We have filed several lawsuits in California to hold Pacific Gas and Electric Company “PG&E” responsible for the many fires it has caused in Northern California. If you or a loved one was injured or fatally injured in a fire caused by PG&E, you may be entitled to compensation beyond what your insurance company has paid. The California PG&E fire lawsuit lawyers at Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack can assist you in filing a lawsuit against the company for any injuries or damage sustained.
What is a PG&E Fire Lawsuit?
PG&E has had a series of lawsuits filed against the company for fires dating back to 1994. At the root of most of these fires is faulty equipment and improper maintenance of power lines.
PG&E was recently forced to pay civil charges to avoid criminal prosecution. This resulted in PG&E paying approximately $55 million to six counties in Northern California. The agreement allows PG&E to escape criminal charges for the Dixie fire, which was the second-largest fire in California history, and the Kincade fire, which occurred in 2019. The deal includes tens of millions of dollars in payments to local organizations, schools, and government entities, as well as funding for a five-year independent safety monitor.
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PG&E Lawsuit History
PG&E was found guilty of almost 700 counts of criminal negligence in a 1994 lawsuit for failing to cut trees near power wires. According to news accounts, the Sierra Fire was started by untrimmed trees. PG&E was forced to pay $2 million.
Property owners filed over 50 claims against PG&E in 1996. According to news accounts, trees that PG&E failed to trim fell on a high-voltage power line northeast of Sonoma, igniting a fire that burned for three days and scorched 2,100 acres. The majority of these claims were settled by PG&E for a total of $333 million.
The Tahoe and Plumas National Forest Fires
A pine tree toppled on PG&E power cables in 1999, igniting a fire, according to local news. The fire scorched the Tahoe and Plumas National Forests for 11 days, scorching roughly 12,000 acres. The government’s allegations were settled for around $15 million by PG&E.
Mission Street Fire
In 2003, a PG&E substation on Mission Street triggered a 9-hour fire that raged through San Francisco. PG&E could have avoided the disaster if it had taken safety changes advised following a nearly-identical catastrophe in 1996, according to California authorities. More than 100,000 people in San Francisco were without electricity as a result of the fire. San Francisco and the state of California received $530 million from PG&E.
Fire Due to Falling Trees
There was another fire started in 2004 due to falling trees. PG&E is responsible for the trees over their power lines, but they have routinely been found not to upkeep these, therefore causing fires. The settlement for this fire was $29.5 million.
Fires Related to Faulty Pipelines
Additionally, in 2008 and 2010, there were two fires that were started by PG&E not properly repairing pipelines. The 2008 verdict was $38 million paid to penalties and an additional amount to wrongful death lawsuits. The 2010 settlement was a steep one, where PG&E was found criminally liable and sentenced to 5 years of probation, $1.6 billion paid to the state, and $565 million to victims of the fire.
The 2017 Northern California Wildfires
The 2017 Northern California wildfires, also known as the North Bay Fires and Wine Country Fires, began burning throughout northern California in October 2017. Government fire investigators concluded that PG&E broke state rules requiring brush clearing and adequate equipment maintenance. PG&E agreed to a $415 million settlement with Napa County and eight other public organizations in June 2019.
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Butte PG&E Fires
A tree falling on a PG&E power line in 2015 sparked the Butte Fire, which burnt 70,000 acres and destroyed 365 homes. PG&E paid roughly $1 billion in claims linked to the Butte Fire in 2015. Unresolved claims amounted to approximately $100 million for PG&E, although the company stated that these claims would be resolved as part of the bankruptcy procedures it filed in 2019.
An electrical wire apparently caused the Camp Fire in 2018. Cal Fire investigators concluded that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by PG&E after a diligent and complete examination. PG&E had put aside $10.5 billion in the event of a claim related to the Camp Fire.
In June 2019, PG&E agreed to pay $270 million to Paradise and $252 million to Butte County as part of a $522 million settlement for the Camp Fire.
Compensation in a PG&E Lawsuit
According to the PG&E Bankruptcy Trustee’s Office, PG&E wildfire victims are now able to receive a larger percentage of what is owed to them, thanks to a recent influx of $1 billion into the victim compensation trust fund.
The revised payout, which took effect on February 15, 2022, will allow claimants to receive 45% of their claim value (rather than the prior 30%) as an initial payment, with the balance to follow as the process continues..
If you were harmed by the PG&E wildfires, a PG&E fire lawsuit lawyer in California may be able to file a claim against the firm for compensation. One of two things must be done in order to get a portion of that or any other settlement money: (1) either join a current case or (2) start a separate lawsuit.
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Contact the California PG&E Fire Lawsuit Attorneys at Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack
The attorneys at Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack have already filed claims against PG&E on behalf of individuals. We can help victims join an existing lawsuit, or bring a separate claim against the company. Our groups of experienced PG&E fire lawsuit attorneys in California are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your matter. We can be reached by phone or through our online contact sheet.