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Louisiana Insurance Litigation Blog

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Settlement

These FAQs provide general information regarding the Agreement-in-Principle reached on March 2, 2012 between the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and BP. It is important to keep in mind that:

The Parties to the Agreement-in-Principle are attempting to complete a final Settlement Agreement to be submitted to the Court by April 16, 2012. Details are still being completed by the Parties for inclusion in the final Settlement Agreement. If the Parties are able to timely complete the final Settlement Agreement and it receives preliminary approval from the Court, then a detailed, court-approved notice program will be initiated and detailed information about the final Settlement Agreement will be available for class members.

These FAQ s summarize aspects of the Agreement-in-Principle. They are not a complete discussion of that Agreement. The information in these FAQs may be subject to change based upon the terms of the final Settlement Agreement, if it is reached by the Parties.

This FAQ is preliminary, subject to change, and is not approved by the Court. THIS FAQ IS DRAFTED BY THE MDL 2179 PLAINTIFFS’ STEERING COMMITTEE.

The Class

Q. Who will be included in the Medical Benefits Settlement Agreement Class?
A. Three categories of individuals will be included in the Medical Benefits Settlement Class:

1. Clean Up Workers 2. Certain Zone A Residents 3. Zone B Residents
Q. Who will not be included in the Medical Benefits Settlement Agreement Class?
A. Persons who opt out of the Medical Benefits Settlement; BP employees;
Persons who were on the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010; persons who previously asserted and released personal injury claims related to the oil spill; and Zone A and B residents (who are not clean-up workers) who worked in the oil and gas industry for more than five years will not be included in the Medical Benefits Settlement Class.

Q. Who are Zone A Residents?
A. Zone A Residents are individuals who resided within approximately one-half mile of specified “beach” coastal areas (i.e., areas with sandy beach or firm shoreline) along the Gulf Coast for at least 60 days between April 20, 2010, and September 30, 2010, and who developed a Specified Physical Condition. Zone A includes Grand Isle in Louisiana, as well as certain areas along the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle.

Q. Who are Zone B Residents?
A. Zone B Residents are individuals who resided within approximately one mile of specified wetland coastal areas (i.e., areas with marshy, swampy or water-saturated shoreline) along the Gulf Coast for at least 60 days between April 20, 2010, and December 31, 2010. Zone B includes much of the Louisiana coast as well as certain areas along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama.

Q Who are Clean-Up Workers?
A. Clean-up workers are individuals who were employed in the Deepwater Horizon Spill response activities, including persons employed to perform response activities onshore and offshore, persons involved in the decontamination of vessels involved in response activities, and persons who decontaminated wildlife as part of the response activities.

Benefits

Q. What benefits will be provided under the Medical Benefits Settlement?
A. Benefits provided for under the Medical Benefits Settlement are:
Creation of a compensation program for “Specified Physical Conditions” Creation of a “Periodic Medical Consultation Program” Provision of a back-end litigation option for Later-Manifested Physical Conditions Creation of a Gulf Region Health Outreach Program.

Compensation Program

Q. Who will be eligible for compensation under the compensation program for Specified Physical Conditions?
A. Medical benefits settlement class members who have had and/or currently have one or more Specified Physical Condition within specified timeframes after exposure to oil and/or dispersants would be eligible to apply for compensation.

Q. What conditions or symptoms are Specified Physical Conditions?
A. Specified Physical Conditions are divided into acute (i.e., conditions and symptoms that were short term and no longer exist) and chronic (i.e., conditions still existing at the time of settlement). Categories of compensable conditions include certain respiratory, gastrointestinal, eye, skin and neurophysiological, such as dizziness, headaches, fainting, conditions.