Focused on getting our clients the compensation they need...

The Support You Need. The Settlement You Deserve.

California Wildfire & Utility Claim Lawyer

Maison Law represents homeowners who have lost their homes in wildfires caused by negligent California utility companies. We also represent injured victims and stand up for the rights of families who have lost loved ones in these wildfires. Our personal injury lawyers go to work immediately to hold power companies like PG&E responsible for damages and tragedies that result from their carelessness. Please contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a real California lawyer and find out how to hold utility companies fully accountable for your hardships.

Do I Need a Lawyer After Suffering Harm in a California Wildfire?

A lawsuit filed over wildfire damage and injuries can be complex. Your lawyer would be helping you determine every party that might be held accountable for what you’ve been through. Your lawyer then fully investigates the fire, the cause, and the companies that contributed to it.

Your injury or property damage claim will likely put you up against large insurance companies and teams of corporate lawyers. Insurance adjusters and company lawyers are all paid to find ways to limit the wildfire compensation you receive or convince you that you aren’t owed anything at all.

Your California Wildfire Claim attorney is your safeguard when taking on giant corporations and government entities. At Maison Law, we aren’t afraid to stand up to major companies and government departments to make sure fire victims are fairly treated.

California Wildfire Dangers

Many California residents love living here and wouldn’t live anywhere else. They love the weather, the mountains, the coast, the beautiful cities, and the people. Unfortunately, the threat of natural disasters is a continual risk for those who call California home. A dry climate can lead to massive wildfires that put residents across California in danger.

The Insurance Information Institute (iii) found that in 2021, California led all states in the number of fires documented (9,260) and the number of acres burned (2,233,666). Texas was second in number of fires at 5,576 incidents. Oregon was second on the list of acres burned, losing 828,777 acres for the year.

The economic toll for victims and the State of California is enormous. This is a look at the dollar damage compiled by CalMatters. Dollar damage considers the economic losses for property and contents due to things like fire, smoke, and water.

California wildfire victims endured 12 billion in property losses in 2017.

Even in years with fewer fires, thousands of people suffer life-changing losses. Families are uprooted from their homes and their lifestyles. Victims are injured and some lose their lives to wildfires. Victims and their families need to know they don’t have to rebuild their lives alone. They can ask for help from parties responsible for fires and a wildfire lawyer can often help them maximize the support they receive.

What Causes California Wildfires?

Lightning sparks many wildfires, but some fires have man-made sources. Arsonists and their unthinkable actions are responsible for some fires. Careless people starting campfires or shooting off fireworks are sometimes to blame. People working with tools and equipment often accidentally start massive blazes.

Power and Gas companies, like Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), can allow wildfires to erupt when they don’t maintain their substations properly. Power lines can end up on the ground during high winds. Unsafe gas pipelines can erupt and cause massive blazes.

If an individual’s, a government department’s, or a utility company’s carelessness led to a fire that caused property damage, injury, or the loss of life, you would have the legal right to seek compensation. A skilled California lawyer with Maison Law helps you understand your rights as a victim and makes sure you receive what you need to rebuild your life.

Some of the Most Recent and Biggest California Wildfires

2022 was a relatively quiet year for wildfires and 2023 appears to be following suit. But CalMatters reports that as of 2022, half of the state’s 20 largest fires had occurred over the previous five years. Seven occurred in 2020 and 2021.

These are just a few of the biggest wildfires that have destroyed communities and claimed lives across California:

  • Camp Fire” – In November of 2018, The Camp Fire erupted in Butte County in Northern California caused by a faulty power transmission line. The fire caused more damage than any wildfire in California history and claimed the most lives. At least 85 people were tragically killed and 12 civilians and five firefighters suffered injury. The fire eventually burned 153,336 acres and decimated over 18,000 structures.
  • “Tubbs Fire” – This fire, part of a series of wildfires in Northern California at the time, caused devastation in parts of Napa, Sonoma, and Lake Counties in October of 2017. It burned almost 36,000 acres and claimed at least 22 victims. Investigators determined the fire started in a private residential electrical system, but PG&E later agreed to pay victims compensation. This was the most destructive wildfire in state history until a year later when the Camp Fire occurred.
  • Butte Fire” — The Butte Fire sparked when a tree fell on a PG&E line in September of 2015 in Amador County. The fire burned 70,000 acres and destroyed 365 homes. At least two civilian lives were believed to have been lost in the blaze.
  • Dixie Fire” – A fire that began in July of 2021 in Butte County and raged into October. It started when a tree fell on PG&E Power Lines. It burned 963,309 acres and became the biggest single fire in California history. It damaged around 600 residential structures. Three firefighters were injured fighting the blaze and one firefighter contracted COVID-19 while fighting the fires and died.
  • “August Complex Fires” — The August Complex wildfires started as 38 separate fires sparked by lightning strikes in August 2020. Those fires spanned Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity Counties. They burned over one million acres with 935 structures destroyed. One firefighter was killed while fighting the fire. Two firefighters were seriously injured.
  • “Mendocino Complex Fires” – This wildfire included the Ranch Fire and the River Fire burning across Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, and Glenn Counties in July of 2018. In all, the fire consumed 460,000 acres. The Mendocino Complex Fires destroyed 280 structures and caused three injuries and at least one death. One of the original fires was caused by a spark from a farmer striking a hammer against a metal stake.

KCRA-TV reports that PG&E has faced responsibility for over 30 wildfires since 2017. Those fires are blamed for the destruction of 23,000 homes and businesses. They claimed more than 100 victims, injuring hundreds of others.

Settlements for California Wildfire Victims

As you may have heard, PG&E filed for bankruptcy in a plan that was approved in 2020. As part of the deal, the California energy giant pleaded guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and paid $4 million in penalties.

Thankfully, the bankruptcy also spawned the creation of the Fire Victim Trust. It’s funded with PG&E money and stock and is meant to help the victims of the Butte Fires, the North Bay Fires, and the Camp Fires. As of November 2023, over 18 billion has been awarded to victims out of the Fire Victims Trust. Almost 60,000 victims have benefited from the financial support.

The creation of the trust has paved the way for other payouts to the victims of other fires caused by aging PG&G infrastructure and equipment.

If you are eligible to seek support from the Fire Victim Trust, it’s still a good idea to have an experienced California lawyer representing your case. Not every victim is awarded the same amount of support from the trust. Your lawyer will be working to list all of your losses and secure the maximum in compensation available.

To clear up any confusion, wildfire victims in recent years and moving forward may not be eligible to draw from the Fire Victim Trust when seeking compensation. However, victims of more recent wildfires or pipeline explosions are empowered to file individual lawsuits against PG&E and other utilities found to have contributed to fires.

Wildfire victims must not face this important task alone. Victims should allow Maison Law representatives to build strong cases that can’t be questioned by unhelpful insurance adjusters and corporate lawyers. Having a lawyer on your case also helps make sure your hardships receive attention among the hundreds of lawsuits one wildfire may spawn.

Your Maison Law attorney fully investigates your experience throughout a wildfire’s rampage and also looks into the behavior of companies like PG&E.  Your attorney will be examining the response from California’s wildlife management agencies. It’s possible that government agents didn’t respond quickly enough to your fire or knew about a risk and didn’t warn you. Your attorney documents all evidence to make sure you have a strong case to present to those at fault for your wildfire damages.

Compensation Available for Wildfire Victims

Unfortunately, wildfire victims looking for help in rebuilding will usually be disappointed by what their homeowners insurance representative has to tell them. Homeowners policies rarely provide enough to completely rebuild a burned-down home or replace every personal item that was lost.

However, when power companies like PG&E cause wildfires, the worry of rebuilding residences and lives shouldn’t be the concern of the victims. At-fault companies and state governmental departments should be fully responsible for helping victims recover financially.

A California wildfire personal injury lawyer will make sure every hardship clients have faced and will face after a fire is clearly listed in a fire claim. This is critical because anything left out of a lawsuit can end up as a cost a victim and the victim’s family would have to pay out of pocket.

Of course, families traumatized by man-made disasters will have more than just money issues to deal with. They may also have health issues and emotional trauma to overcome.

These are just a few of the things that can increase the size of a settlement check or judgment:

  • The costs to rebuild or repair a house, business property, and other buildings. Repair of smoke damage.
  • Support for agricultural harm. Damage to crops and loss of ranch animals.
  • Replacement of personal property like vehicles and keepsakes.
  • Compensation for the loss of property value.
  • Damage and losses caused by vandals and looters.
  • Costs not covered by a homeowners insurance policy.
  • Medical costs for injured victims. The lifelong costs for patients dealing with severe burns.
  • Emotional trauma caused by evacuating and wildfire and losing everything.
  • Costs incurred during evacuation. Living expenses while without a home.
  • Loss of income and benefits while victims must miss work.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do I Have to File a Wildfire Claim?

Two Years. Victims have up to two years after a wildfire to file for damages and any injuries or loss of life. Certain funds set up for wildfire victims will be kept open longer. Check with a skilled attorney to make sure you don’t miss deadlines.

Can my family seek compensation from PG&E if we lose a loved one in a wildfire?

Yes. California empowers families struck by tragedy to file wrongful death claims. This claim seeks help with funeral costs and leftover medical expenses. Relatives should also seek support for the future when the deceased will no longer be able to offer financial support.

What can I do to strengthen my wildfire claim against a utility company after a wildfire?

Once your property is safe to visit, document the damage with pictures and video. Keep evidence of the wildfire’s destruction. Don’t throw away damaged items. Keep all documents and receipts that show the cost of finding a place to live and rebuilding your life. Keep your medical bills.

Contact a California Wildfires Lawyer

Wildfires can destroy people’s lives in ways that few other disasters can. Evacuees can flee for their lives and later learn they have no home to return to. Power and utility companies must be held responsible for their negligence and even their policies that put California residents at life-threatening risk every year.

If you or a loved one are injured or lose your home and property to a wildfire caused by human mistake, speak to a California utility fire lawyer. We aren’t afraid to take on gigantic power companies and government agencies to secure our clients what they need to heal and rebuild after a fire.

Contact Maison Law for a free consultation no matter where you live in California. Our case reviews are confidential and come with no obligation. If you decide we can help you earn more for your injuries and damages, 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 settlement money you are awarded.

Additional Resources:

How to sue PG&E for property damage after fire in California

How to sue PG&E for injuries after fire in California

How to sue PG&E for business losses after fire in California

How to sue PG&E for wrongful deaths caused by fires in California

Can I Sue Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for Damages Caused by Safety Shutdown?

What to do if homeowners insurance doesn’t cover all losses from PG&E fires

Can you include the costs of evacuation in a claim against PG&E?

Can I Sue for PG&E Wildfire Damages that my Home Insurance Won’t Cover?

Wineries damaged in PG&E fires

Retail stores damaged in PG&E fires

Can I Sue PG&E for Wildfire Damages After They Went Bankrupt?

Can I Sue PG&E for Wildfires Damages Caused by Looters?

What If I Lost My Car to a Wildfire?

Wildfire Injuries

Call Now Button