Legal analyst Tim Meche said with many billions of dollars at stake it doesn't mean a settlement couldn't still be reached.
''The fact that they're making statements doesn't mean ultimately it's going to trial, it just means both sides are jockeying for position,'' said Meche.
Listen to legal analyst Tim Meche:
Still, Meche acknowledges that this could become a long and drawn-out case, with many experts on oil drilling taking the stand. Meche said the main question is, was BP grossly negligent?
''And if they're found to be, the damages would be tripled," he said.
BP pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a deal they struck with the government, to the tune of $4.5 billion. In London today, the company's general counsel, Rupert Bondy, said BP is ready to fight back against allegations of gross negligence.