California wildfires have a devastating effect on people whose lives are turned around in a heartbeat. Thanks to extremely dry temperatures and high winds it can take mere moments for a California fire to spread and become catastrophic, burning homes and uprooting lives in the process.
Though the fire itself might take only an instant to level a home, the destruction and aftermath can last a lifetime.
At Cutter Law, we understand firsthand the devastation caused by California wildfires and we are here to help you through this incredibly difficult time. Whether you are looking to file a California wildfire insurance claim or want to hold organizations accountable for their roles in causing California fires, we can guide you through the process.
We know how frustrating and difficult it is to deal with insurance claims while trying to rebuild your life, especially when insurance companies likely will not have your best interests at heart.
If you have been affected by a California wildfire, you need a compassionate attorney who can answer all your questions and help you maximize your claim. You need an attorney with extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and fighting to ensure clients’ rights are respected.
Contact a highly skilled attorney at Cutter Law P.C. at any time in the claim process to make sure your rights and interests are protected.
California Wildfire Risks
Unfortunately for California residents, experts say as many as 25% of Californians are living in a ‘high risk’ wildfire area, with more than 2.7 million residents living in “very high fire hazard severity zones.”
Fire experts say that times of heavy rain produce excess vegetation that then becomes fuel for fires in the hot, dry summer months, increasing the chances of an extreme fire season.
Meanwhile, the fire season has extended recently, with the risk of a California fire high even in October.
According to reports, in 2017 and 2018, California suffered 4 of the 20 largest wildfires in state history and 8 of the 20 most destructive fires in recorded history.
A combination of changes in the climate leading to reduced snowpack and runoff, drier conditions and increasing development all combine to increase the risks.
Compounding this hazard is that many of the communities at risk of wildfire have very few routes for people to escape.
Many roads are not built to evacuate large numbers of people on short notice and many people hesitate before they finally leave their home. This leaves people vulnerable to catastrophic injuries from California fires.
California Wildfire Aftermath
Dealing with the aftermath of a California wildfire can be incredibly stressful and traumatic as victims and their loved ones determine whether to rebuild or move and as they deal with the devastating loss of losing family members, pets, and cherished belongings.
Even in cases where families choose to rebuild, the process can be long and complicated, requiring victims to live away from their communities for extended periods.
Finances may be a concern if there is no job to return to. Children might be uprooted from their schools and their friends.
This all increases the stress at a time when you are dealing with insurance companies and trying to determine the best course of action for you and your family.
On November 8, 2018, a California wildfire broke out and destroyed the town of Paradise, in Butte County. Eighty-eight people died and thousands of structures—mostly homes—burned down. Town residents lost everything and were forced to evacuate on very short notice, creating havoc on the roads.
Following the fire, homeowners filed insurance claims while investigators determined what caused the most devastating wildfire in California history. In cases where a corporation or utility is found to be responsible, California wildfire lawsuits can be filed against that organization for damages or for wrongful death.
Meanwhile, if insurance companies fail to uphold their contracts with policyholders—by unreasonably delaying or denying paying a fire claim or by undervaluing losses—we can file a lawsuit to force them to uphold the terms of their policies and pay claimants the full amount they are entitled to.
So far, investigators have found PG&E responsible for more than a dozen fires from 2017 and 2018, with findings from some investigations forwarded for possible criminal charges to be considered. Among investigative findings were that the utility violated California law by failing to properly maintain its equipment and failing to maintain vegetation around its equipment, leading to increased fire risk. As a result, PG&E faces numerous California fire lawsuits linked to recent fires.
CalFire also found PG&E responsible for the Paradise fire, after investigators found the company’s equipment started the blaze that devastated the town of Paradise.
Fire Insurance Lawsuit
Cutter Law has extensive experience representing people whose lives have been devastated by fires. We served as co-lead counsel in a class action lawsuit against State Farm related to the insurance company’s fire/property policy. That lawsuit-Doan v. State Farm-went to trial and resulted in a victory.
Included in the allegations were that State Farm violated California law in how it adjusted fire and other personal property losses. The Court found that State Farm did not take into account the actual condition of the property being reimbursed for, instead of using a straight line, age-based depreciation.
As a result of that lawsuit, State Farm was ordered to change its adjustment practices and communicate to its policyholders its methods and schedules used in property depreciation.
Fire Insurance Lawyer
Attorneys at Cutter Law P.C. have a proven track record of success in dealing with insurance companies and defending the rights of our clients in their insurance claims.
Appealing insurance company decisions and ensuring you receive the full compensation you’re entitled to can be a complicated process. Our attorneys will fight to protect your rights so you receive the full value of your claim. Contact a fire insurance attorney at Cutter Law P.C. to schedule a no-obligation consultation today. Call 707-306-0540 or fill out our contact form to speak with a fire insurance lawyer about your claim.