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For those “tuned in” to the BP Settlement discussion, you may be aware that a big deadline is coming up on November 1. This is the date that the Court has set for “opting out” of the BP Settlement. The decision about whether or not to opt out of the settlement is not one that should be taken lightly by potential claimants and if you haven’t already, now is definitely the time to explore the pros and cons of participating in the BP Settlement.

While the BP Settlement is intentionally designed to cover the economic loss and property damage situations that the vast majority of Gulf Coast residents and businesses found themselves in after the 2010 oil spill, it simply can’t cover every single situation. For example, the Settlement bases much of its calculations on the assumption that businesses suffered their losses in 2010. But some businesses may have seen their losses come a little bit later, in which case it may be worthwhile to consider opting out.

What happens if you do opt out? It means that the terms of the Settlement will not apply to you and you will be free to pursue your own legal proceedings against BP. And that’s why opting out should not be taken lightly. The overwhelming majority of businesses and individuals stand to benefit significantly from the Settlement—while at the same time avoiding their own lengthy litigation and (potentially) negotiation with BP. As complex as the claims process may seem, it provides claimants with a clear framework for presenting their losses and seeking recovery.

At the same time, it is important to remember that if you choose not to opt out and you are eligible to participate in the Settlement, participation requires action on your part. Recovery isn’t automatic, but requires you to submit a claim to the Settlement Program before April of 2014.

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