Thousands of California citizens are under evacuation orders as the Dixie Fire burns through wilderness north of Sacramento.
One of several serious wildfires currently throughout the state, the Dixie Fire has burned across over 900,000 acres of Northern California land.
Thankfully, the fire is now 52% contained, but there is still much work to be done. The fire wiped out the valley’s largest town, Greenville on Aug. 4 and has damaged at least 1,100 buildings and businesses, including 630 homes.
Pacific Gas and Electric recently announced that a PG&E utility pole with blown fuses may have started the fire, which has now grown to be the second largest fire in California history.
If you have suffered losses from a fire, Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel, LLP, is here to help. We have handled thousands of claims for victims of preventable wildfires, including wildfires caused by PG&E. We will work with you to help determine how you should be compensated for your losses in this tragedy.
Did PG&E cause the Dixie Fire?
PG&E filed a preliminary report to the California Public Utilities Commission that suggested a utility pole might have sparked the Dixie Fire now raging through Butte, Plumas, and Tehama counties.
According to the company, a utility worker saw a PG&E utility pole with potentially blown fuses, but could not access the pole immediately. He was able to access the pole 10 hours later and noticed that a fire had started nearby.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said there’s “very little doubt” that power equipment operated by PG&E helped start the fire. Describing the circumstances that sparked the Dixie blaze, Ramsey recently told North State Public Radio, “there was a tree into a line, a 12,000-volt line that came down the hill on the opposite side of the Cresta Dam in the Feather River Canyon. And the fire started under that line.”
It is still possible that PG & E may deny liability or at least deny negligence for the fire, but it is becoming harder and harder for PG & E to concede liability and pass along the settlement costs to its insurance company and ratepayers.
However, PG&E also agreed to continue to cooperate with a California state investigation into the fire, which could take between six months to one year to complete.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a preventable fire’s origin may be linked to the utility company:
- Last year’s Zogg Fire burned across 56,000-acres and killed four people, and the utility company reached a $12 million settlement with two of the affected counties.
- In the case of the Camp Fire of 2018, which was also a direct result of PG&E’s negligence, PG&E pleaded guilty last year to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
- 2019’s Kincaid Fire also led to criminal charges for PG&E after the fire damaged and destroyed more than 400 buildings and injured firefighters.
Types of compensation in a preventable fire lawsuit
Dixie Fire victims can receive compensation for their losses. California homeowners and business owners alike will be able to file claims against the party or parties responsible for the fire after fault has been determined.
Compensation claims can include:
- Damage to your home
- Damage to your business property
- Damage to your ranch lands, equipment, or timber
- Business disruption
- Lost income or living expenses
- Emotional distress
- Personal injury
- Wrongful death
- Evacuation costs
If PG&E is found responsible for causing the Dixie Fire, you will want to work with an experienced fire damage law firm to ensure you receive compensation for any and all of your losses.
What about my fire insurance?
Even if your insurance policy includes wildfire coverage, there may be other damages not included in your policy.
In the case of the Dixie Fire, thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.
Unfortunately, many of these evacuees have met with continuing hardships on the road, as well. People who evacuated from Plumas County and went to stay at a shelter in Lassen were forced without notice to leave for a shelter in Portola at the threat of citations and even arrest.
When evacuees do not lose their home to the flames, they may be under the impression that they will not have an injury claim. On the contrary, an experienced California fire damage attorney can work to help them receive compensation for their evacuation costs and emotional distress.
Additionally, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara authored a bill while serving in the Senate that requires a mandatory one-year moratorium on insurance companies cancelling or non-renewing residential insurance policies in certain areas. The Department of Insurance has partnered with CAL-FIRE and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to identify wildfire perimeters and adjacent ZIP codes within the mandatory moratorium areas.
This one-year protection applies to all residential policyholders within the affected areas for wildfires in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Contact Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel to learn more.
Why hire Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel?
Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel has represented thousands of people whose lives have been disrupted by preventable fires.
In recent years, we have been trusted by over 1,600 people to represent them in relation to fires caused by PG&E. We have been active in forcing PG&E to create a $13.5 billion fund to compensate fire victims, and we have handled thousands of claims against PG&E for victims of preventable wildfires.
When we take on a wildfire case, we conduct an investigation — while working with the authorities — to determine if the fire was, in fact, caused by the negligent acts of a person or entity:
- We gather evidence to show how the at-fault party acted negligently, and how that carelessness led to the fire.
- We gather evidence of the losses our client has already faced, and we demonstrate, through economic projections, the loss in profit or income our client and their family will suffer as a result of the fire damage.
We then present this evidence to the at-fault party and attempt to negotiate a fair resolution. If the at-fault party does not accept our demand, we will take the case to court.
Contact a California fire damages attorney today
Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel has built a reputation for handling the most complex and high-stakes personal injury lawsuits involving wildfires. If you have suffered due to the Dixie Fire, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We won’t charge you for a confidential consultation, and we would be happy to discuss how to get the assistance you and your family need.