Friday, September 10, 2010

Is BP (NYSE:BP) Compensation Fund the Way to Go?

There's a lot of chatter going on about whether or not individuals and businesses should accept what is offered from the BP (NYSE:BP) compensation fund or go forward with a lawsuit.

Several things have to be considered in order to make a educated decision.

The first in relationship to time. Starting in November, permanent settlements will be offered, and for individuals they'll be able to get it almost immediately, while businesses will have to wait a little longer.

For lawsuits, they could go on for many years, and individuals and small businesses especially, will have to make a decision on whether or not it's worth the long wait for something that isn't guaranteed.

That leads to the second point, which is if someone qualifies for the claims from the BP escrow fund, they are guaranteed what they are offered. With a lawsuit, there is no guarantee they'll even win, let alone get a payment.

And if someone does win, will the amount justify the lawyer fees, which should run around 30 percent of the award? It would have to be a big award to make it worthwhile.

Some people are making it complex by trying to figure out what they may miss out on if certain scenarios emerge in the future.

For example, questions are being asked as to how much economic damage has really been done, and if the fisheries will return to where they were before the oil spill.

The problem there is nobody knows the future. To base a decision on something that may not be known for years, isn't a decision at all, but a rolling of the dice.

People and businesses would be better off taking the money now and then forget about the rest. How does it help if time is spent trying to extract every penny out of the situation?

If people and businesses qualify for and accept the claims, they can get on with their lives and businesses and start to put things back together again.

Extending the pain and stress in hopes of getting more money, in most cases, won't be successful, and will waste too many years of our lives.

For most people the best choice is to go the route of the fund and get on with their lives. Life is too short to take five or ten years out of it pursuing money that may never come our way, and if it does, will be paid out to lawyers. That makes no sense.

It could be said that BP and others are responsible and should have to pay. And that's correct. But there is no way anyone, including all the people administering the BP compensation fund, to project out into the future what will happen and take every possible scenario into account to pay out a perfect amount. It's not humanly possible.

So to accept what is considered a fair amount is about the best that can humanly be done, and anything above that is an exercise in futility.

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