Claims against BP spill in as the cutoff date looms

Competing interests are complex, especially when it comes to commercial business. The interests of a larger corporation often dwarf those of the smaller. Sometimes the larger corporation does something to cause damage or hardship to the business of the smaller. Business litigation can often stem from such conflicts.

British Petroleum or BP caused an oil spill in 2011 that has resulted in a large amount of environmental as well as commercial damage. Many businesses were affected by the oil spill, especially those directly connected to the Gulf of Mexico. Once the damage of the spill was realized, legal claims began pouring in for damages suffered due to the spill. The Louisiana Courts are handling these grievances against BP and many claims have been filed. There are approximately 40,000 claims that appear to fit the criteria for recovery from BP. This means that BP could owe over 3 billion dollars in settlement with still more claims coming. The deadline to file a claim with BP is not until April of 2014.

When running or owning a business there are many potential issues that could escalate into litigation. There can be issues with other businesses, current employees, former employees or even competitors. Sometimes, instead of individual parties, an entire corporation can be sued. When one large corporation is accused of wrongdoing, many claims can arise from many different parties. Things can quickly get very complex. When an employee of a corporation does not use enough care in their work duties and causes injury or harm, that corporation itself as a whole can be liable.

While only one person or a group of people are physically responsible for a particular incident, the company as a whole can usually be liable. The employer oversees the actions of all of the employees, even if not directly involved and can be held vicariously liable. The important point is that any harm must occur while the employee is completing their regular work tasks.

Corporations are large and often multi-national. They have employees completing their tasks potentially world-wide. When a corporation is involved in wrongdoing, business litigation is often the result. The many claims and processes involved are often complex. Louisiana business owners facing business litigation issues should not hesitate to seek expert advice. Regardless of whether one has a large corporation or small business, legal professionals can help when recovering losses is the goal.

Source: reuters.com, "Payout official set for surge in BP spill claims," Kathy Finn, May 17, 2013

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