Processing Magazine

Settlements for Families in BP Spill Start at $8 Million

March 31, 2011
Settlements with families of workers killed in last year''s Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion are running at $8 million to $9 million so far, reports The Wall Street Journal. This "Deepwater premium," as plaintiffs'' lawyers call it, talks involve the families of the 11 dead men, rig owner Transocean Ltd., well owner BP PLC and other companies. The premium also figures in the cases of scores of others who claim they were injured in the Gulf of Mexico accident. The settlements, according to lawyers on both sides, are several million dollars higher than in similar types of wrongful-death cases. Lawyers who handle such cases typically come up with a settlement range using data published in "worklife tables" from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or other formulas that take into account such factors as life expectancy, wages lost, marital status and surviving children. In the wrongful-death claims, the final payouts to families of the 11 dead workers are likely to vary widely. Three settlements with Transocean—two of which were reached in the weeks after the explosion—have been in the $8 million to $9 million range, according to people familiar with those agreements.

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