The state of California has seen many years of drought in the past decade, creating dry, fire-prone conditions. The combination of these conditions and the negligence of utilities has led to many destructive wildfires. We handle cases involving the following:
A California wildfire lawyer can help if you were injured, suffered property damage, or had to evacuate due to a California wildfire started by a utility company. You may be eligible for financial compensation in a California wildfire lawsuit.
Contingency Fee Representation
We operate on a contingency fee basis. This means we only charge a fee for our representation if we obtain a recovery for you. Our services are free if we don’t obtain financial compensation for you. We only charge a small portion of your recovery as our fee, and only if we obtain a recovery for you.
At Nadrich & Cohen, we want to make sure every California citizen has a chance to fight for justice after a wildfire. We work on a contingency fee basis so everyone can afford the effective legal representation they need to recover compensation. That way, they can pay for a new home, replace lost property, cover medical bills and evacuation expenses, and get back their financial stability.
How a California Wildfire Lawyer Can Help Your Wildfire Claim
The team at Nadrich & Cohen can help you navigate the complex legal system for wildfire claims. Here’s what we’ll do for you and your family:
- Gather evidence of your damages and losses
- Investigate the cause of the wildfire and determine whether it was caused by a utility company’s negligence
- Handle all communications with insurance companies and negligent utility companies
- Recover losses not covered by insurance coverage or losses not covered due to lack of adequate insurance
- Consult industry experts, including doctors, property appraisers, and construction professionals, to determine the actual cost of your losses
- Negotiate a settlement or take your case to court to maximize your claim
Nadrich & Cohen is based locally in California, and we have years of experience holding negligent utilities, like Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), accountable for wildfire incidents. You can work with a local California wildfire lawyer who has your best interests at heart.
California Wildfire Lawsuit Recoveries
There is a surprising amount of damages fire victims can be financially compensated for in a California wildfire claim. These damages include:
- Home and property repair or replacement costs
- Loss of a rental home
- Evacuation-related expenses
- Belongings and personal property lost to a wildfire
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Injury or wrongful death
- Depreciation of value of land
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Lost crops
- Damaged trees, timber, or underwood
- Business losses
- Harmed or lost pets or livestock
- Business interruption
Even when you possess homeowner’s insurance, that may not be adequate to cover all of your losses. Sadly, many victims of fires discover that after they repair or reconstruct their property, the money from the insurance company won’t fully pay for their damages, such as the cost to rebuild their home or replace their landscaping and personal property. Many times, the cost to replace everything is double or triple the amount of money you receive from your insurance policy.
While we can help you recover economic damages which are underinsured, we can also help you recover uninsured damages, including destroyed crops, landscaping and vegetation, which we have successfully recovered for victims of previous fires.
How Much Compensation Can I Get for My California Wildfire Claim?
The amount of compensation you can recover depends on the type of damage, the scope of the damage, and other losses, like personal injury or wrongful death. The team at Nadrich & Cohen will consider many factors when calculating your damages, including:
- Your income and how evacuation and displacement impacted your earnings
- Your medical records and medical claims
- The value of your home, property, and belongings before the wildfire
- The costs of repairing or replacing property
While you may have seen news of settlements worth billions of dollars, we cannot determine the value of your California wildfire claim until we review the specifics of your case. That’s why we offer free case evaluations, so you can find out how much you’re entitled to without any risk.
Frequently Asked Questions About California Wildfire Lawsuits
We know you have many questions about your California wildfire case. We offer free consultations to all victims of California wildfires so you can learn your legal options for recovering compensation. But until we can meet, we’ll answer some common questions many fire victims ask right now:
Can I File a Wildlife Lawsuit If I’m a Renter?
Yes. Losing your home is a traumatic and expensive experience, regardless of whether you own it, and it is still something you can be financially compensated for. You can also be compensated for any belongings or personal property lost in your rental home.
Can I File a Wildlife Lawsuit If I’m Uninsured?
Yes. We represent all victims of wildfires that were started by the negligence of others. We obtain our clients financial compensation from the negligent parties who start California wildfires.
Do I Need Documents to Prove I Lost Everything?
They help, but no. Just having to evacuate the fire alone may enable you to file a wildfire claim with us.
How Long do I Have to File a Claim?
According to Assembly Bill No. 2594, you now have two years from the date of the wildfire causing damage or injury to file a claim. Previously, California law only provided one year, but now victims have two years to gather evidence, seek legal counsel, and file claims to recover compensation. This two-year timeframe includes claims with an insurance company and against a negligent party, such as a utility company that caused the wildfire.
A California wildfire lawyer from Nadrich & Cohen can help you understand how the statute of limitations applies to your wildfire claim.
How Long Will My California Wildfire Case Take?
A California wildfire claim can take months to resolve with your insurance company, depending on the scope of the damage. If we pursue a case against a negligent utility company, this process could take many months and up to a few years. But this process can help you recover the best possible settlement and get the money you need to rebuild or repair your home, pay costly medical bills, and more.
What Can I Do to Help My California Wildfire Case?
There are many steps you can take once you and your family are safe and you are able to return to your property. Follow these steps to help us build your claim with your insurance company or case against a negligent utility company:
- Contact your insurance company right away. You should notify your insurance company of the wildfire and start your claim. You should request a copy of your insurance policy and review your limits. Save all records of communication between you and your insurance company.
- Track all your living expenses. If you have just evacuated, keep track of all your expenses, from preparation supplies to living expenses away from home. If you cannot go back to your home, track all your housing, food, clothing, and other living expenses during this period, too.
- Make a list of all damaged property. When you return to your property, track all the property damage you can, like damage to your home, vehicles, land, and belongings within your home. Take photos or videos of the damage, too.
- Document other losses, like injury and wrongful death. If you or a loved one suffered an injury during a wildfire or while evacuating, keep all medical bills and health insurance claims to document these losses.
- Call a California wildfire lawyer. Reach out to Nadrich & Cohen as soon as you can. We can help you gather evidence, file your claims, and ensure that your insurance company upholds its end of the policy. They may try to undermine your claim, but we won’t let them. We can also investigate if you have a claim against a negligent utility company and begin that claims process, too.
California Wildfire Law
California’s constitution mandates that owners of property be compensated justly when their property is damaged for public use. California courts have ruled that this applies to property damaged by wildfires that a private or public utility starts in California. This concept is known as inverse condemnation.
Many fires are started due to negligence, which is the failure to be reasonably careful in order to prevent harm from happening. Several recent California wildfires appear to have started due to utilities failing to adequately maintain their equipment and the vegetation surrounding it.
State Codes We Can Use to Provide Negligence in Your Wildfire Claim
Public Utilities Code § 2106 holds utilities liable for any harm caused by their failure to obey the law. Failing to adequately maintain power equipment and the vegetation around it constitutes a violation of several orders and codes.
Health & Safety Code § 13007 holds anyone who lets a fire start and spread to another person’s property liable to the property owner for fire damages.
Our wildfire attorneys can help you obtain financial compensation for your damaged or lost property and more based on the above laws and others if you are a victim of a California wildfire.
State Taxes Lifted for Some Wildfire Settlements – Bills Introduced to Lift Federal Taxes
Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1249 on September 29, 2022. This bill made it so wildfire settlements through the Fire Victim Trust regarding the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fire are exempt from state taxes.
While California wildfire settlements are still subject to federal taxes, two bills introduced in Congress may change that. Congressmen Doug LaMalfa and Mike Thompson introduced H.R.7305 in March 2022. The bill, if passed, would allow for qualifying wildfire settlements to be excluded from federal taxpayers’ gross income and would allow for court costs and attorney fees related to qualifying wildfires to be deducted from federal taxpayers’ gross income. Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a companion bill to the Senate, S.4666, in July 2022.
Why Do I Need A California Wildfire Lawyer?
A lot of people are under the mistaken belief they can represent themselves in a wildfire lawsuit. However, these lawsuits can be complicated due to countless factors, especially when they involve huge corporations like PG&E who can afford many expensive lawyers. If you don’t have legal experience and training, you won’t have the resources, energy or time to represent yourself while you recover from your post-wildfire economic damages and/or injuries. This is why you need to call us today for a free consultation so we can represent you.
A lot of fire victims who suffered destroyed or damaged homes and economic losses also discover that their insurance claims are denied by insurance companies. While fire protection is offered by many providers of insurance, insurance companies typically specify what kinds of fires are covered and what kinds of fires are not. California faces extreme wildfire risk, so a lot of insurers won’t cover damage from wildfires in the state and instead might only provide coverage for cooking disasters or appliance explosions. The California wildfire attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen assist wildfire victims with understanding insurance coverage and dealing with insurance adjusters
Our California wildfire lawyers will be your advocates and strongest allies when you face property damage or other losses related to a wildfire. With a lawyer, you posses the chance to file a claim if investigations determine a utility company caused a fire. If you file a lawsuit against a responsible company after suffering damages in a wildfire, you can obtain resources which can assist you and your loved ones in recovering from the fire.
Get a Free Legal Consultation Today
Let us hold the utilities responsible for their negligence. You don’t deserve to live with the consequences, but you do deserve justice. Whether you need help filing a claim with your insurance company or filing a lawsuit against a negligent utility company, the experienced wildfire lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen are here for you.
We are actively retaining California wildfire victims, including Northern California residents, Southern California residents or residents of any other part of the state. Our California wildfire team has already retained thousands of wildfire victims. Call a wildfire attorney at Nadrich & Cohen now for a free consultation if you were injured or had property damaged in a California wildfire. You might be entitled to financial compensation.