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Can I Sue PG&E for Vandalism and Looting During a Wildfire?

Yes. PG&E is responsible for allowing dozens of California wildfires to start. They must be held financially liable for your injuries and damages. They can also be held responsible for the damage looters and vandals do.

California courts have found Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) accountable for every hardship the victims of certain wildfires have faced. This can include the cost of evacuation and even the emotional damages such a frightening escape from a massive wildfire can cause.

Unfortunately, disasters can bring out the worst in people. Some can take advantage of such a difficult period and seek to loot and vandalize property causing wildfire victims to lose even more than they already have. Victims should also hold PG&E accountable for these heartbreaking losses.

California Wildfire Looting Dangers

Wildfires often send homeowners and families fleeing for their lives with little time to react and gather their possessions. Law enforcement can enforce evacuations to allow firefighters to more easily battle the blaze. While honest victims stay away to let firefighter do their jobs, others who don’t care about obeying the law can take advantage.

They can break into homes and sift through people’s possessions to see what’s valuable. They may even enjoy doing a little vandalism to the items they don’t care to steal. It’s a sad fact of wildfire recovery.

KCRA was one of the news outlets to report on several looters being arrested in Butte County during the Camp Fire of 2018. One suspect has a pickup truck piled high with suspected looted items from properties evacuated due to the fire.  The Camp Fire has been blamed on a faulty piece of equipment on a PG&E electrical tower.

More recently, authorities had to patrol neighborhoods affected by the Mosquito Fire that burned through Placer and El Dorado Counties. ABC10 News reported on a burglary arrest of someone accused of posing as a power company employee. PG&E equipment is suspected of sparking the fire.

Holding PG&E Responsible for Wildfire Looting

Investigators have found that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) business practices contributed to the start of over 30 wildfires in California since 2017. These fires caused injuries and tragic deaths. They’ve also forced families out of their homes and off their property.

While residents flee for their lives, they are often unable to defend their homes and valuables from those who arrive to take advantage of empty homes and towns.

PG&E was forced to create a Fire Victim Trust and put over $5 billion and stock into it. It’s intended to help the victims of the 2015 Butte Fires, the 2017 North Bay Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fires. Funds have been made available to the victims of a few other more recent fires too.

For the victims of other wildfires caused by PG&E’s negligence, victims have been successful in filing individual lawsuits to seek help from the utility company.

Compensation Available for California Wildfire Victims

Victims of all of these fires have sought money to help pay to rebuild destroyed homes and to pay for the replacement of keepsakes and household goods. People have also received money to pay for hospital bills. Their income lost while being unable to work has also been refunded. Even the physical pain and emotional trauma victims must cope with should earn compensation.

The harm that looters and vandals do is just another damage caused by wildfires and by association is the fault of PG&E. A lawsuit can seek the full value of those items stolen or damaged by criminals in the aftermath of a wildfire.

There will always be some lost keepsakes that no amount of money can replace. But families who have been victimized by wildfires, a negligent utility company, and looters must seek justice. That can include financial compensation so that victims have what they need to rebuild their lives and build for the future.

Getting Help After a California Wildfire

Families need to be aware of every benefit available to them through a claim or lawsuit filed against PG&E.  Unfortunately, PG&E will have corporate lawyers and insurance adjusters trying to convince families that their losses, including looting damage, aren’t all that important.

Families should have a California Wildfire & Utilities Claim Lawyer at their side throughout the claims process and potential lawsuits. Your lawyer protects your rights and makes sure your family has the support they need for the future.

Contact Maison Law for a free consultation no matter where you live in California. Our wildfire case reviews are confidential and come with no obligation. If you decide we can help you earn more for your injuries and damages after a wildfire, you won’t need to have any upfront money to hire us. We don’t get paid unless we win your case for you. Then our fee comes out of the wildfire settlement money or court judgment you are awarded.

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