Medical Claims Included in Proposed $8 Billion BP SettlementBy Rhonda Miller | Published 21 Mar 2012 04:41pm |
A proposed court settlement for BP oil spill claims will include people who believe they are sick as a result of the disaster. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports it’s a breakthrough for residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast who have been dealing with loss of income, complicated by health problems.
D’Iberville fisherman James A. “Catfish” Miller worked on the oil spill clean-up in the Vessels of Opportunity program. After a few weeks, he started having dizziness, vomiting and blurry vision.
"So I had to seek some medical attention and I went to the GCF, Feinberg, and they said they done medical for clean-up workers. So I done the process over there and they lost my paperwork four or five times."
Miller kept getting sick and went to the hospital more than a dozen times.
"I’m really troubled. This took two years to come to this conclusion, that we have sick people from Florida to Louisiana. And we are sick. We breathed this dispersants in and it’s toxic."
Now, the proposed settlement recognizes their complaints. Ocean Springs attorney Robert Wiygul and his firm represent about 100 Mississippi clients in the oil spill litigation in federal court in New Orleans.
"This settlement will provide for payments for people who got sick from the oil spill. It’s going to provide for monitoring of people who were affected by the oil spill. And, it’s also, and this is very important, going to allow people who later develop conditions related to the oil spill to go back to court if they need to."
Wiygul says for those who are tired of being asked over and over for additional paperwork, the proposed $8 billion settlement, for loss of income and medical claims, is expected be less nerve-wracking.
"We also believe, for most people, this process is going to be much more generous than the Gulf Coast Claims Facility."
That’s good news for "Catfish" Miller, who says he’s still trying to find treatment for vomiting and other physical problems hanging on since the oil spill.
"I’m so happy that this health is coming along for us. Not just for financial-wise, for my medical bills, but for my future so I can survive to see another day with my grandkids."
Attorney Robert Wiygul says people can still file claims for BP oil spill issues, even if it is their first claim. The court will review the proposed settlement in mid-April.
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