California Wildfires Attorney
California Wildfires Attorney

How To File An Insurance Claim From A California Fire?

If you have lost your home, business or possessions due to a Southern California wildfire,

Wildfire Insurance Claims

How To File An Insurance Claim From A California Fire?

If you have lost your home, business or possessions due to a Southern California wildfire, you need to file an insurance claim to recoup your losses. These claims need to be filed quickly to ensure prompt payment and can help you financially recover from the destruction these fires have caused on your property.

Working with an insurance company to get paid for the damages you have endured can be challenging, and many are turning to potential lawsuits against PG&E and Edison for their alleged role in the fires. While these lawsuits may provide the financial means to rebuild after a fire has destroyed your home or business, you still have a right to file an insurance claim to begin the healing process.

The ravishes of the California fires are just the beginning of the issues that you are about to endure. Many local areas have been completely destroyed, and your property value will drop drastically as a result. This may make it impossible to rebuild the same value of home that you once had as insurance adjusters can easily undervalue your property damage as a result of a fire. These insurance adjusters have the interest of the insurance company in mind and want to save them money in paying out fire insurance claims.

You have a right to hire your own independent adjuster to value your property and get you a fair settlement from your insurance company. An independent adjuster that you hire will work with your best interests in mind and place a fair value on your home after it has been damaged or completely destroyed in a fire.

What Do You Need To File A Fire Claim?

Your insurance company has guidelines that you need to follow to file a fire claim. They require detailed information about your losses, and you will need to file a proof of losses claim to initiate the process. Be sure to include the following information as part of your claim request to ensure proper filing and the most immediate response to coverage.

You will need to provide your insurance company:

  • Date of your fire losses
  • Type of damages caused by the fire
  • The location of the fire damage
  • Information on injuries that have occurred
  • All parties involved in the fire losses
  • Condition of your home after the fire
  • All damaged contents including your personal belongings
  • Whether temporary repairs are required after the fire
  • A copy of the police report for your fire losses

Staying on top of your fire claim can ensure quick recovery of your damages and get you on the road to rebuilding again. Remember to continue paying your insurance premiums after a fire has occurred to ensure coverage of your property damage. Most insurance claims are resolved within 30 days of a claim, making it imperative that you file yours as soon as possible after a fire.

Contact Kalfayan Merjanian to initiate your rights to file a fire lawsuit against PG&E and Edison. They can help you receive compensation for the damages your family has suffered from and allow you to move forward with your life after a fire. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Collect Evidence

The first thing to do after getting to disaster site is to assess the damage. For best results, bring a camera or a smartphone along. Pictures and videos of the immediate property condition can give you the evidence needed to demand fair insurance compensation after a wildfire. This is also the time when you should begin drafting an insurance claim journal that will feature all the vital data.

Contact the Insurance Company

It’s difficult to emphasize the importance of getting in touch with your insurance agent as soon as possible. The claims process starts once you establish that first contact. In the case of wildfire damage, insurance companies deal with thousands of claims, so calling them right away will speed your claim. When you call, an adjuster will be assigned to your case.

Remove Debris/Minimize Damage

Refrain from doing cleanup before the adjuster visits the site. The only exception is for debris or damaged structures that will pose a danger or contribute to additional property destruction. In such instances, you can perform minor cleanup. Always use a camera or video to document the original condition of the property before getting started with safety removals. The photos and videos should be available during the insurance adjuster’s visit.

Work with an Adjuster

Adjusters are responsible for documenting the loss and assessing the scope of the damage. You have to be present at the venue when the adjuster arrives to carry out an inspection. The losses will be documented thoroughly, establishing the settlement amount a homeowner will be offered. On occasions, the insurance company’s adjuster may come up with a number that’s too law. In such instances, homeowners should either consider hiring public adjusters who aren’t employed by insurance companies or getting in touch with an experienced attorney.

Assess the Scope of Work

The scope of work is a detailed plan that will give you an idea about the most important processes to complete for the purpose of restoring the property. If you don’t have the knowledge and the experience to assess the scope of work on your own, you should either visit the property site with a contractor or a public adjuster. The stages of restoration work will also be determined this way.

Find the Right Contractor

Restoring your property is all about hiring an experienced, knowledgeable team to handle all of the tasks. Finding the right contractor is going to be a challenge in the aftermath of a widespread natural disaster. Still, take your time, check references and ask for referrals before hiring anyone. Contractors who get in touch with you or rush you into a signing an agreement should make you suspicious.

Communicate with Insurer & Save Receipts

Communicate with the insurance company on a regular basis and enter all of the information in your claim journal. Keep receipts of the cleanup or hazard elimination work you have done for the purpose of communicating these costs with the insurer later on. If correspondence with the insurance company is taking place via email, save these digital logs. The level of documentation should be similar to getting ready for a lawsuit or an audit.

Get Professional Assistance

If you believe that the insurance company is postponing the provision of financial compensation or that you’re being offered an amount that’s too low, you should get in touch with an experienced attorney. A lawyer will represent your interests, negotiating with the insurance company and getting started with a lawsuit upon necessity. While some homeowners worry about the cost of legal assistance, the financial implications are going to be much more serious in the case of unfair compensation or a denied insurance claim.


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Do I have a wildfire personal injury or property loss claim?

Whenever a link can be established between someone’s negligence and the injuries or property loss you experienced, there can be a claim. Your California wildfire attorney’s goal would be to seek evidence and expert testimonies that will result in a better understanding of the wildfire that contributed to devastation in your region and to build a strong case for you.


Do electric companies have a history of causing wildfires in California?

In 1994, PG&E was found guilty of over 730 counts of negligence in connection to a wildfire in Nevada County. The fire that destroyed 12 homes resulted from omissions in PG&E’s tree cutting program. The total fine was approximately $30 million. In 2015, the utility company was fined for its contribution in the so-called Butte Fire that destroyed 549 homes and led to two casualties. While PG&E had to pay serious fines, over 1,000 lawsuits are still pending. A fine was also imposed for the 2010 San Bruno explosion.


Why do I need an attorney if I have insurance?

Often, problems with insurance claims arise in the aftermath of California wildfires. Many homeowners are not fully insured and are unaware of the extent of the compensation they might receive. In addition, insurance companies may award unfair amounts to cut their losses. Whenever an insurance company denies a claim or offers a settlement that seems unjust, it’s wise to seek assistance from experienced California wildfire attorneys.


How much can I recover in the aftermath of a wildfire?

There is no exact formula when it comes to calculating wildfire victims’ compensation. Each case is unique and California wildfire attorneys examine multiple factors. The extent of injuries and property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering must all be considered. Estimates might be made by reviewing similar cases, but those award amount are a guideline for potential compensation, rather than representative figures of what to expect.


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