What happens after a natural disaster that kills people and destroys homes? Where will financial help come from? Is someone to blame for that forest fire that burned down homes? Do they have the insurance or money to compensate all the victims? These are all hard questions.
Where do people turn when a fire or other disaster causes a loved one to die? People in California are asking these hard questions more and more as wildfires rage and there is a lack of rain.
Who is to Blame? Can Liability be Established?
No one can recover from the devastation of a wildfire without help. Where do people turn for help? Is someone liable for damages caused by the fire? Who can establish liability for lost homes and businesses? Is there a way to recover fair compensation for lost homes, loved ones, and livelihoods? Sometimes people need a good law firm such as Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer & Frankel to help with understanding liability.
It is important to get the help of a good law firm as soon as possible after a tragedy like a wildfire. It is important to have someone investigating the wildfire and what caused it. Was it preventable? Was it caused by someone’s negligence? Everyone seeking compensation for wildfire damage must prove that the party they are suing was responsible for the preventable fire by their actions or negligence. Then, it must be proven that the fire actually caused the damages included in the lawsuit.
Some scenarios that establish liability for the wildfire include:
- Someone who is proven guilty of intentional arson.
- A person or persons dropping a lit cigarette in dry grass.
- A power company that is guilty of improperly maintaining power lines that then cause a fire.
- A landowner who attempts to burn crops in an uncontrolled way and causes an uncontrollable fire that spreads to adjoining land.
- Anyone proven guilty of trash burning or other negligent acts during a high fire risk season.
The state authorities are responsible for conducting thorough investigations into the wildfire causes. But, the people who have suffered a loss may also benefit from private investigations. A law firm can instigate an investigation to get evidence to present to the jury in future lawsuits.
Immediately After the Fire
Immediately after the fire, when a person is allowed to go back to their home, it is important to take some steps.
- Contact the insurance company to report the fire damage and ask for an advance to meet immediate needs like basic necessities, hotel charges, etc.
- Contact the mortgage holder of the fire and destruction of the home. See what they can do.
- Secure the property from additional damage by taking steps like boarding it up, stopping the fire from smoldering, and watching the property so it is not further damaged or disturbed.
- Work on filing an insurance claim with the help of the insurance adjuster or agent. Make sure the insurance company is going to act promptly.
- Contact a good law firm for assistance if the insurance company is not helping you sufficiently or quickly enough.
- Keep track of all expenses for future reimbursement. Save all receipts and proof of expenses. This might include having friends or relatives a family is staying with itemize the value of hosting the family so they can get reimbursement from the insurance company for what it costs them.
When it is approved, you will need to hire licensed contractors to rebuild the house or repair the damage. The insurance company will want estimates for proposed work to approve before anything can be done.
The insurance company may want the payments to go through any lender or mortgage company. Help might also be available from FHA Disaster Relief in the form of loans. A law firm with experience in the aftermath of wild fires can help the homeowner get numerous kinds of help for victims to use as they recover.