Why Choose Reiner, Slaughter, & Frankel?
We are a community-established law firm fighting for over 40 years for clients injured in all sorts of personal injury events that were not their fault, including auto accidents, premise liability cases, product liability actions, and wildfires.
We have collected over $600 million for our clients, taking 98 percent of those cases to trial. We stay in constant contact with every client throughout the process to keep them updated on what’s going on and to resolve their cases efficiently to get compensation for injuries or damages sooner rather than later.
If a wildfire injured you or damaged your home or other property, you do not need to have the added stress of trying to collect compensation from your insurance company or an at-fault party. We understand the complexities that can arise from filing claims. As a result, we can lessen the time it takes to pay your medical bills, structure, and property damage repair bills, or both. In addition, you can rely on us to compassionately advocate to get any compensation you qualify for.
Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel in Redding is at 2851 Park Marina Dr. Ste 200. We’re located in the Riverbridge office building, next to the Riverside Eyecare Professionals and a few blocks from the Cypress Square Shopping Center. You can reach our offices by taking Exit 677 on the I5 and going west on Cypress Avenue or Exit 1 on Route 44 and turning left on Sundial Bridge Drive.
In addition to worrying about the injuries and damages that you may suffer if you’re in the path of a wildfire, you’ll also have to worry about whether your insurance coverage limits will fully compensate you for damages or whether the insurance companies will cancel policies if you are in or immediately adjacent to the sites of significant fires.
In addition to wildfire insurance claims filed for the Butte Fire and the North Bay Fire events, wildfire damage claims topped $12 billion from the Camp Fire event.
Insurance companies sued PG&E for about $20 billion after paying claims to wildfire victims when they suspected that PG&E’s faulty transmission lines caused all these fires. The insurance companies received $11 billion to compensate for claims, far short of their request.
Unfortunately, these wildfires have resulted in an insurance crisis for businesses and homeowners, making buying and renewing insurance policies and filing claims more difficult for those near or in a burn zone. There have been laws created to mitigate the worries that claimants may have. Still, it may not be enough, especially if there is no one at fault for a wildfire, perhaps caused by lightning, in which to pursue a lawsuit.
Because of the complexities that the insurance crisis has caused regarding wildfires, you’ll want to seek the advice of an attorney to navigate these complexities and figure out what compensation for damages you qualify for. The total amount you get will depend on your insurance coverage and if we can hold any third parties responsible for what happened.
Our attorneys can determine who to seek your compensation from and negotiate or file suit with the appropriate parties to get you the compensation owed.
Wildfires Have Been Relentless for California Counties in Recent Years
The Dixie Fire consumed 963,309 acres and 1,311 structures in Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta, and Tehama counties. Because of this, the Dixie Fire was listed as the second-largest California wildfire and the 14th most destructive wildfire by the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection.
State fire officials investigated the fire’s cause and determined that a decaying tree fell on electrical distribution lines owned and operated by PG&E, sparking the fire.
According to ABC10 news outlet, PG&E had a legal duty to cut and trim decaying trees that could threaten the power lines. In addition, when the fire started, they took too long to take action to stop the spread of the fire.
This incident was not the first time PG&E’s negligence resulted in wildfires. They admitted to liability through settlements and guilty pleas for other wildfires, such as the Zogg Fire and Camp Fire. However, in the case of the Dixie Fire, prosecutors elected to accept a monetary settlement instead of a criminal conviction.
How Wildfires Can Devastate Redding Residents?
Wildfires cause devastation to property and significant disruption to California residents’ lives, physically, financially, and emotionally. While 30 million homes are at risk from wildfire consumption, 775,000 homes are in areas of extreme risk because metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Diego are in the top three areas that fall under this category.
Homes or businesses that aren’t destroyed by fire can also suffer water and smoke damage, adding to repair costs. In addition, you must figure out damages for any personal property or vehicles you may have lost. The possibilities regarding what kind of health and financial outcomes can stem from a wildfire are endless.
Examples of economic consequences that you may need to be compensated for include:
- Residential property destruction and homelessness costs
- Business property destruction that results in business interruption, loss of equipment, machinery, and inventory costs
- Workplace property destruction resulting in loss of income to you as an employee
- Personal property and vehicles costs
- Medical bills
Health and medical issues arising from wildfire events can be short-term or long-lasting. Even when homes are not in high to extreme-risk areas, poor and hazardous air quality can impact homes not in these areas.
Pollution and poor air quality can affect the long-term health of residents, even those not threatened by the destruction of fire. Pollution caused by wildfires can impact the most vulnerable residents, such as children, pregnant women, and seniors. Whether it’s a minor or disabling condition, it will still cost money to resolve, requiring compensation.
Some examples of health issues that result from wildfires are:
- Respiratory problems like COPD or asthma
- Cardiovascular issues like heart attacks and strokes
- Injuries due to falling, running, or jumping
- Auto accident injuries caused by fleeing wildfire hotspots or smoke blindness
- Mental health and emotional well-being
Pain and suffering and the loss of income because of these health issues can be compensated too. If a wildfire causes fatalities, you can also file a wrongful death claim.
Wildfire victims can also experience emotional tolls when threatened with a wildfire or having to evacuate. Disruption and uncertainty sometimes make it difficult to cope. The uncertainty of ever returning home, reaching a safe location, or staying in unfamiliar, uncomfortable environments can contribute to these emotional tolls.
You may have to overcome a sense of loss, grief, trauma, or all three when seeing homes and communities burn to the ground. When you consult with an attorney, they can advise you on what types of compensation you may qualify for and then fight for those damages.
We Fight Insurance Companies and Negligent Corporations to Get Compensation
When you decide to proceed with your case, we go to work. We accept the challenge on your behalf to investigate the wildfire circumstances and what types of compensation you may be eligible for. It’s our job to collect evidence from expert witnesses, eyewitnesses, and other sources to prove that the compensation we are asking for you is fair and just.
While negotiating with insurance companies, we must prove the dollar amount of the damages with documentation. We must also remind the insurance company that if the damages you suffered are in the confines of the insurance contract, they must pay you for them if those damages occur.
In investigating an alleged at-fault party, we must provide specific criteria to determine the degree of negligence and liability in contributing to the wildfire.
In the case of PG&E and the Dixie Fire, investigation results and evidence had to prove whether the utility negligently started the fire or could have mitigated the damages but failed to do so by answering the following questions:
- Did the fire result from PG&E’s equipment?
- Did PG&E commit actions to cause the fire or fail to act to prevent a fire?
- Was there negligence or illegalities conducted by PG&E that contributed to damages?
Sometimes, negligence doesn’t cause wildfires, but they may result from Mother Nature in the form of lightning. In this case, we would have to battle with your insurance company to help you get adequately compensated.
Once we complete the investigation and the evidentiary leg work, we go toe to toe with the negligent party, such as a big corporation like PG&E or an insurance company, to negotiate a fair settlement for you.
Of course, big corporations and insurance companies will do everything possible to hold onto their money. But, at the same time, it’s our job to fight and get you the compensation you deserve, even if that means going to trial.
What Can You Do After Fleeing a Wildfire?
An attorney needs to have enough evidence to prove your claims. You can help with this process in several ways. Itemizing the damages you must recover is the first thing to do. Next, assess any property damage and take photos or videos for visual evidence. Next, determine the items’ condition and estimate the repair and replacement cost. Finally, collecting receipts or proof of payments for lost property and any insurance policies you have will make your claim stronger.
See a medical professional to make sure that you did not incur any injuries while in the presence of a wildfire or during the evacuation process. Strictly follow any treatment course they advise. Also, see a medical professional if pollution and poor air quality from a wildfire are present where you live. The medical professionals will document any injuries or adverse effects that you may be experiencing in your medical records.
Keeping a journal while memories of the event are still fresh in your mind will be helpful in the accuracy of your testimony as to the who, when, what, why, and how of events.
For example, you may want to document what types of injuries you or others had incurred, what caused the injuries, the timeline of events, and who was involved during the event or rescue. Any detail might help to follow up while gathering evidence during the investigation. Keep writing in the journal throughout your medical treatments and attempts to repair damages.
In addition to journaling, keep all receipts related to injury treatments and any structure or property damage repairs. The receipts will provide a more accurate picture of your eligible compensation and provide proof for the insurance company during negotiations. In addition, obtaining reports from state and local fire officials will lend eyewitness accounts of the damages you suffered and if there was a possible at-fault party.
Once you have collected the documents, contact our Redding wildfire lawsuit lawyers for your free consultation.
If you’re diligent in keeping records, this can make the compensation collection process more efficient. If not, we can collect the documents for you. Contact our injury law firm in Redding today at (530) 241-0290 after any Redding area wildfire damages your property or injures you.
Once our Redding wildfire lawsuit lawyers have all the information we need to make your claim more substantial, we can start the process of getting the compensation you need.
Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel – Redding Office
2851 Park Marina Drive, Suite 200,
Redding, CA 96001
Phone: (530) 241-0290