The latest roll of California wildfires has torn across massive parts of the state — leaving many good Californians without their homes, rental properties, businesses, pets, vehicles or valuable vegetation.
The businesses around California have been especially affected. California is home to thousands of small business owners who have now been stripped of everything they’ve worked their lives for. Their wages are gone, their place of business is gone and this could be in addition to their home and vehicles. How does someone possibly recoup these losses?
These wildfires are very often not an accident. There is normally someone or thing at fault in causing or exacerbating these fires — whether it is a group of campers, a power company or an incompetent contractor. Someone can be held responsible for causing these fires and damages can be recouped for your losses.
Your business is your livelihood. Don’t let it be lost for good. The attorneys at The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers have helped recoup damages for California small businesses owners before and can hello you too.
Business Income Loss
Most responsible California business owners have taken out some form of business income loss insurance to help protect them in case one of these California wildfires engulfs their place of work. The whole point of having one of these policies is to replace your business and the income it provides when the business has been physically taken away.
If you’ve lost your business as the result of a California wildfire, your insurance should replace your income and place of work until you can restore the physical location in which you work. Every California business income loss insurance policy is slightly different, but for the most part, they will cover the following areas:
Profit loss: Any money your business could expect to take in while open based on historical data should be replaced.
Operating Expenses: There are a lot expenses that continue to roll even while your business isn’t open. If you haven’t suffered a total structural loss, you’ll still have to pay rent, electricity, security systems or whatever else you need to keep running. There are many cases where there are employees who are still expecting salaries to be paid.
Temporary location: If for whatever reason you can’t afford to close your business, you’ll need to set up shop at an alternative location. A California business loss income insurance policy should cover all expenses associated with these temporary locations.
Reduced business: For California business owners who keep their business open to a partial capacity, there should be a part in your policy which will pay a difference of what income your business should have brought in if fully operational.
For Personal Property on Businesses
Casualty insurance protects personal property and business owners from claims against them as the result of actions and events happening on their premises. In the case of a fire, it’s possible for other people to bring suits against you if they think it’s possible your property or place of business was negligent in them being damaged by fire.
From time to time, these policies can differ on who specifically is covered. At times the policy will protect the business as a whole from being sued as a result of people being hurt from fire and other times it will only protect the business owner. Make sure you have read the fine print on your policy to make sure both you and your business have been covered.
A guide to filing a personal property damage claim
Winning a negligence lawsuit involves meeting some key criteria the attorney you’ve hired must prove. In order to prove your case, the attorney must prove the following areas:
Duty: There are many negligence outcomes that come to outcomes where it is determined by whether the defendant has a legal duty to you — like a power company or a contractor. This happens when a relationship exists between you and the potential defendant and it is recognized that the defendant has to provide you with a certain level of care. It will ultimately be up to a jury or judge to decide whether or not a potential defendant owed you a duty of care.
Breach of Duty: There are times where proving the potential defendant owed you a duty of care is not enough. The attorney you hire needs to prove there was a breach of care in their negligent actions. When a power company or a contractor does not take the reasonable number of steps to fulfill their duty of care to you. It’s not so much that a duty exists, but the breach of that duty is what a judge will look for in court.
Cause in Fact: If you are looking to win a personal property damage case, you must first prove that the actions your potential defendant engaged in caused the fire damage to your property. In California courts, this is also known as “but-for”, which means if it weren’t for the potential defendant’s actions, the fire damage wouldn’t have occurred.
Proximate Cause: This means the scope of the potential defendant responsibility and duty of care in a personal property damage negligence case. The potential defendant must only be responsible for the fire damages to your personal property that could have been expected through certain actions. If the fire damages occurred outside the scope of the potential defendant’s expectations, then it is very difficult to prove their actions caused your fire damages.
Damages: The harm a fire caused to your personal property must be recognized legally. There must be some kind of quantifiable damage the fire caused to your house, rental property or business after you’ve proven a potential defendant breached their duty of care.
Call Attorney Ryan Sargent Today
Ryan Sargent and his team of attorneys have advocated for victims of California’s many wildfires in a number of instances and will advocate for you too. These fires can take a number of things from our clients: rental properties, homes, businesses, cars, pets, and land. Just because you’ve lost your property doesn’t mean you can’t collect the replacements from those responsible.
The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers promises you to pay no fees unless we win your case. We’re taking wildfire cases right now and your consultation is free with no obligation. Call us today!