TAMPA - Tom Raad is Vice President of Lair Services Inc., a business that manages IT services for its clients.
Back in 2010, the business was successful and growing. That spring, BP's oil began gushing from a pipe on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.
"It was tough. We really didn't know what was going to happen. Didn't know where the next sale was going to come from. It really changed the dynamic of how we operated," explained Raad.
Many business owners, both small and large, might not even be aware that there's a $20 billion fund for those who successfully file a claim.
"They're saying, 'we admit it, we hurt the economy so bad. We caused this,'" said consumer lawyer Eric Seidel.
BP agreed to the $20 billion fund in May in an effort to limit the flood of lawsuits.
"They're capping their damages now and saying look, if you had damages between the time of the spill and the end of that year, we agree we caused it, we're going to pay for it," Seidel remarked.
Whether you're a valet, own a coffee shop, bridal shop, gas station or any other business, you may qualify for settlement money.
Lair Services had clients like restaurants and other service providers that saw business drop off after the spill.
"During that period, we could have had ten employees, and at one point in time we were down to four," recalled Raad.
Here's the reason why you might want to check it out -- businesses don't need to prove the spill caused the loss of business, only that income was lost during the spill period.
From the panhandle to Key West, scores of businesses stand to benefit.
"We're hoping that we're entitled to some sort of dollar amount because of the impact that was suffered," said Raad.
Visit http://www.deepwaterhorizonsettlements.com/ to find out more.
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Four boaters were rescued from water off Egmont Key as their boat burned Sunday afternoon, according to the US Coast Guard.