Shreveport Attorney John Settle
by John Settle

Yes, Virginia, I do believe in Santa Claus; and when I get my check from the British Petroleum Business Loss Settlement fund, I will know there is a Santa Claus. Seriously, I qualify for money from the class action settlement, just like most Louisiana businesses.

Yes, Virginia...
Yes, Virginia…

Getting the BP money is not as easy as sitting on Santa’s lap. But considering that it is “free money” business owners should take the time to determine if they qualify. The good news is that even though your business may have done well the last few years you may still qualify.

BP’s settlement terms do not require that a business show that the oil spill caused harm to the business. To qualify to make a claim under BP’s settlement terms, the business must pass certain economic tests. There are five different qualification formulas and if a business passes one of them, then it has passed BP’s test and a claim can be made.

The qualification formulas are based solely on gross monthly revenue and business location from January 2007 through December 2011. The formulas use the total gross revenue from all sources, one time or recurring, without any expenses being taken out.

If the business began operations after November 2008, but before April 20, 2010, it will be considered a start-up business and must pass BP’s start-up business qualification formula. If the business failed after April 20, 2010 but before December 31, 2011, it will be considered a failed business and must pass BP’s failed business qualification formula.

Can You Connect the Dots?
Can You Connect the Dots?

The settlement agreement has numerous tests to determine eligibility, and various economic formulas to determine compensation to be paid. These formulas spell out in great detail what the business “damage” is and how much can be claimed. There are multipliers that are built into the compensation formulas that may increase the damage amount depending on several factors.

Unfortunately, there is no easy to do kit or on-line form to apply for the BP money. Both legal and accounting services are needed to get through the settlement formulas, hoops and procedures. A business must be willing to dig up financial records, but more often than not the effort will be worth while. I mean, really, do you expect Santa to do everything?