Today, opening arguments got underway in the civil trial against oil giant BP over the 2010 disaster that devastated America’s Gulf Coast.

The case seeks to prove that BP and its partners were grossly negligent. Most thought BP would have settled the case before going to trial. According to the New York Times, there is a potential deal on the table which would cost BP $16 billion.

Judge Napolitano

explained the legal aspects of the case. If BP is found to be negligent, it will pay $1100 per barrel spilled, or $4.5 billion. If it is found to be grossly negligent, it’ll pay $4300 per barrel, or $17.5 billion.

According to the judge, the figures were established by a statute enacted by Congress.

He explained the difference between negligence and gross negligence, saying, “You drive your car 40 miles an hour in a 25 mile an hour zone, that’s negligence. You drive your car 80 miles an hour in a 25 mile an hour zone, that’s gross negligence. It has to do with how much you avoided the duty you have to preserve the asset and to keep the people that work for you and the property around you safe.”

Napolitano doesn’t think the case will last much longer, “I happen to think the case will settle by the end of this week.”