FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following are a list of basic questions based on the questions I hear the most from clients:
1. Who is eligible?
a. Businesses – Any business earning revenue as of April 20, 2010, even if just started the day before.
b. Employee / Independent Contractor – Any employee/independent contractor of either
i. a “previously qualified” employer/business, OR
ii. if the employer is not qualified, then a showing of the direct effect of the BP Oil spill on wages/earnings
Note – To qualify under 1. b. i., the employee/independent contractor must have been employed by the qualified employer as of April 20, 2010.
2. Are the payments real?
a. Businesses – Our firm’s average business economic loss claim is approximately $90,000
b. Employees – don’t have enough data yet, but have received thousands of dollars for employees
3. How does a business qualify/how do I qualify?
a. Business – Our firm needs to see a business’ monthly gross revenue numbers. As for what months, this depends on when the business opened and what the status of the business was as of December 31, 2011. In short, there are multiple ways to qualify/demonstrate “causation through a business’ monthly gross revenue” and each way requires different months, while using the same information (i.e., monthly gross revenue). Finally, a business can get this information from its 1) monthly profit and loss statements, 2) quickbooks or some other “computer” accounting program, or 3) bank statements
b. Employee / Independent Contractor – 1) demonstrate that employer qualified (if employer has not checked, our firm can do for free within twenty-four (24) hours of receiving the employer’s monthly gross revenue) or 2) demonstrate how the BP spill effected the employee/independent contractor’s wages (similar to proving a business interruption loss claim).
4. How long before I a) find out the amount I/the business should receive and b) get a check?
a. Determine amount – My firm can determine the amount the business is entitled to within 45-75 days after my firm receives all of the necessary information, which is 1) tax returns (years depend on type of claim; see 3 a above), 2) quickbooks computer file, monthly profit and loss statements, or bank statements, and 3) sales tax returns if required to file by state of Florida (note – if don’t have sales tax returns, we can order and get within two (2) weeks).
b. Time to check – This time period varies greatly. In short, my firm has had clients receive checks within three (3) months of my firm filing the claim, while, since BP has entered the appeals process, the time frame has taken much longer. Our current estimate for time from submission is check is at about twelve (12) months. Please note that this is the case for all attorneys filing business economic loss claims.
5. What cost is it to me/my business?
a. Attorneys’ Fees – Our firm handles all claims on a contingent basis. Thus, if a client receives nothing, then the client will not have to pay anything to 1) my firm, 2) the claims center, or 3) BP. There is no risk to the client except losing the time spent to provide the information required by the settlement agreement.
b. Costs – All costs, to include accounting fees and other incidentals, are paid from the firm’s portion of the contingent fee. As such, a business will always get a flat percentage of what is collected.
6. Are there any risks for a client, whether a business or employee/independent contractor?
a. Client – Again, no, except a little time.
b. Our firm – Our firm takes all of the risk, as it has to pay the accountants and other incidentals whether or not a business/employee gets a payment from the DHCC.
If you have any further questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us by phone at (727) 712-3663.