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In addition to the thousands of businesses that suffered economic losses after the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill are thousands of individuals who suffered their own economic losses. The BP Settlement includes a compensation framework for these losses as well.

Compensation for individual losses is essentially the difference between what a claimant expected to earn for a given time period after the oil spill and what a claimant actually earned in that same time period. Of course, the key to compensation is determining what each of those amounts are based on prior earnings and tax information and then to establish that the difference in earnings is due to the oil spill. To do that, the settlement divides individual claimants into the following four categories, largely based on what type of documentation and evidence the claimant will be able to provide in support of their claim:

Individual claimants who can provide 2010 tax documents and for the years that the claimant chooses to use as their benchmark period for purposes of comparison.

Individual claimants who are unable to provide tax information, but have other documents that show employment and compensation information for 2010 and similar documents for the claimant’s benchmark period.

Individual claimants who can provide 2010 tax documents, but who do not have a benchmark period to compare their 2010 earnings to in order to determine loss

Individual claimants without any documentary proof of earnings, but who can provide sworn written statements from both the claimant and the employer concerning employment and earnings in 2010.

Once an individual claimant identifies which of these four broad categories best describes their situation, then the settlement provides detailed information for specific documents and information that must be submitted and how losses will be calculated.

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