Oil Spill

Feinberg Rethinks BP Claims Process, Now Sees Valuable Role for Lawyers

The lawyer overseeing the $20 billion BP fund to compensate oil-spill victims is acknowledging he was overly optimistic when he said individual claims would be acted on within 48 hours.

Claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg promised to improve the process during a Gulf Coast visit this week, according to the New York Times and the Press-Register. One woman at a public meeting on Monday held a sign that said, “This is the longest 48 hours of my life.”

“It is clear to me that I over-promised and under-delivered,” Feinberg said.

Feinberg responded to accusations that he has discouraged claimants from hiring lawyers, the Times story says. “I am increasingly of the view as I go forward with this program that the lawyers around this country can play a very valuable role,” he said, by helping people package their claims.

Feinberg also told oil-spill victims that he was reconsidering a rule that requires claimants to live close to oil-tainted areas, a requirement that limits recovery for Florida hotels and restaurants. Bloomberg has more on the issue.

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