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If you live or work in the Gulf Coast, you may feel a little overwhelmed by all of the promotion of the BP Settlement that is on its way to final approval this Fall. But that promotion is for good reason: the BP Settlement means an unlimited amount of recovery money is available, but only if people who were affected know how to request it. That was the message that I had for Gulf Coast residents when I was interviewed on WFLA News Channel 8 in Tampa earlier this week.

Of course not every claim will result in a large payment. While many claims will be paid, many will also be rejected. You will not qualify if you were not affected. That said, it is important for potential claimants to consider the ripple effect that the oil spill had on the entire economy of the Gulf Coast. In the wake of the spill, the message that was received across the country was “Don’t come to our beaches.” That had an impact not just on businesses directly engaged in tourism, but to virtually every business in the Gulf Coast: doctors, veterinarians, accountants, chiropractors, restaurants, retailers, and the list goes on and on. The bottom line is that when individuals in the Gulf Coast started losing their jobs or income, they tightened their spending and the entire region suffered.

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