California Wildfires Attorney
California Wildfires Attorney

California Wildfires Destroyed My Home & Land, Now What?

The California fires have ravished homes and businesses. They have destroyed property,


California Wildfires Destroyed My Home & Land, Now What?

The California fires have ravished homes and businesses. They have destroyed property, and you may be one of the thousands of victims that have lost everything due to these fires. You have a right to file a claim with your insurance company to recover the losses that you have endured because of these fires. Unfortunately, filing these insurance claims can be difficult and often times if is hard to recoup the full value of your damaged home or property.

Your Property Value Many Be Reduced

There are many factors to consider when filing your insurance claim. Your home or business may have suffered greatly from the California wildfires. Your entire community may be destroyed and rebuilding in the same location may not be possible. There are environmental concerns to contend with as well as zoning changes that can affect if rebuilding can and does occur.

Your home or business may be subjected to rebuilding guidelines that stipulate the rebuilding process, making difficult to rebuild with the same level of value that you once had. Vineyards are one area that is specifically being affected by these wildfires as these family-owned businesses can no longer grow on the charred land that has been rid of its nutrient to grow grapes again.

Beyond the fire damage, your home or business may be affected by mudslides that are making their way through the landscape. They are creating even more devastation in their wake and delaying rebuilding into the unknown.

Your property may have a lower value than you estimated as insurance adjusters work to provide lost cost claims to the insurance companies that employ them. The value these adjusters place on your home or business will never provide you enough funding to rebuild to the same level that you were accustomed to. You deserve more for your suffering and losses from these fires.

What Can You Do?

Many individuals are turning to potential lawsuits against PG&E and Edison for their alleged responsibility in these California fire. These people cannot be blamed for these litigations as they only want to move forward with their lives and recover what they once had. To date, there are four lawsuits for these wildfires pending against Edison, and it is anticipated that more will follow.

It is also suggested that you file a claim with your insurance company immediately to begin the process of recovering your lost property. While these claims can be complex, it is recommended that you have the following information ready when you file yours.

  • Loss dates
  • Type of damage
  • Location of damage
  • Related injuries
  • People involved
  • Home condition
  • Damaged belongings
  • Repairs that need to occur
  • Police report

When you have lost property or unnecessarily have suffered from a California wildfire, a lawsuit against the responsible parties may help you recover from the damage. The attorneys at Kalfayan Merjanian can help fight for your rights to financial compensation and get you the relief you need to begin rebuilding your life. Contact us today for a free consultation. We are here to help you.


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.


kalfayan merjanian, llp

One of california's top
law firms. period.

Reward – American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys
Lawyers of distinction reward
The Best Lawyers In America Award
Reward – American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys
Lawyers of distinction reward
The Best Lawyers In America Award


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.


The california

wildfire attorneys

Kalfayan Merjanian LLP

Let us stand by your
side in court.