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First phase of BP oil spill trial draws to a close

Three years have passed but the saga of the BP oil spill continues. The civil trial to determine negligence has been in session since February 25, 2013. The offshore accident is recorded as America's worst environmental disaster.

The civil suit centers around determining if the actions of BP should be classified as gross negligence or willful misconduct. Gross negligence would multiply the Clean Water Act penalties to a whopping four fold increase. New Orleans federal court has been the site for testimony from a variety of BP officials. BP seeks to limit its liability by pointing the finger at other contractors that provided services for the Deepwater Horizon rig prior to the accident.

Contractors like Halliburton and Transocean have been targeted by the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee to increase the damages that will be paid.

Generally, ship owners and companies that employ workers offshore are responsible for the safety of their workers. The Jones Act allows crew members to file claims for compensation if their injury is caused by the negligence of the owner, master or fellow crew members. Here in the BP oil spill, 11 workers were killed in the accident. The British oil giant must answer for their deaths.

Whether involved in a large disaster such as this one or a smaller incident, it is important that maritime workers seek legal counsel when injured. Whether a rigger, seaman or engineer the law requires that your employer pay for medical and basic living expenses while recovering from an injury. An attorney that specializes in admiralty can ensure that injured workers get the compensation owed by law.

Source: www.nola.com, "Testimony in first phase of BP oil spill trial nearing completion," Richard Thompson, April 17, 2013

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