Like you, I have been saddened and appalled by the recent oil spill disaster caused by BP. Now, the unthinkable has happened as tar balls have started washing up on our beautiful Florida beaches and oil has been spotted mere miles from our shore. The Gulf is the lifeblood of this region, both economically and environmentally, and, unfortunately, BP has forever changed our community.
The ripple effects are just only now being felt. First, it was the families who rely on the Gulf for their daily work. Now the economic damage has moved onshore. As the number of visitors to the Gulf has been dramatically reduced, every sector of our economy has suffered. From hotels, condominium owners, restaurants and all the different boating businesses to the hardworking Floridians who keep these businesses running, no one seems to be able to escape the oil's reach.
Under federal and Florida law, anyone who is economically or physically affected by the oil spill can recover damages. While BP has initiated a claims process, I have heard from many people who are frustrated with that process and do not feel they are being treated fairly. As of now, the details of the $20 billion escrow fund have not been fully announced. But it is clear that economists, accountants and other experts will be crucial in presenting claims and receiving full compensation for your losses.
A number of attorneys and law firms have come to our area seeking clients, and I am grateful that so many want to help. As a longtime resident of this community, I want to make sure that we receive the best representation we can. To that end, I am working with a group of attorneys from across Florida and the country to handle claims and any litigation that must be filed against BP if those claims are not paid in full.