Companies throughout the Bay area could soon be seeing a payout as a result of the BP oil spill.

B.P. could pay out millions, even billions, of dollars to area companies but the catch is, those companies must know they’re eligible and then file a claim.

These companies don’t even need to sit on the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, they can be landlocked and nowhere near the water.

“All they have to do is have a drop in revenues in a three month period in 2010 and then an upturn in revenues in 2011, they’re going to qualify,” said Tampa attorney Kevin McLean of Abrahamson and Uiterwyk’s BP Gulf Spill Department.

One of those local companies includes Internet Market Association of Seffner where business is booming these days, selling products like daycare furniture and sports equipment online and then shipping them out from their Seffner location.

When we asked Louis Bergeron how far his business is from the Gulf, he said, “Well, we’re in Seffner, Florida so we’re 30 miles from the Gulf.”

Thirty miles away and still eligible?  Yes.  Back when the spill created a natural and economic disaster in 2010, the Gulf Coast economy spiraled downward and fast, and Bergeron could only watch as his business went south.

When asked how bad it got, Bergeron said, “I think it got as bad as, we probably lost 40 percent of our business.”

Bergeron said that figure makes up his yearly loss but those three months certainly played a major factor in losing profits.

“We cut a lot of things,” he said.  “We had six or seven cubicles and a lot of employees, several other employees, but we let them go.

So how do companies like Bergeron’s qualify?

Companies in most of the Bay area counties qualify, except, McLean says, for Polk and Citrus.

In return for lost revenue, BP will past out lost revenues plus as much as four times the company’s loss.

That payout, McLean says, is uncapped.

“There’s an estimate that there will be 800,000 businesses that are eligible if, and they won’t all file claims but if they did, BP’s going to pay every one of them.”

Lou Bergeron had no idea he could be eligible and now that he’s found out and filed his paperwork, he’s hopeful that he’ll get back what he lost and possibly more.

“So if they’re putting it out there and I’m eligible for it, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t go get it as a businessman,” Bergeron said.

A lot of the money will likely go unclaimed simply because people don’t know they’re eligible and so they’ll never file a claim, McLean says.

The deadline to file this type of claim is April, 2014.

Claims that are deemed eligible will be paid approximately five months after they were filed.

Still, companies can be rejected if they don’t meet the requirements.

For more information on meeting those requirements, log on to