How to File a California Wildfire Lawsuit
The state of California is not a stranger to wildfires. There have already been 1,392 fires in 2023.
Living on the west coast has a lot of advantages, but the wildfires can't be ignored.
Thousands of people are affected by these fires every year. Many of them don't know what to do after sustaining wildfire damages.
We are here to change that. Our goal is to educate you on what to do after a disaster and the steps you need to take to file a wildfire lawsuit.
Below, you will read everything you need to know. Don't wait to prepare yourself, read on!
After a wildfire, you should gather as much evidence as you can. This will help you build a strong case.
You'll want to take photos and videos, document any witness accounts, or weather data, and be sure to keep a record of any communication you’ve had with the responsible party.
If possible, start the documentation process right away or as soon as he can. If you were injured or hospitalized and unable to take the photos yourself, have a friend or neighbor do it for you.
The same thing is true if you were out of town when the incident happened. You should keep a record of all your medical bills, as well.
Compensation in wildfire claims can vary depending on how extensive the damage is, which is why it's so crucial to document everything.
Types of Damages
Property loss is one of the most common types of damage from a wildfire. This could include your home being partially or fully destroyed.
As well as all your possessions that have monetary value or sentimental value. It’s likely that you’ll have smoke damage in your home and your furniture will need to be replaced.
You can also be compensated for financial loss or loss of income.
When you think of wildfire injuries, people also often think of burns. While this is common, there are a lot of other physical injuries that are possible. You could sustain muscle damage, ligament damage, scarring, respiratory system damage, and even permanent disability.
Consult a Wildfire Lawyer
A wildfire lawsuit is not as straightforward as you may think. There are a lot of steps to take and paperwork to fill out. After getting medical care and documenting everything, the next step is to talk to a lawyer.
Determine the Responsible Party
Together, you and your lawyer will determine who the responsible party is. This step is crucial even if you have insurance.
Often times insurance policies don’t cover the extent of the damage. In that case, you will have to file a California wildfire lawsuit. To do this, you will need to know who is responsible for the damage.
Who Is Liable
There are several parties that could be responsible. It could be an individual person who left their campfire unattended or dropped a burning cigarette.
You may be able to file a suit against the government. The responsible party could be a business, product manufacturer, or even a utility company.
Your lawyer will be able to help you determine and prove who is to blame for the damage.
Filing the Lawsuit
Your attorney will try to negotiate with the responsible party or their insurance company. The goal is that they will take responsibility and agree to pay the compensation.
However, if they choose not to and the negotiations fail, your attorney will then start to prepare the necessary legal documents to file a suit.
At this point in the process responsible party will decide to settle and pay you what you’re owed or they will push it and the case will go to trial. The judge or jury will then make the decision on the compensation amount.
Hiring a Wildfire Damage Lawyer
Now that you've decided to hire a California wildfire lawyer, it's time to find the right one. There are many attorneys to choose from, but they aren't all worth the money. Some will be better than others and many people find it difficult to pick one.
Ask for Referrals
The first step is to ask for referrals. If you're experiencing wildfire damage, there's a high probability that others in your community are too.
Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about attorneys in the area. They may have recommendations and possibly give you some insight into their experience.
During this beginning step, you may also want to look at online reviews. While you should never make your decision solely on reviews, they can be a helpful tool.
Specialization and Experience
Before signing a contract with a wildfire recovery lawyer, be sure to ask about their experience with wildfire cases. You want to hire someone who specializes in cases similar to yours.
This will show that they have updated knowledge and increase your chances of getting higher compensation. Along with experience, your attorney should also have won a lot of his or her wildfire cases.
You want to work with someone who knows what they are doing and can get the best possible outcome. Someone new to the industry may not be able to get you the results you want.
Reference Follow Up
Don't be afraid to ask for references. Talking with some of their previous clients can be very insightful and prepare you a little better for the process.
Fee Break Down
It's normal for the cost to be a concern, especially when you're facing potentially expensive repairs or medical bills due to wildfire damages.
A reputable attorney will be upfront and honest with you about their fees. If you don't understand the fee structure, don't shy away from asking for clarification.
Calling Your Insurance Company
Your first thought after sustaining wildfire damages may be to call your insurance company. However, we strongly advise against it.
Insurance companies have their own interest in mind and while we all want to believe they will do the right thing, it’s not a guarantee. They will do everything possible to minimize payouts and even deny claims.
By contacting an attorney first, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the process of filing a claim and the negotiation portion.
By contacting a Northern California wildfire lawyer, you will ensure that your rights are protected.
It’s not uncommon for people to lack understanding of their rights. This makes it much easier for large corporations and insurance companies to take advantage of you.
However, your attorney will be by your side the entire way to ensure you get to compensation that you deserve. They can explain the whole process to you and advocate on your behalf.
You won’t have to worry about making statements that could harm your case, as your lawyer will give you all your options and ensure you don’t make a mistake.
Review Your Policy
While we hope you don’t have to go through a California wildlife lawsuit, the risk is always there. Don’t wait for something bad to happen to prepare yourself.
Take the time now to review your insurance policy. The more you know, the better.
If you have questions about your policy, be sure to contact the company right away. It’s better to have the answers now than after a disaster strikes.
Wildfire Claim Eligibility
It's important that you know the statute of limitations when it comes to submitting and filing a wildfire lawsuit. You only have a certain amount and once the time has run out, you're out of luck.
That's why it's vital that you contact an attorney right away. The longer you wait, the more challenging it could be to get compensation.
Wildfire Lawsuit: Take Action Now
Unfortunately, as a California resident, you have to be prepared for a fire to spark at any time.
Experiencing a wildfire is stressful enough and then to add a lawsuit on top of that can be overwhelming and unbearable. You don't have to do it alone. Our team is here to support you and help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Don't wait to contact us about a wildfire lawsuit. We work with hundreds of homeowners every year and we are confident we can help you too. Give us a call or send us an inquiry here.