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Businesses hesitating in filing claim from BP losses
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Businesses hesitating in filing claim from BP losses

It's not too late to file a claim for business losses resulting from the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the northwestern Gulf in 2010.

That's what I reported on for Tuesday's front page. A few days later, I had a conversation with Fort Myers-based attorney Frank J. Aloia Jr. about why businesses hesitate to act.

His firm, Aloia Roland Lubell & Morgan, has pursued BP-related claims on behalf of lawyers, doctors, accountants, architects and many others.

Here are two of the misconceptions Aloia sees that hold people back:

• Filing a claim is costly in both time and money.

Not true, Aloia said: "If you have Quick Books and you file your taxes every year, in most instances you have all the information you need."

Although some folks arrive at his law offices "literally, with shoe boxes of financial records," more people have digital records they can assemble and submit to his office in an hour or less.

Attorneys work on a contingency basis in this arena. That means they'd earn a percentage of whatever BP compensation is awarded.

"If you do not qualify," Aloia said, "we give you your stuff back, and you owe us nothing."

• It is unseemly for a business join a class-action suit.

"Business owners tend to be more fiscally and politically conservative," Aloia noted. Filing a business-claim makes them "feel yucky" he said.

He reminds business owners and operators that if they aren't filing a Business Economic Loss claim against BP, their competitors likely are.

And, those rivals will be the ones with the money, Aloia said, "to buy more advertising, to staff-up, to be more competitive."

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