The Woolsey wildfire in California has set the record for the most damaging wildfire in the history of the Golden State. The Woolsey fire specifically destroyed more than 280,000 acres of land that included houses, rental properties, businesses, vehicles, and vegetation before being controlled by California fire officials. The results of these fires were more than 100,000 displaced Californians and another 43 with their lives lost.
The affected victims of these fires will find it tough to recover from their damages and will also look for good legal representation from trustworthy attorneys who can litigate their damages from losses caused by the wildfire. The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers has helped clients in California recover millions of dollars in compensation for damages from personal injury and property damage claims.
What is the Woolsey Fire and how did it affect California
The dry climate in California plus the varied winds and abundant vegetation make for a perfect mixture for roaring wildfires. The Woolsey fire grew to record-setting size in part due to extremely dry conditions in the area and high winds that continually fed the flames as they burned through acres upon acres of land. Investigative officials have found the dry conditions and increased winds as the most common contributing factor in the damage. Even though the original cause of the fire remains unknown, there are theories as to who could be negligent in causing these fires.
In total, the wildfire cost over $177 million in firefighting costs by the end of 2017. The wildfire took out 1,063 structures and another 280 suffered near total loss. Investigators accounted for more than $120 million in property damage in Santa Barbara County, and sadly one firefighter died from smoke inhalation on December while fighting the wildfires.
The wildfires also led to a number of mudslides in California. As forests burned, the ground in which these trees began to loosen up and started to collapse down these mountainsides.
17 people were lost their lives due to the mudslides in the area as rains arrived following the fires. The topsoil of the ground has become weakened to collapse after the fires destroyed all the surrounding vegetation. Unfortunately, the Montecito area was right in the way of this mudslide flow.
Are utility companies responsible for the disasters in California?
There are attorneys all across California currently representing more than 500 Californians in a class action suit against Southern California Edison.
The lawsuit against Southern California Edison says that negligent actions at one of the company’s construction sites sparked the wildfire in the Santa Paula foothills. Several Edison power poles in the area suffered massive damage, and the company began efforts to have the damaged structures removed.
However, the victims in the lawsuit against Edison secured a restraining order to prevent the company from removing electrical structures from the area, citing the removal as possible destruction of evidence for the fire’s origin.
Can a California Attorney help me recoup my damages and losses?
If you or a loved one have been affected by the Woolsey Fire, you’re more than likely out of a home and/or vehicle and possibly investment properties or place of business. There are many ways an attorney can help in these kinds of situations, and the team at The Sargent Law is here to help.
The first big problem personal property owners have after a wildfire is recouping damages on their California home insurance policy. The insurance company has a vested interest in making sure they pay out as little as possible. The policy will contain specific verbiage outlining the types of fire damages that qualify for coverage, if it does, in fact, cover fire damages. You may not be able to file a claim for damages unless the policy specifically states wildfires as a covered event.
When you file an insurance claim it will undoubtedly a very complicated complex, and it’s important to document all kinds of evidence which supports a claim. Taking the necessary care to preserve any evidence, damages, and receipts that can prove your losses and strengthen your claim after a California wildfire.
Insurance companies will investigate claims made by wildfire victims to ensure they are valid and fall under the specifics of the policy in question. They will look for any reasons that exist to reduce or deny a claim but must do so in good faith.
Bad Faith Insurance in California
“Bad faith” insurance refers to the unethical practices by insurance companies and their adjusters. This can include lying to a policyholder, failing to provide real facts for lowering or denying a claim, purposely falsifying evidence, engaging in intimidation tactics, or any other unreasonable behavior with malicious intent.
If an insurance company or claims adjuster fails to act in good faith, the policyholder needs a reliable attorney to handle the situation and reach a fair settlement. Having your attorney simply send a formal letter to your insurance company stating that you suspect bad faith is enough to encourage a more agreeable settlement discussion in some cases.
Possible Claims You Can Make After a California Wildfire
A California attorney can help with many types of claims after a wildfire like the Woolsey fire. Quality Legal representation can help an victim secure compensation from other channels in addition to dealing with bad faith insurance practices. Victims can file civil actions against the at-fault party for their damages if anyone contributed to or caused the fire.
The aforementioned class action lawsuits against and Southern California Edison are great examples of such legal recourse.
An attorney can help you file a lawsuit of your own or provide you with instructions for joining a class action lawsuit as an additional plaintiff. Class action lawsuits allow multiple plaintiffs who suffered similar losses from the same source to essentially pool their legal resources into a single case.
This allows the legal process to move much quicker than it would with thousands of individual claims, but the downside is that claimants typically receive a smaller settlement amount. Usually, the plaintiffs will divide the total settlement evenly among all members of the class action suit.
Call The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers Today
The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers has many attorneys experienced in litigating fire damages and can help you too. Your consultation is free and is no obligation. Call us today!