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In the wake of the BP oil spill, many wondered how economic victims would be able to recover their losses. The legal process moves slowly, especially when it involves multi-national corporations and billions of dollars. Under pressure from the Obama administration, the company created the $20 billion BP compensation Fund. Today, the fund opens for claims and is already facing criticism.
However, Kenneth Feinberg, who is in charge of the fund, said that claimants will find a more efficient process through the fund than they would encounter in the traditional legal system. He said that BP compensation fund claimants could receive more generous treatment and receive their funds quickly. Feinberg was in charge of administering the 9/11 fund as well as setting the executive pay for companies bailed out by the government.
"It is not in your interest to tie up yourself and the courts in years of uncertain protracted litigation when ... there is a more efficient quick alternative," Feinberg told a news conference on Sunday, Reuters reports. "The goal will be to pay any individual claim within 48 hours of the claim being finalized and seven days for any business claim."
For six months, anyone who demands and emergency payment can sue BP at a future date, but claims will be cut off after six months. Florida's Attorney General Bill McCollum called that position "unacceptable," Reuters reports.
Experts expect a tsnuami of new claimants to file from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida against BP in the coming days. $20 billion is a massive amount of money, nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.