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How to Sue PG&E for Property Damage After a Fire in California

Maison Law represents homeowners who have lost their homes and property to wildfires caused by negligent California utility companies like PG&E. Our personal injury lawyers go to work immediately to hold power companies 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 PG&E fully accountable for your hardships.

Wildfire Dangers Caused by PG&E Negligence

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has been blamed for causing dozens of wildfires over the past several years. Investigators say the utility company failed to safely maintain and upgrade its power grid. They failed to replace old equipment, prepare power lines for bad weather and high winds, and remove dangerous trees before they could fall on power lines.

This negligence is thought to have sparked over 30 wildfires since 2017, causing billions of dollars in damage and tragically claiming over 100 lives. PG&E was hit with criminal and civil penalties for their carelessness. The lawsuits that followed sent the utilities company into bankruptcy.

The Fire Victim Trust was established out of that bankruptcy. It created a fund of PG&E earnings and stock to help the victims of the 2015 Butte Fires, the 2017 North Bay Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fires.

Victims of more recent fires, like 2021’s Dixie Fire, will likely need to file individual lawsuits to earn compensation for their property that’s been lost. In either case, it’s important for victims to have a California Wildfire & Utilities Claim Lawyer handling their case. PG&E can afford corporate lawyers to cast doubt on each claim you make. You should have a skilled lawyer protecting your rights and making sure you receive every benefit available.

The Process of Suing PG&E Over Wildfire Property Damage

Before you can hold PG&E liable for their negligence, you’ll need to know what your homeowners or renter’s insurance will cover. You may need to rebuild part of your house. You could require a complete teardown to build a new home from scratch. There will be possessions ruined by smoke or water.

All of these damages and more will have to be included in an insurance claim. Whether your insurance will replace everything the wildfire took will be another story.

Filing a Claim with Your Homeowners Insurance Provider

Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t have enough homeowners insurance coverage to pay for the entire cost of rebuilding their homes. That’s why filing a lawsuit against PG&E will be crucial for families to have a chance to recover financially and avoid bankruptcy.

But before you ask a utility giant for money, you’ll be waiting to see how much of your damages your homeowners or renter’s insurance will reimburse you for. The final award could fall far short of the money you need to rebuild and replace your property and possessions. Business owners, including farmers and winery owners, may not get enough support from their commercial fire insurers to open their doors again.

If you do receive support, the insurance company may also be holding PG&E accountable. In some cases, your insurance provider may file a claim against PG&E to earn reimbursement for the benefits they’ve had to pay out.

Filing A Wildfire Lawsuit Against Pacific Gas and Electric

After a wildfire, the losses that aren’t covered by insurance should fall to the individual, company, or government entity that contributed to the cause of the blaze. Victims shouldn’t be responsible for a cent of their damages. This includes the gap between what homeowners insurance covers and the true damage totals that families suffer.

For more recent fires not covered in the Fire Victim Trust, you’ll be filing claims against PG&E’s commercial liability insurance provider. The goal is to secure a fair settlement from insurance adjusters that helps you regain 100% of what you lost.

Your wildfire lawyer first makes sure every hardship you and your family have suffered, physically, emotionally, and financially is included in your claim and backed with evidence. This is critical because any damage left off is something insurers can ignore and you’d have to pay out of your own savings. Your lawyer then uses well-practiced negotiation skills to secure the maximum in compensation possible for your family.

If PG&E offers you an unacceptable amount, your Maison Law attorney rejects it and demands more. If you are still being treated unfairly, your lawyer represents the threat of a lawsuit and a trial. PG&E will work hard to please you with a wildfire settlement check in the hopes of avoiding the costs of a trial and the bad publicity. However, your lawyer will have strong evidence prepared if your case must be presented to a judge and jury.

If you are eligible to seek support from the Fire Victim Trust, you will be filing a claim with the trust administrators. 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.

Compensation Available for Wildfire Property Damage Victims

California wildfires leave some victims with severe injuries. The recovery costs for patients should be the full responsibility of PG&E. In the most tragic cases, families lose loved ones in wildfires. Those families are permitted to seek wrongful death benefits from PG&E’s insurers.

Even survivors who escape injury can have their lives turned upside down in an instant. They can lose their homes and all of their worldly possessions. The devastating consequences of fires will lead to financial turmoil and replacing family heirlooms can be almost impossible.

When families seek to earn reimbursement, they’ll be asking for compensation for these and other property damage losses:

  • The costs to rebuild or repair a house, business property, and other buildings. Repair of smoke and water damage.
  • Support for damage to crops and loss of ranch animals.
  • Replacement of possessions, including cars, furniture, valuables, 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.
  • Costs incurred during evacuation. Living Expenses while without a home.
  • Loss of income and benefits while victims must miss work.

Victims should never have to fall behind on mortgage payments (perhaps for destroyed homes), car payments, credit card payments, and other regular monthly expenses while waiting for financial relief. A skilled wildfire accident lawyer works to secure fair compensation for affected families as soon as possible.

Contact a California Wildfires Lawyer

If you lose the property and possessions you’ve worked so hard for in a wildfire, don’t let PG&E off the hook. Speak to a California utility fire lawyer to discover what you should be demanding from insurance providers and how to make sure your family stays protected.

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 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 settlement money you are awarded.

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