CAL FIRE investigators recently found Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) liable for causing the Dixie Fire, the second-largest fire in California history. Separate investigations found PG&E responsible for several other large wildfires, including the 2019 Kincade Fire in Sonoma County.
As part of a settlement agreement, PG&E has agreed to pay $55 million in penalties and injury claims. The amount you could recover will be based on the specific damages you suffered.
PG&E Settlement for the Dixie Fire
The Dixie fire destroyed more than 960,000 acres after a tree contacted PG&E’s power lines west of Cresta Dam. PG&E agreed to pay $55 million in penalties and benefits, including nearly $330,000 in criminal fines.
The settlement means PG&E can avoid filing bankruptcy, which could have delayed compensation and benefits for those affected by the Dixie fire. Unfortunately, many victims did not have homeowners, renters, general liability, or any other insurance to protect them from the financial harm caused by the wildfire.
How Do I Claim Compensation from the PG&E Settlement?
To recover compensation from the PG&E settlement, you might want to reach out to a Dixie Fire attorney to discuss the circumstances of your case. Generally, if you purchased property or fire insurance, you would start by filing a claim with your insurance company. Your lawyer can review your policy’s details to ensure that you qualify for coverage for your fire damage.
However, if you did not have insurance or your coverage does not adequately meet your needs, you can move forward with a claim against PG&E for some of your remaining damages. Your attorney can provide a better idea of what to expect from your case during a free initial case evaluation.
What Damages Could You Recover?
You have the right to be repaid for every single loss you suffered because of the Dixie fire. These could include economic (financial) and noneconomic (intangible) damages. Some commonly awarded economic and noneconomic damages you could recoup in your claim include:
- Costs of evacuation and relocating
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of income
- Current and future medical expenses related to your injuries
- Depreciation of land value
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Business losses
- Crop losses
- Damage to trees or timber
- Loss or harm to your pets or livestock
Your insurance policy will cover some of these losses, but others will not. Generally, insurance companies will cover specific property damage and medical expenses outlined in your policy, but nothing more.
Therefore, your insurance will not cover any other losses you suffered. So, if you hope to get the most out of your claim, you should prepare yourself to bring your case to court to maximize your compensation.
What You Can Expect From the Insurance Company
Dealing with the insurance company is one of the most difficult elements of the Dixie Fire claims process. First, you must come prepared with a detailed list of your inventory, personal property, possessions, and other losses for which you seek compensation. If you have proof of the value of these items, this evidence can go a long way in getting the insurance company to compensate you fairly.
It is difficult to say whether the insurance company will fully cover your damages. You can expect them to attempt to reduce your payout by arguing exorbitant labor costs, excessive rebuilding fees, and exaggerating the impact of the Dixie Fire on you physically, emotionally, and financially.
Fortunately, your attorney will be prepared to handle the insurance company on your behalf. We can step in and negotiate with the insurer to ensure they assess liability accurately and value your damages accordingly. This way, you hold the insurance company accountable for its financial obligation.
How to Handle Any Delays in Dixie Fire Compensation
If the insurance company attempts to delay the processing of your claim or denies benefits that are rightfully yours, your attorney with our firm will be prepared to move forward with a civil suit against the insurer. This legal action will be in addition to the civil claim you file against PG&E, whether as part of its Direct Payments for Community Recovery program or a lawsuit.
Contact a Dixie Fire Lawyer for Help Today
When you are ready to move forward with your Dixie fire claim and want to learn how much you might get in the PG&E lawsuit, reach out to a Dixie fire lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen.
Schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation today when you call our office or fill out our convenient contact form.