No one should have to recover from the devastating consequences of a wildfire on their own. Whether you’ve been displaced from your home, had to evacuate, lost your business, or lost a loved one to a fire, there are ways to help you recover fair compensation for your losses.
If your fire damage was the result of the negligence of a person or entity, you may be able to seek compensation from the person or entity responsible by seeking to hold them liable in civil court.
Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel has represented thousands of clients who have lost their homes, businesses, and property to California wildfires. In recent years, we have been trusted by over 1,600 people to represent them in relation to preventable fires.
Here is what our experienced fire damage attorneys would tell you that you need to know about fire damage lawsuits.
Establishing liability in a wild fire case
In a lawsuit to recover damages associated with a wildfire, the party bringing the lawsuit is responsible for proving that the defendant’s actions caused a preventable fire, and that fire caused the damages you’re claiming.
Scenarios where a person or entity could be held liable for causing a fire include:
- Intentional arson
- An individual dropping a lit cigarette in dry grass
- A power company improperly maintaining their power lines which in turn cause a fire (ex: PG&E)
- A landowner burning crops in an uncontrolled way that causes the fire to spread
In the case of most California wildfires, State authorities will conduct an investigation into the causes of the fire, but it’s a good idea for those who have suffered as a result of the fire to conduct a separate investigation, as well.
These kinds of investigations can be done with the help of a fire damage attorney, who can then present this evidence to a jury and establish liability for the fire.
Personal injury and wrongful death in a wild fire case
In the tragic case of injury or death as the result of a fire, victims can potentially recover any of the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning ability
- Recovery and rehabilitation expenses
- Pain and suffering
Alternatively, if you lost a loved one to a fire, you can recover compensation by filing a wrongful death suit. Plaintiffs in wrongful death suits can potentially recover any of the following compensation for the victim’s family:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
Wrongful death suits are usually filed by the victim’s spouse, children, or parents, or by anyone financially dependent on the victim.
Lost homes and businesses
More commonly, people who have been the victim of a fire suffered damage to their property. In these cases, you can recover compensation for the following:
- Damage to your home
- Damage to your business property
- Damage to your ranch lands or equipment
- Business disruption
- Relocation or temporary housing costs
- Lost income or living expenses
- Emotional distress
Once liability for the fire is established, we would then demonstrate the extent of your losses, and justify why you need to be compensated. An experienced fire damage attorney can help you gather evidence to support your claim and present it effectively.
Why hire an experienced fire damage attorney? In the case of the recent Dixie Fire, thousands of people were forced to evacuate from their homes. These people may be unaware that even if they did not lose their homes in the fire, they may still have a claim not covered by their insurance.
In fact, an experienced California fire damage attorney can work to help people who have had to evacuate from the Dixie Fire receive compensation for their evacuation costs and emotional distress even if their homes or businesses did not in fact burn.
Contact Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel today
At Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel, we have represented thousands of clients who have suffered due to preventable wildfires. 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. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and talk about your case.