Every year, millions of people in California are at risk of suffering significant damages because of disasters such as wildfires. These fires not only kill and result in devastating injuries, but they also destroy homes, properties, and businesses.
Can wildfire victims receive compensation in California? However, if you endured harm or losses because of one of these fires, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or damages. In the following post, we will go over how wildfire victims can receive compensation in California and how an experienced California wildfire lawyer can help you go after maximum monetary recovery following these devastating incidents.
Common Causes of Wildfires in California
Wildfire victims sometimes assume that their losses will be totally covered under their homeowner’s or business’s insurance policy. But far too often, insurance companies unreasonably deny these claims. Other times, the available insurance is not enough to cover the full extent of the damages suffered.
In such cases, hiring a personal injury attorney with experience representing wildfire victims is the best way to fight for compensation.
The attorneys at Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel have the experience, resources and skill to represent people who have sustained all types of catastrophic injuries, including:
- Unattended campfires
- Poor quality maintenance and repairs on utility power lines
- Failing to inspect utility power lines regularly
- Failing to install power lines properly and within state and federal regulations
- Equipment malfunction
- Burning debris
- Car fires
- Blown tires
- Failure to trim trees near power lines
However, regardless of how these fires start, the bottom line is that wildfires kill and destroy, and if you endured losses or injuries because of these fires, you may be entitled to compensation.
Luckily, with an experienced California wildfire attorney fighting for your rights, you will not have to figure out whether you can pursue this monetary recovery alone. Instead, these lawyers can evaluate the situation, determine if you have a viable claim, and help you go after the financial damages you deserve.
Damages and Injuries Resulting from a California Wildfire
Wildfires are dangerous and will usually result in catastrophic consequences. In fact, these wildfires can result in massive property damage and often lead to severe physical and emotional injuries.
Take, for example, the following losses:
These fires can cause:
- Home structural problems
- Agricultural and landscaping damages
- Damage to garages, sheds, and fences
- Damage to pools
- Damage to personal property, including electronics, appliances, and jewelry
- Damage to cars, motorcycles, and bikes
- Damage to businesses
Physical and Emotional Injuries
Additionally, these wildfires can cause the following physical and emotional injuries:
- Severe burns
- Deadly infections
- Bone fractures
- Facial disfigurement and eye injuries
- Lung problems
- Blast injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Chronic pain
- Mental distress
- Depression or anxiety
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Long-term disability
- Wrongful death
Even those who survive this disastrous ordeal may still have to deal with lifelong medical issues due to these injuries, which can result in extensive medical bills. As a result, if you suffered harm because of a California wildfire, you should consider reaching out to a knowledgeable California wildfire attorney, who can help you figure out the degree of your damages and assist you as you pursue the monetary recovery you need.
Dealing With the Insurance Company After a California Wildfire
Victims of a California wildfire often expect that their homeowner’s or business insurance will cover the losses and expenses that result from these devastating wildfires. However, this is not always the case. In truth, it is not uncommon for these insurance companies to deny these claims or provide compensation that does not fully cover the extent of the trauma that resulted.*
Why do they do this? Because insurers lose money when they pay out on a person’s claim. And because many people will be filing these claims at once following a wildfire, they are likely to lose a significant amount of money following this disaster. That is why even though you may have an insurance policy responsible for covering your losses after a California wildfire, these companies will likely not want to pay out on these claims.
Consequently, it may be a good idea to consult with an experienced California wildfire attorney following a wildfire. These legal professionals can not only prepare a thorough list of all your losses and damages, but they can figure out which available outlets you have to go after the maximum financial recovery you deserve.
Recovering Compensation After a California Wildfire
Outside of homeowner’s insurance, there are some other options that you can pursue to go after the money you need following a California wildfire. They include the following:
In some instances, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides federal disaster assistance to those impacted by wildfires. These grants can help pay for temporary housing as well as other expenses caused by these fires.
Filing a Third-Party Claim
Depending on the circumstances of the wildfire and the aftermath, you may also be able to hold the at-fault party responsible for starting the fire by filing a lawsuit. These suits can provide wildfire victims with financial relief that is even greater than their insurance coverage.
However, if you want to know whether you can pursue this third-party claim, you may want to speak with a knowledgeable California wildfire attorney who can review your case, figure out what types of damages they can seek, and, if needed, file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your losses.
Financial Damages You May Recover Following a California Wildfire
If you are able to pursue a lawsuit following a California wildfire, you may be able to fight for both economic and non-economic damages. These damages typically include:
Economic damages refer to payment for the easily quantifiable losses that result from an accident, such as a wildfire.
- Home replacement costs
- Damage to landscape and trees
- Damage to the contents of the home
- Additional living expenses
- Damage to ranch lands or equipment
- Business disruption
- Lost income or living expenses
Non- Economic Damages
These damages refer to compensation for the not-so-easily quantifiable losses that follow an accident, including payment for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of your property and things, including electronics, photos, and heirlooms
- Changes in your family’s standard of living
- Loss of community
- Loss of livelihood
- Trauma associated with fleeing from the wildfire
To figure out which monetary damages may apply to your case, you should consider reaching out to a California wildfire attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can review the facts of your case, determine which of these damages you can pursue, and help you go after the compensation you deserve.
The Steps to Take After a California Wildfire
While the scene after a California wildfire is chaotic and stressful, there are things you can do following this incident to help your legal claim and ensure you get the assistance you need. These steps include the following:
After this wildfire, you want to document everything, including all the correspondence you had with the insurance companies and the bills and receipts you have from everything you endured as a result of this incident, such as your hotel bills, copies of your medical bills and records, and any other receipts that you feel may apply to the situation.
Make a List of Your Losses
Following a California wildfire, you want to record all your losses, including everything the fire destroyed. This means you want to account for all your possessions and keep an inventory of all your damages. It is also important to keep in mind that the insurance company may ask for the date of purchase and cost related to these goods.
Get a Copy of the Fire Report
If there is one, or it is possible to obtain, you may want this report for your records, as it can help when you file your insurance claim. However, after a massive wildfire, the police may not have prepared a report.
Bring All Your Evidence to a California Wildfire Attorney
Finally, when you meet with a California wildfire attorney, you will want to bring them all the evidence and documents you have regarding this wildfire and your losses. These legal professionals can use this evidence to help prepare your legal case, take on the insurance company, and fight for maximum financial damages.
Losing a Loved One in a California Wildfire
However, if your loved one passed away in a California wildfire, you may recover monetary damages for wrongful death, including compensation for:
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of parental guidance and support
- Loss of spousal affection, care, and company
- Loss of the deceased’s employment benefits, wages, and future earnings
- Loss of the deceased’s household services and contributions
- The family’s mental anguish
- The deceased’s pain and suffering
- Related medical bills and property damage expenses
According to California’s wrongful death laws, surviving family members or the deceased’s estate can pursue damages when a person dies because of a wrongful death, regardless if this death was due to recklessness, negligence, or another person’s intentional actions.
More importantly, you will not have to fight for these financial damages alone. Instead, with an experienced California wildfire handling this legal claim on your behalf, you can have an experienced legal team going after the justice and monetary damages you and your loved ones need.
Affording an Attorney To Take On Your Case After a California Wildfire
Many people are often worried about working with a lawyer because of the costs involved. However, because most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, you will not have to worry about these costs.
A contingency fee is a form of payment that a lawyer obtains for their legal services. Under this fee arrangement, the attorney will only get paid if they are successful with your legal claim, or rather they will receive a percentage of the financial damages you win, whether that is from a trial verdict or a case settlement.
This also means that if the lawyer is not successful with your case and you do not receive any compensation, you will not have to pay these attorneys for the work done on your case. That is why if you believe you have a viable legal claim following a California wildfire, reach out to an experienced California wildfire attorney as soon as you can. You can rest assured that if you decide to work with these attorneys, you do not have to worry about paying them unless you win your case.
Reach out to an Experienced California Wildfire Attorney and Fight for the Monetary Damages You Need
In fact, once retained, these attorneys can investigate what happened, work with the authorities, and figure out if this fire was caused by the negligent actions of another person or entity.
In addition, these lawyers can:
- Gather the relevant evidence required to show how the responsible party acted negligently or recklessly and how their actions caused the fire.
- Figure out the extent of your financial damages, including the loss of your income and profits, and how your family suffered as a result of this fire.
- Handle the settlement negotiations and go after an amount that covers all your losses and expenses.
- Take your case to trial, and fight for maximum total damages, especially if the other side is not willing to provide you with the compensation you need.
As a victim of a California wildfire, you have enough going on. You should not have to worry about handling this legal process alone. That is why contact an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer today for a free case evaluation and find out how this legal team can help you and your claim.