Orange County Oil Spill Business Loss Lawyer
On Saturday, October 2, 2021, the first reports of an oil spill off the coast of Orange County, California were received. By the time it was contained, it became the largest oil spill in decades in California with 144,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean. While cleanup and mitigation efforts were immediately underway, the long term impact on residents and the business community remains uncertain.
If you have been impacted by the Amplify Energy Corp. oil spill in Orange County, CA, Bentley & More, LLP can help. Whether you have suffered health complications, damage to your property, or are dealing with financial loss to your business, our attorneys can protect your interests and recover compensation on your behalf. Call us today at 949-822-9091 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.
How We Can Help
At Bentley & More, LLP, we realize that you may be going through an extremely difficult time, and we are here to help.
- We have represented individuals and small businesses in Orange County for decades. We understand how significant the impact of the oil spill can be on the area.
- Our attorneys are passionate about holding large corporations accountable for damages and injuries they cause and have had significant success doing so in court.
- We know that insurance companies often deny valid claims and understand how to compel them to treat their policyholders fairly.
Beaches Impacted by the Orange County Oil Spill
The oil spill has been traced to a broken pipeline located about six miles offshore in federal waters that was part of an oil platform called Elly. The owner of the oil platform is a Houston-based company, Amplify Energy.
Since the first reports of the spill began, the oil has spread into an area that is about 13 miles wide. It has severely impacted several beaches and beach communities on the Orange County coastline, including:
- Huntington Beach
- Laguna Beach
- Newport Beach
All city and county beaches in these areas have been closed to swimmers until further notice. However, concrete bike paths that are located away from the water remain open for recreational activities. Officials estimate that the beaches will be closed for at least a few weeks, and maybe even months, as professionals work to get the oil out of the ocean and to clean the marine environment enough to allow the public to return. In the meantime, thousands of local businesses will be negatively impacted by the oil spill.
Who Is Responsible for the Orange County Oil Spill?
The cause of the Orange County oil spill is still under investigation. The company that owns the offshore oil platform where the spill took place is Amplify Energy, a company based in Houston. The CEO of Amplify Energy, Martyn Willsher, said during a news conference that the company’s divers have inspected more than 8,000 feet of pipeline as of Tuesday morning (October 5) and has pinpointed a specific area of interest. However, the exact cause of the oil spill remains undetermined.
The District Attorney for Orange County, Todd Spitzer, was adamant that those who should be investigating the oil spill are law enforcement officers, not Amplify Energy’s own divers, as they are “biased and self-interested.” Initial reports have stated that a 17-mile-long pipeline that runs from the Port of Long Beach to a processing oil platform called Elly is bent, has a split in it and has been displaced on the ocean floor by 105 feet. When asked if a ship’s anchor might have been in the wrong place and struck the pipeline, Willsher answered that it was one of the distinct possibilities.
Was Your Business Affected by the Orange County Oil Spill?
Bentley & More LLP is keeping up with the ongoing investigations being used to determine the cause of the oil spill. One possibility that has been mentioned is a ship dropping its anchor in the wrong area and striking a pipeline. If it is discovered that Amplify Energy or another entity is to blame for the oil spill, that party may be held liable for all related losses suffered by local business owners. Examples of businesses that may be impacted by the oil spill in Orange County are:
- Commercial fishermen
- Boat rentals
- Tourist shops
- Gift shops
- Surf lessons/surf shops
- Recreational shops and activities
- Local restaurants and bars
- Independent food truck/cart owners
If you own a business that is located in an area affected by the Orange County oil spill, you may be facing significant financial losses related to this disaster. The tourists and beach goers that you depend upon for your revenue may be absent for many weeks during oil cleanup. The law may entitle you to financial compensation for these losses so that your business – and family – can stay afloat.
Crude Oil Is Toxic for Humans and Wildlife
Part of what makes an oil spill such a tragedy is that it is extremely dangerous for humans and wildlife. Crude oil is a highly toxic substance that clings to anything it touches and is very difficult to remove. Although county officials began closing down beaches in Huntington, Newport and Laguna on Sunday and Monday, many swimmers, divers and surfers were exposed to crude oil in the water before these announcements were made. While the economic impact to businesses will be immediate and ongoing, the long term public health implications are yet to be understood.
However, exposure to crude oil can cause many health problems for victims:
- Touching crude oil with any part of the skin can lead to related skin irritation and rashes.
- Getting crude oil in the eyes can cause serious harm and eye irritation.
- Ingesting crude oil can cause poisoning, with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
- Inhaling crude oil vapors can cause respiratory irritation, chemical pneumonia, and breathing problems, as well as headaches, dizziness, fatigue and nausea.
- Prolonged exposure to crude oil can cause an irregular heartbeat, organ damage, seizures, coma and death.
The risks related to crude oil increase for vulnerable populations, including children, pregnant women and the elderly. As an Orange County resident, you should avoid going to the beach and do not swim until county health officials have cleared the oil from the water and confirmed that it is safe to return.
What Compensation Is Available?
Depending upon how you were affected by the oil spill, you may be eligible for financial compensation for the injuries or losses that you have incurred.
According to the Oil Pollution Act, the company that is responsible for an oil spill can be held financially accountable for all related losses suffered by individuals and businesses.
Those who suffer injuries or adverse health complications may be eligible for compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- And more
If your business was harmed because of the Orange County oil spill, you may be eligible for compensation for the following losses:
- Lost revenue
- Mortgage or rent/lease payments
- Business loan payments
- Property repairs
- Relocation costs
These are all losses that may be covered by most business interruption insurance policies. However, having coverage does not always mean that an insurance company will pay out claims. Especially in the wake of large scale disasters, insurance companies are notorious for acting in bad faith when dealing with their policyholders. An attorney can help make sure that your valid claim is paid.
As previously mentioned, Federal law makes oil companies financially responsible for the oil spills that they cause. If an investigation finds that Amplify Energy is responsible for the oil spill, you may also be eligible for financial compensation through a lawsuit or class action against Amplify Energy. If the investigation determines that another party or corporation is fully or partially liable for the spill, they may be held financially responsible as well. Financial responsibility in this case means that the company will have to pay for victims’ injuries, property damage, medical bills, business losses and other damages associated with the catastrophe.
You May Be Eligible for Financial Compensation | Contact Us Today for Help
Don’t deal with the negative impact of this disaster alone. If you were injured or your business was affected by the Orange County oil spill, contact our attorneys at Bentley & More LLP for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. We understand how significantly an oil spill can impact victims and are committed to helping our clients recover.