Property owners all across California know all too well the risk massive forest fires can pose to their belongings. When the current wildfires we’re experiencing roar across the state, the houses, rental properties, and businesses can experience smoke damage and burns as a result of the blaze.
Other sources, such as faulty power lines, faulty wiring in your home or arson can also result in extensive fire damage to your personal property. Whether the fire started as a result of a power company’s negligence or the faulty wiring an incompetent contractor installed in your home — San Diego personal injury attorney Ryan Sargent is ready to take your case.
There’s no fee unless you win your case. Let Ryan Sargent and his team of dedicated personal injury attorneys fight for your rightful compensation after your personal property was damaged by a wildfire.
Fire Liabilities in California
Any fire that damages property in California can result from a number of different causes. If your home, vehicle, rental property or business was severely damaged as the result of a California wildfire, it’s important who have a dedicated support system around you who are qualified to assess damages and determine what repairs or replacements need to be made to your property.
The team at The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers would encourage all Californians to have some level of fire protection on their homes in case their area is affected by one of the rolling wildfires. Your California home insurance provider may be slow to respond if your damages are fire-related, especially if it’s a wildfire like the one we’re all experiencing right now.
In the case of wildfires, many properties under one insurance company may be experiencing fire-related damages and will hold up a company’s adjusters and agents. This can also cause adjusters to rush their work so they can get through all the houses they need to appraise.
The state of California expects anyone who has experienced property damage as a result of fire to mitigate their losses and damages. Mitigating damages is another way of saying a property owner must take the necessary steps to prevent any further damage to their personal property or stop current damage from becoming worse.
The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers has a knowledgeable team of personal injury attorneys who have experience litigating personal property damage claims as a result of wildfires. Our team can help you take all the necessary steps needed for dealing with the personal property you’ve lost as a result of a wildfire.
Some of those steps include:
- Finding a qualified expert who is in the field of assessing and evaluating damages and causes in a fire-related accident
- Arrange for a high-quality appraiser to take all factors in mind while deceiving the full extent of your wildfire damage
- Help coordinate repairs and other mitigation tasks for your fire-damaged personal property
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.
How Else Can I Solve a fire Dispute?
There are other avenues to solve disputes about fire damage to your personal property. You can:
Reopen Negotiations: There’s an Avenue where you can go back to your California homeowners insurance company and reasonably try to resolve your dispute. There will be instances where an adjuster will want to stop talking with you, so you need to find someone at your insurance company who will be willing to listen to you. If both sides are willing to work, it is possible for a resolution to be met.
Filing a complaint: The California Department of insurance has an office where you can file complaints if your insurance company either fails to pay you or will not open a new negotiation. Once you file a complaint in person or online, it’s out of your hands. The DCOI and your insurance company will go back and forth on the matter and most likely will end in continued negotiations for yourself.
Find a public property adjuster: Public Adjusters specialize in addressing damage and coverage issues during ongoing wildfires and other accidents. They will assist you in negotiations and advocate on your behalf against potential defendants. A good personal property damage attorney can help you find a knowledgeable property adjuster who can help you.
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!