Property damage owners received the Order from the Court yesterday. They obtained 28% of the estimated $4.4 billion in damages, i.e.: the settlement was reached for $1.2 billion. That’s how long it took. 9 years. 9 years of depositions (180). 9 years of motions in court. 9 years of millions of documents sifted through. 9 years. WHAT CASE AM I REFERRING TO? Why, the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center of course.
The plaintiffs sued the security companies, the airlines, and other aviation related companies according to Eric Turkewitz of the Turkewitz Law Firm in New York City. You can read all about the recent settlement on his award-winning blog.
My question to the plaintiffs would be: was it worth it? Was it worth the litigation? Was it worth living with this for nine years? Was it worth getting 28% of the estimated costs and damages? Was it worth the attorney fees? What if you could have obtained 20% eight years ago? Would you have taken it?
Well, I think the BP Oil situation is similar (in a legal sense, not in comparison to the loss of life and national security). Potential plaintiffs have an opportunity to get a bird in the hand. There is a $20 billion dollar fund. You can apply for your portion right here. Will you receive 100% of your losses? Maybe. Maybe not. Will you have to wait for 9 years to recoup some of your losses? Probably not.
Some have chosen to pursue the legal process. Is that wise? What will you gain in light of the fund set up by BP? What if you went to the fund and didn’t like the result? Hmmm. At that point, you could go to the legal system. In fact, you still have legal rights if you don’t like the result:
36. If I disagree with the amount of payment I received for my claim, what can I do?
You retain all legal rights if you are not satisfied with BP’s resolution of your claim.
For more information on the BP Claims process, you can visit their FAQ.
Think about what litigation means to you before you enter the system.