Limiting Costs after Causing an Oil Spill


In 2014, the Obama administration increased the liability for companies involved in oil spills. The company that is responsible for an oil spill must pay for all removal costs and must also pay for any damages caused by the spill. Removal costs would include mitigation efforts that reduce the impact that the environmental spill has on the welfare of locals. Damages can include lost property, lost profits, lost tax revenue, and the destruction of natural resources. However, depending on the circumstances of the spill, you may not be liable or may be only partially liable for the damages caused by it. If you do not know whether you are liable for damages, you can work with your environmental law attorney and limit your liability.

Understanding Your Potential Costs

Typically, the state will perform the cleanup and you will then be responsible for reimbursing the state for the cleanup costs. Then, those who were affected by the oil spill will be able to sue you for additional expenses. Since oil spills often impact multiple parties, they may join together in a class action lawsuit. Therefore, when you consult with an environmental law attorney, you will need to determine if you were liable for the spill.

Determining If You Have Liability

Consider whether you were in control and custody of the oil or the vessel containing the oil during the spill. Also, determine if there was any maintenance you were supposed to perform that could have prevented the oil-containing vessel from leaking. If you can provide evidence that someone else was in control or custody, you may not be found liable. Also, if your own negligence did not cause the oil spill, the courts may find someone else to be at fault. Part of what determines how much you were liable is whether you took steps to mitigate damages.

Mitigating Damages

The cost of cleaning up the oil spill can be minimal if you take steps to mitigate the oil spill damages and if you also hire a contractor quickly to handle the cleanup. Also, if you can mitigate the damages done to natural resources, the agency responsible for assessing these damages may send a smaller bill. In some states, you are legally required to remove oil that enters a body of water as soon as possible. However, you should contact your attorney and any relevant protection agencies in your state to determine if there are any chemicals or dispersants that you are not allowed to use. An attorney like Moore Smith Buxton & Turcke-Chartered who specialized in environmental law is best suited to guide you through each stage of the cleanup process.


27 August 2015

do you really need an attorney?

There are so many legal situations that you can find yourself involved with, but do those situations really require that you hire an attorney? Some instances you may not need an attorney working with you, but in other situations, an attorney is definitely a necessity. This blog contains tips and advice for working through the different elements of the legal system. You will find information that can help you determine if/when you need to hire an attorney to represent your best interests. Knowing this information can help you avoid the costly mistake of taking on the legal system without someone who knows how the system works.