For more than 100 years, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Company has served as a utility company for California communities. Unfortunately, its negligent conduct over the years has resulted in regulatory complaints and civil lawsuits.
As of June 2022, PG&E faces two lawsuits regarding the Dixie Fire. Two hundred people are represented in this legal action, with more expected to join. If you were affected by the Dixie Fire or any other fire in California, you may be able to hold PG&E accountable for your resulting damages.
An Overview of the Dixie Fires
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) discovered that PG&E wires sparked a fire that scorched more than 960,000 acres in Northern California from July to October 2021.
Later, CAL FIRE found out that PG&E neglected their duty of care to maintain trees and other vegetation around the wires. This combination of exposed wires and dry vegetation led to this devastating fire.
As a result, the fire killed one firefighter, and injured others. The affected cities were left with billions of dollars in property damage.
Filing a Dixie Fire Lawsuit Against PG&E
Victims of the Dixie Fire started filing lawsuits in September 2021. So far, 200 people and six counties (Lassen, Plumas, Butte, Sonoma, Shasta, and Tehama Counties) have taken action, and they are encouraging other victims to join the fight.
Per SFist, in April 2022, PG&E agreed to pay out $55 million in civil penalties after its negligence led to the Dixie Fire and Kincade Fire in 2019. The company decided to settle at this amount to avoid criminal penalties.
Even with these recent settlements, you and other victims can still pursue damages for your losses. As more people realize the extent of their losses, the battle with PG&E is far from over.
Potential Damages You Can Seek in a Lawsuit Against PG&E
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According to CONS § 1.19, victims of a fire can seek compensation if a utility company’s negligence resulted in their damages. If you decide to take legal action against PG&E, you have a couple of different options for filing suit. One of them is multidistrict litigation (MDL), also known as a mass tort.
In MDL, claimants file their lawsuits individually before they are consolidated into one and presented before a judge. Our firm represents those who wish to pursue damages this way. Still, it may be difficult to identify which legal route is most suitable for your situation, but an attorney can determine your eligibility and review your losses. They may find that you qualify to recover compensation for:
- Past and future medical care bills
- Lost income, benefits, and business opportunities
- Reduced earning power
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage or loss
If you lost a loved one to the fire or they develop a terminal illness as a result of the fire, you may seek wrongful death compensation.
Other Wildfire Lawsuits Against PG&E
Without question, the primary legal issue facing PG&E surrounds their liability for a series of California wildfires. The liability from these fires was so severe that it pushed the company into bankruptcy.
Other fires PG&E were responsible for are:
Butte Fire (2015)
According to the Sacramento Bee, a fire sparked from a PG&E powerline and got in contact with a tree. The fire spread over 70,000 acres in Calaveras and Amador Counties, killed two people, and burned almost 100 structures.
Camp Fire (2018)
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The Camp Fire was the deadliest fire in state history and caused catastrophic losses across multiple communities. According to The Union, the death toll from these fires reached at least 84. In addition to the deaths, the fire leveled much of Paradise, California, including the destruction of nearly 19,000 buildings.
PG&E not only faced civil lawsuits from this fire but criminal charges as well. The company pled guilty to 84 charges of manslaughter as well as a charge of unlawfully starting a fire after admitting their faulty power lines were to blame.
The company has settled for more than $1 billion in the lawsuits that municipal governments have filed. A portion of this money will also cover those affected by the Butte fires.
2019 Kincade Fires
Issues surrounding widespread fires were not fully resolved even when PG&E reached a $1 billion settlement with various municipal governments that ultimately sent them into bankruptcy. Immediately after exiting an 18-month bankruptcy, the company faced more lawsuits for its role in causing the 2019 Kincade fires.
The LA Times reported that in October 2019, fires broke out in Kincade that ultimately destroyed nearly 400 structures and over 77,000 acres of land. The evacuation from these fires impacted hundreds of thousands of people. Despite the scope of the fire, it did not result in any fatal injuries.
PG&E acknowledged from the beginning that they were likely at fault. Investigations showed that the fire likely stemmed from a failed PG&E transmission line in Sonoma County, California. Numerous individuals and property owners also joined together to file a lawsuit against PG&E based on the Kincade fire. These lawsuits alleged that the company knew of the high risk of a fire but failed to take precautions to prevent one.
Talk to a Dixie Fire Attorney About Your Lawsuit Against PG&E Today
If you believe you have a claim against PG&E after suffering from the Dixie Fire, now is the time to seek legal counsel. Our lawyers can determine if you qualify to join a lawsuit or begin your own against PG&E. What’s more, the company has exited bankruptcy, making it possible to pursue new claims against the company.
Reach out to Nadrich & Cohen today to learn more in a free consultation. We won’t charge any upfront costs and only collect a fee if we obtain compensation for you.