More than 500 Californians are being represented in a class-action lawsuit against Southern California Edison by attorneys from all around the state.
According to the most recent complaint filed against Southern California Edison, the wildfire in the Santa Paula foothills was started by careless activities at one of the company’s construction sites. Several Edison power poles in the vicinity were severely damaged, prompting the company to begin removing the damaged structures. Victims were able to get a court order to stop this action with the help of a California Edison fire lawsuit lawyer since a full investigation of these locations could show how and where the fire started.
If you or your loved ones have been injured in a fire started by the Edison company, it is important to reach out to an experienced attorney. The Edison fire lawsuit lawyers at Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack can file a lawsuit on your behalf or help you choose a class action lawsuit.
Bringing a Lawsuit Against Edison
Families who were harmed by the fire have filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison, the power company that detected suspected “circuit activity” around the time the fire started. The complaint accuses the electric provider of neglecting to maintain its equipment and keep vegetation trimmed.
In order to file a claim against Edison, just like any other lawsuit, there are a few requirements to ensure you have a valid complaint. The first thing is to ensure the right party is held accountable and there is standing against this defendant. This means there must have been damages incurred at the hands of the wrongdoer. If no injury is present or there is no proof of how the injury was incurred, there is no standing.
Second, suing a business is slightly different from suing a person. When suing a business, it is important to know what type of business it is (sole proprietorship or partnership, corporation, or limited partnership). For example, Edison is a corporation, and therefore, when filing in the California Courts, the plaintiff must file against the corporation by its legal name as listed on the California Secretary of State’s Business Search Portal. Further, the complaint then must be served to the corporation and not to any of the individual members.
These steps must be followed if an individual is starting a new lawsuit against the company. However, if a plaintiff would like to join a class action, then it is not necessary to file a new matter with the court.
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Prior Legal Actions Taken Against Edison
In 2018, insurance companies sued Southern California Edison for the damages caused by the Woolsey Fire. The devastating Woolsey Fire began on November 8, 2018, near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory above Simi Valley, near the Los Angeles-Ventura county line. The Woolsey Fire consumed more land in the SMMNRA than any other fire in history. Cal Fire’s investigation report states, “the Investigation Team (IT) determined electrical equipment associated with the Big Rock 16kV circuit, owned and operated by Southern California Edison (SCE), was the cause of the Woolsey Fire.”
The Edison company has settled most of the claims from this fire. Paying out insurance subrogation plaintiffs and individual lawsuits that have come against the company. The subrogation claims come from insurance companies that paid policyholders for damages. Under California law, they can collect from the responsible party in the event that a cause is established, other than a natural or godly act.
In 2020, Edison also settled with individual plaintiffs and insurance companies after lawsuits were filed from the 2017 Thomas Fire. The company has agreed to pay $1.16 billion for existing claims and would also pay policyholders for claims that are filed before July 2023. It is still possible to file a claim in this matter if any damage occurred from the Thomas Fire. A fire lawsuit lawyer in California Edison can help file any necessary claims to ensure the proper compensation is received.
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Lawsuits Brought Against Edison for Coastal Fire
Most recently, Edison is facing a new lawsuit for a coastal fire that occurred in May of 2022. After originating as a brush fire in the Aliso Woods Canyon, the Coastal Fire expanded to 200 acres before being put out by firefighters from the Orange County Fire Authority. The fire destroyed 20 residences and severely damaged 11 more. Approximately 900 households in the vicinity were forced to evacuate.
The fire is still under full investigation. However, a lawsuit was filed just one week after the fire originated. The company did report that there was “possible circuit activity” at the time of the fire.
The lawsuit, filed on May 17, 2022, claims that SCE failed to properly clear foliage and maintain their equipment, which “created the perfect storm for disaster” and inevitably ignited the fire. The lawsuit goes on to say that this could have been avoided through standard inspections and maintenance. The suit claim is saying that Edison either knowingly or negligently did not adhere to proper industry standards.
California Edison fire lawsuit attorneys have filed the lawsuit on behalf of area homeowners as a group of defendants, rather than as individual suits. This is just the beginning of the fire lawsuits, and there are likely to be more plaintiffs to come forward with allegations against the company.
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Class Actions v. Individual Lawsuits
A class-action lawsuit is one in which one or more people file a single lawsuit on behalf of a substantially larger group of people known as the class (group of claimants). This group of people has a comparable or identical legal claim. When dealing with large corporations with high-priced fire lawsuit attorneys in California Edison and a lot of money, there is usually strength in numbers. More plaintiffs have a stronger negotiating position, which means there’s a larger chance of settling out of court and saving money.
An individual lawsuit is typically filed by a single plaintiff or a very small group against one or more defendants. If there are unique injuries that may gain more compensation, it may be wise to file an individual lawsuit. Additionally, the voice of the plaintiff is heard in an individual lawsuit vs. when someone joins a class action, they become part of the class, and they do not get a say so—the representative of the class and the lawyers will be the ones making the decisions. Once an individual joins a class, they cannot file a personal lawsuit against the same defendant for the same injuries.
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Contact Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack to File a Suit Against Edison
A California fire lawsuit attorney can help with many types of claims after a wildfire like the ones ignited by Edison. If you or a loved one were injured or incurred property damage due to a fire caused by Edison’s negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation.
Contact our offices to set up a free, no-hassle consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.