The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

BP Has Bad Gas: Lawsuits Filed Over Broken-Down Cars

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Foul fuel is to blame for a rash of clogged cars, reports the Chicago Tribune. A flood of cars in Northwest Indiana were pushed and towed to service stations for clogged fuel systems. The culprit, it seems, was dirty gas produced by British Petroleum's Whiting refinery.

BP has already made efforts to minimize the damage by recalling 2.1 million gallons of gas. Contaminated fuel has been traced to stations in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, though the vast majority of the damaged vehicles are in Lake County, Ind.

If you purchased any of the filthy fuel, here are the recommended steps:

  • Topped off? Add fuel cleaner and fresh gas.
  • Full tank? Your car probably isn't running. Get your fuel system flushed by a mechanic. BP is reimbursing claims.
  • Call (800) 333-3991 to reach BP's customer hotline. There have been reports of long wait times, so be prepared.

Of course, even with BP setting up a claims line, there will still be lawsuits filed. Actually, there already have been lawsuits filed. Us lawyers wait for no one.

Mass-distributed defective products that cause damage are one of the major categories of class-action lawsuits. Though BP is probably going to help most people with the cost of fuel-flushing, lawsuits can help in those extreme cases in which the gas caused considerable damage or a claim is denied. Instead of having each of these claims litigated one by one, the cases can all be combined into one mega-suit.

The extent of the damage, however, is unclear. One supposes it will depend on how stingy BP gets with the repair funds. So far, the company seems to be covering all of the damage it's caused. One wonders, however, about lost business for BP gas stations, the lost work time for those who bought the grimy gasoline, and cases where more severe damage like a broken fuel pump occurred. Those parties, and of course their lawyers, will stand to benefit the most from a class-action lawsuit.

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