My house was destroyed by the California fires. What do I do now?
This is understandably a very stressful and emotional time for you and unfortunately, you’ll have to make decisions about replacing items, rebuilding your home, and filing fire insurance paperwork. Your first priority is to ensure you and your family are safe and have safe housing until you move to a permanent home.
If you don’t have a copy of your policy, contact your fire insurance company to obtain a copy. Next, make an inventory of all items you lost in the fires—including the Tubbs fire, Nuns fire, Pocket fire, and Atlas fire—so you can be reimbursed for those items. If you live in Santa Rosa or Sonoma and were affected by any of the California fires, contact an attorney at Cutter Law P.C. today.
At what stage in the insurance process should I contact an attorney?
You can contact an attorney at any stage during the California fire insurance claim process, from before you file a claim to when you fight the insurance company’s decision. The earlier you contact us, however, the better as we can review your policy and advise you of your rights immediately.
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If your insurance company is violating California law, we can advise you as to whether an insurance lawsuit should be filed.
I don’t have insurance, and lost everything that I own. Is there anything that can be done?
Yes. Whether you have insurance or not, Cutter Law can help you. There are private and public organizations out there to help you now, and we can prosecute your claim against those responsible for causing the Camp fire.
Why is it important to speak with an attorney today?
The sooner you protect your legal rights, the more likely you are to achieve a good outcome. Rains are coming. Demolition work will soon begin. Whether you lost a loved one, your home, or the property you worked for all of your life, you need to make sure someone you can trust preserves the evidence you will need to get justice.
If someone needs to find an evacuation center, they can visit redcross.org or download the free Red Cross Emergency App. You can also check with your local officials for information on where to find a shelter. Monitoring your local media may also help.
The Red Cross works 24/7 to be ready to respond to disasters like wildfires and other countless crises. Please donate to the Red Cross now to help. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation
How do I know what is included in my California home fire insurance coverage?
Your insurance company is required to provide you with a copy of your fire insurance policy. If you do not have a copy of your policy, contact your fire insurance company to obtain one. That policy will explain your benefits and policy limits.
My insurance company says any items older than four years are worthless. Can I fight this?
Yes. Under Insurance Code Section 2051, insurance companies must take the actual condition of your property or possessions into account, not just their age. Even if you have items that are a decade old, if they are in excellent condition you are entitled to compensation that reflects their excellent condition.
Insurance companies are not allowed to apply straight-line depreciation—meaning they cannot simply take a certain amount of the value off based on the item’s age.
If your insurance company attempts to underpay you for the value of your belongings based on unfair or illegal depreciation practices, you can fight by filing a lawsuit.
Cutter Law P.C. has experience fighting the unfair and unethical practices some insurance companies use, including filing a lawsuit that forced State Farm to change some of its practices.
My insurance company offered me less than I’m entitled to under my policy. Can I fight that decision?
Yes. Insurance companies are required to allow for an appraisal process if policyholders feel the company’s decision is unfair or unjust. Furthermore, if the fire insurance company has acted illegally, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to force the insurance company to change its policies or practices.
Filing a lawsuit against an insurance company requires attorneys who have experience litigating against companies that have unlimited resources.
Attorneys at Cutter Law P.C. have experience protecting the rights of their clients against insurance companies in the courtroom and in out-of-court settlements.
Do I need an attorney to help me fight an insurance company’s decision?
The appraisal process is long and complicated and often involves preparing complex paperwork and providing evidence. Furthermore, it’s possible your insurance company made a decision about your fire policy coverage based on its own illegal or unethical policies.
As such, it’s a good idea to have an attorney review your case to ensure there aren’t widespread violations of California insurance law.
What if I don’t have California house insurance?
Even if you don’t have California homeowners insurance, if someone was responsible for the Tubbs fire, Pocket fire, Atlas fire, or Nuns fire due to negligence or deliberate behavior, you may be entitled to compensation from the person or party responsible.
What if a utility company was responsible for the California fires?
If it is determined that a utility company was responsible for the California fires, people who suffered damages related to the fires may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the person or party responsible. Damages could include property damage, emotional distress, and personal injury.
How do I know if I’m entitled to compensation from the utility company?
Aside from losing property or possessions, if you were evacuated and suffered mental anguish or emotional distress you may be eligible for compensation. You may also be entitled to compensation if your property was damaged by smoke or soot caused by the California fires.
I have a friend or family member who was injured or killed by the Camp Fire. Can I contact you for them?
Yes. Often times a grieving family needs assistance from those closest to them. Its hard to lose someone you love, or to watch them suffer with a horrific injury. This difficulty can be made even worse when the loss is sudden and traumatic as is the case with the Camp Fire.