California Wildfires as the Cause of Mudslides: What You Need to Know
Approaching wildfire causes imminent danger to human lives, land and property. It isn’t the only hazard to be concerned about, however. Smoke damage is equally devastating. The barren land that fire leaves behind increases the risk of mudslides once the rainy season starts.
California Mudslides: The Aftermath of the 2017 Wildfires
The areas ravaged by wildfire have very little vegetation left. As a result, there’s nothing there to hold the soil in place once rainfall begins.
Landslides and mudslides are the direct consequence of the disturbed stability of the slope. Thus, both wildfires and human modifications can increase the risk of soil and mud going down, ruining property and causing infrastructural damage.
Following the Northern California wildfires in October 2017, mudslides killed at least 15 people. Regardless of the fact that the amount of rain was insignificant, the barren landscape contributed to yet another natural disaster.
Because they can happen without a warning, mudslides can be deadly. The fact that numerous communities have been left vulnerable after the October fires increases the scope of potentially devastation even further.
Pouring rain in December 2017 and January 2018 has made the situation even more troublesome throughout the state. According to experts, Southern California needs just 10 inches of rainfall during the winter for landslides and mudslides to be triggered. When areas have been previously burned, the amount of rain needed is even smaller.
Protecting Your Property from Mudslides
Homeowner insurance doesn’t typically provide coverage for the damage caused by mudslides. They are considered a form of earth movement, which is why both mudslides and earthquakes are not included in general policies.
Mudflow is caused by water, which is why it will be covered partially by flood insurance. A Difference in Conditions policy will provide a much more comprehensive coverage for both landslides and mudslides (and earthquakes on top of that). If you live in a high risk area, getting additional insurance coverage may be the reasonable thing to do.
Whenever a serious natural disaster strikes, however, dealing with insurance companies can be a challenging task. Processing time will increase. Some claims will be underpaid, others could be turned down altogether. Legal assistance in such situations will prove to be invaluable.
Landslide and mudslide claims fall under the natural disaster category. Attorneys that specialize in wildfire and other post-catastrophe claims can handle mudslide and landslide compensation requests, as well.
Apart from addressing the insurance company, it’s also very important to determine whether any of the damage and the property losses have been the result of negligence. After mudslides and landsides, many residential and commercial property owners have turned their attention to construction companies, contractors and other professionals that may have done a subpar job. While proving irregularities isn’t the easiest job, it can lead to additional compensation for the losses.
A good legal team can even go after utility companies like PG&E. There have been allegations of negligence and poor equipment maintenance that could have caused the October 2016 wildfires. As a result, the risk of landslides and mud slides has gone up.
Experienced attorneys like the Kalfayan Merjanian legal team know what it takes to hold responsible parties accountable and what it takes to deal with an insurance agency. If you are feeling lost and stuck, please do not hesitate to contact us.
- January 11, 2018