As the effects of climate change worsen, wildfires in California are becoming more regular each year. Every year, hundreds, if not thousands, of people are forced to flee their homes across the state due to the threat of wildfires. Others experience severe personal injury or the death of a family member, often in addition to losing a home, vehicle, and personal property.
Many of these fires that occur near the ocean in California have been deemed “coastal” fires. Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack, a California coastal fire law firm, is dedicated to helping clients put their lives back together after catastrophe strikes. We are also dedicated to defending your legal rights in the event that a company’s negligence results in a wildfire. After a wildfire, those who are injured or lose their homes, land, or property may wonder who, if anybody, is accountable for the expense of restoring their lives. Victims of California fires may be eligible for compensation for serious injuries, property loss, and other losses.
What Does a Coastal Fire Lawyer Do?
A coastal fire lawyer represents those that have been injured or incurred damages from a coastal fire incident. Coastal fire attorneys reply quickly to any fire-related inquiries because they understand the gravity of a fire lawsuit. An experienced attorney will collaborate closely with fire damage experts who are available to assist with the investigation required to discover the source and cause of a fire and thus culpability.
Retaining an experienced California wildfire lawyer should be the first step toward settling insurance concerns or pursuing a claim against a responsible party. The insurance company has little incentive to adequately reimburse persons who have been harmed by coastal wildfires. A coastal wildfire attorney can assist in ensuring that the damages incurred as a result of the fire are properly compensated.
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Coastal Wildfires in California
Most recently, the Coastal Fire tore through Laguna Niguel, destroying homes and properties, and causing injuries. Unfortunately, this type of fire is not uncommon, and they occur near the coast throughout California.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection “CalFire” weekly track the number of fires across the state and how many acres have been destroyed. In 2021, the state reported 3,205 fires that damaged nearly 20,000 acres across the state. As of June this year, there have been 2,703 fires, which have damaged 13,077. Acres. This path of destruction that the fires are causing is going to lead the state to its highest reported fire year ever.
Unfortunately, as we enter the heart of the summer fire season, Californians are at high risk of being injured or damaged due to coastal fires throughout the state. Anytime a person is injured, they should know their rights and know who is responsible for their damages. Insurance companies will likely undercut fire victims.
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Coastal Fire Insurance
The terrible effects of the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel should serve as a reminder to all California residents to make sure their insurance coverage is adequate on a regular basis.
This is especially critical given that many products and services are near 40-year highs. Costs of reconstruction that were computed years ago may no longer apply.
The first step is to contact the insurance agent and request that he or she run the numbers to see if the current policy is enough in light of current market conditions. Insurers keep a tight eye on rebuilding costs.
When it comes to filing an insurance claim after a fire can be stressful and overly complicated. Insurance companies benefit from making the process confusing because the longer it takes to file an insurance claim, the longer the insurance company has to wait before paying victims. It is best to file a claim as efficiently and as quickly as possible. This will ensure payment for all damages.
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Steps to Take Before a Coastal Fire
There are ways to mitigate risk and damages before a coastal fire. There are also ways to ensure that proper compensation is paid following damages after a fire. The most important preparation a person can make is to take photos of all of their belongings in and outside of their home, keep receipts for larger purchases, insure valuables and antiques, and also keep a log of anything costly. This will help present evidence to the insurance company or tortfeasor to show what is owed.
Additionally, it is best to fireproof a house as much as possible. This includes fire-resistant curtains, fire-safe boxes, and fire extinguishers, and it may even be necessary for some areas to install a fire system. However, the best area to start is to ensure that the insurance company properly covers all fires, including wildfires, and that the coverage is adequate as to one’s assets and belongings.
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Liability for a Coastal Fire
Coastal fires can come from a multitude of sources. Sometimes, it is easy to find who is responsible for the fire and its origin, and other times, it is nearly impossible to determine who is at fault and who is responsible for the injuries sustained from a fire. It is always important to have a proper investigation conducted when seeking compensation for damages after a fire.
These claims are hard to substantiate and connect to the fire. However, once the investigator determines how the fire started, that entity will be partially or fully responsible for the damage incurred due to the fire. For example, victims of the 2022 Coastal Fire are seeking to pursue claims against the Southern California Edison company if they are found to be at fault.
Contacting the Coastal Fire Lawyers at Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack
We handle fire litigation matters and provide free consultations on a contingency basis. Our clients owe us nothing for our time, fees, or costs if there is no recovery. We are frequently recruited to represent not only individual homeowners but entire communities that have been damaged by a fire.
Contact us for a no-cost consultation about your specific legal situation to learn more about our attorneys’ significant trial experience and how our name recognition can assist you.