OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – Fishermen and business owners stung by a summer of lost revenue from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have until Wednesday to file their compensation claims for short-term damages, and then they have to ask themselves: Do I feel lucky?
The next step in the process is a final settlement offer, but to accept it, they will have to give up the right to sue BP.
The fund's czar, attorney Kenneth Feinberg, says he will be offering "generous" settlement checks with the goal of keeping people out of court, but they don't have to accept the offer now. Fishermen, for instance, can wait and see if the industry recovers or takes more of a nose dive.
But if they do, they may be offered less later. Feinberg says if things aren't as bad as feared, his final offer won't be so generous.