The statute of limitations for filing a BP claim appeal expired on April 20, 2013. This is in keeping with the maximum time allowed by federal law under the Oil Pollution Act to file against the oil producer and its associates in the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill incident.
This is bad news for those who have yet to file a claim or have been denied a moratorium by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, the now-defunct organization that was supposed to handle compensation claims for individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill. Claims are now being handled directly by BP under a Court Supervised Settlement Program, and these include not only OPA claims but also those who participated in the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damage Settlement, Seafood Compensation Programs, and Medical Benefit Settlements as well as appeals for denied claims.
According to the website of Williams Kherkher, there is extensive scrutiny from the courts as BP continuously challenges all claims and actually denies about 75% of them, sparking off protests and allegations of bad faith from claimants who are four years delayed in getting compensation. This is the pattern observed in the management of claims against BP, such as with the Medical Benefits program, which had already significantly delayed compensation to those whose health was affected by taking part in the clean-up operations in the aftermath of the explosion as well as residents of the affected areas. Most recently the Medical Benefit Settlement program was approved, and the deadline for making a claim under this category is now on February 14, 2015 barring any further legal wrangling.
There is no denying the BP has the legal muscle and financial capability to escape liability for a significant number of the affected populations. Claimants and appellants must have competent legal representation with experience in handling BP oil spill claims, and must act fast before time runs out.