BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred over eight years ago, but claims of alleged damages from the 2010 incident about 130 miles off the coast of New Orleans have not been forgotten.
According to a recent Bloomberg Law article, more than 6,300 notices of intent to sue have been filed regarding the spill and 62 percent have been approved. Many individuals are now coming forward with alleged health injuries which they claim have manifested themselves years after the spill. One man claims he has developed chronic conjunctivitis, which he says was a direct result of being exposed to oil and harmful chemicals when he was working as a cleanup worker.
Peter Vujin, a Miami-based attorney, recently spoke with the Louisiana Record about these health-related lawsuits and BP's responsibility in a situation such as this.
"Ordinarily, the statutes of limitations in Louisiana, Texas and Florida would prohibit anyone from suing after a specific period of time. But, in this situation, the centralized claims processing court in Louisiana decided that cleanup and spill workers who exhibit actual bodily injury after the time to sue has expired, still retain the right to sue," Vujin said.
This situation is both reasonable and fair, as the money which BP already paid for damages following the spill were paid to corporations that were harmed by the spill, not individuals, Vujin said.
"BP was ordered to pay for 'later manifested conditions' pursuant to the settlement agreement BP voluntarily signed, therefore, BP accepted this risk," Vujin said. "The problems, as BP surely must know, start to manifest later in life, and now we have people with actual chronic conditions who are likely to get paid pursuant to the 'later manifested conditions' part of the settlement."
Vujin said this is a fair outcome, especially because BP already agreed to it and now must uphold their promise.
"It is very unlikely that this small settlement will seriously disturb Louisiana's energy industry, at least, not more so that the BP spill already did," Vujin said.
The spill occurred after a well blowout caused explosions and fire on board the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and injuring 17 others, the Bloomberg article said.