but fine dining could be down. Or perhaps the golf course was down dramatically, but the bars were doing great. To say that the casinos did not suffer a loss would not be the same thing as saying employees in certain departments didn’t suffer loss. Just as there were winners and losers in the outside economy, there were winners and losers inside the casinos as well.
The local papers stated that only three casino employee claims out of many hundreds filed has been paid. That strikes me as absurd. I realize that without paying attention to the details of the claims, it might seem that if casinos made more money then casino employees across the board must have made more money, but it wasn’t that simple. Any claim should stand on whether lost wages can be proved, and can be tied directly to the spill. I know that many people in certain departments can meet that barrier of proof. Mr. Feinberg has stated that all claims will be reviewed independently on a case by case basis. And with the difficulties that he has ran into in the past, I tend to believe him. I mean the fiercest army of claims litigators the world has ever seen stands waiting, sharpening their blades for the slightest misstep. The Gulf Coast claims facility has never been the last recourse for those with legitimate claims. I know many restaurant owners who used local attorneys to simply help with their BP claims, not even file a claim in court, and who were very happy to have someone else deal with the paperwork and process. So there are certainly other avenues if you have the proof to show a loss of income. That being said I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that much of the confusion and slow down with casino employee claims came from employees themselves. I’m aware of many table games dealers, working part time, who filed claims in the tens of thousands of dollars. Throughout the casino I work at I have heard over and over claims numbers which border on the fraudulent. If I’m working for Mr. Feinberg and I begin to see claims numbers like these, without any supporting documentation, then perhaps I would want to take a closer look at claims from casino workers as well.. It’s really simple. If you have a legitimate claim that you can document, then don’t ever stop pursuing your case, but if your filing fraudulent claims that are holding up legitimate claims, then shame on you. Well, more than shame, because I suspect that many of those claims will result in criminal charges which will give an entire industry a black eye. And that’s how this whole story works out, a lot of people always end up suffering for the greed of a very few.

Sep 3 10

Gulf Coast Claims Facility

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The promises of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and Kenneth Feinberg are not being met. Here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and through out the affected area, the GCCF is dragging and kicking its feet at least as bad as BP ever did. Feinberg’s promise of 48 hour turnaround on individual claims and 7 days on finalized Business claims lies in tatters on the sand. The GCCF is good about publishing their statistics at least, and a quick look at those shows that only about 4,909 claims of the more than 45,000 claims filed have been paid or settled, that’s a clearance rate slightly over ten percent. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility has also paid out more than $38 million in the last two weeks to those claimants, which admittedly sounds like quite a bit but when broken down by claim means payment of slightly more than $7,000 dollars a claim. Since the vast majority of those were almost certainly for 6 months emergency payments, Mr. Feinberg is paying Gulf Coast fishermen and businesses a bit more than $1,000 a month on average for their loss. He touted the simplicity and fairness of his plan. He said a better deal wouldn’t be found anywhere. He said there would no need for attorney’s , or a long drawn out court battle. And most importantly, he said it would be quick and get money out to those struggling right now. But two weeks in, many Gulf Coast residents are breaking out those letters from lawyers they got back in May, and Mr. Feinberg, if you missed your history lessons, we don’t take well to carpet baggers down here.

Sep 2 10

Coast Guard says another rig explosion in Gulf.

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The Coast Guard says they have been called to Vermilion Bay, South of Louisiana, after a report of another rig explosion in the Gulf region. Some early reports say that all thirteen crewmen were in the water, but reported as OK. Oil and Gas experts say this isn’t a oil drilling platform as much as it is separation facility that would be tied to a pipeline that is being sent towards shore. Still there would be some chance of spill from any incoming pipeline to the very ecologically important waters of Vermilion Bay. More information as it becomes available.

Sep 2 10

As many as 90% of oysters dead on Mississippi reefs

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Early sampling of Mississippi oyster reefs show as much as 90% of the oysters are dead. The small sampling conducted near Pass Christian MS, came up with many hollowed out dead shells. Mississippi Bureau of Marine Resources is reluctant to blame BP, saying that the unusually hot summer may have caused the kill. Hot water means lower oxygen, and can cause oyster mortality. They are also saying that they need to conduct wider samplings to make sure the oyster die off is confirmed over the entire fishing grounds. Still, it could mean another viscous blow to Mississippi fishermen, many who have been out of work for many of the most productive months of the year. White shrimp season which opened last month, has also proved disappointing, even as fishing grounds were slowly reopened after the worst oil spill in U.S. history. If dead reefs follow up the worst summer in memory for many of these fishermen, it will almost certainly mean that many more will be forced for good out of a livelihood that in many cases has been passed down for generations. It will also mean that BP will be on the hook for hundreds of millions more in claims and the all fishermen and restaurants along the Gulf coast must be careful when dealing with the Gulf Coast Restoration Facility. To settle your claim now or to take less than you should for six months worth of damages, when the state of the fisheries isn’t yet known could prove even more disastrous than the oil spill itself.