Kershaw Cook & Talley Representing Victims of the Santa Rosa/Sonoma/Napa County Fires

PG&E likely at fault

In the devastating aftermath of the Northern California wildfires, reports are filtering in that many of the fires that lead to the description of more than 3,500 homes may have been sparked by PG&E equipment that was poorly maintained.

Lines tangling with branches can spark, so utilities are required to trim or remove nearby trees and bushes. For the standard electrical line running through most neighborhoods, branches must be kept at least 4 feet from the wires and 10 feet from each power pole.

Investigators are considering whether equipment owned by PG&E may have been responsible for the wildfires that spread throughout Northern California. The fires at issue include:

  • The Tubbs Fire
  • The Cascade Fire
  • The Sulphur Fire
  • The Redwoods Valley Fire
  • The Lobo Fire
  • The La Porte Fire
  • The Cherokee Fire

PG&E has a long history of neglecting its infrastructure and is responsible for 4 of the 20 largest wildfires in California. In fact, just two years ago PG&E was found responsible for starting a wildfire in Butte County that lead to the destruction of more than 500 homes.

For many residents, the impact of these fires has been devastating. Many property owners have been left homeless and are just now learning that their insurance will not fully compensate them for their losses. Business and farms have been decimated.
Our team of experienced attorneys is investigating claims against PG&E and other responsible third parties and is committed to helping fire victims, including those who may have lost their homes, businesses or personal property. Those entitled to compensation include anyone who was harmed by the fire such as tenants, business owners, and property owners. Also, whether you had insurance to cover your losses does not impact your right to compensation. The types of recoverable damages include:

Landscaping, Crops, Trees and Erosion

The Northern California wild fires did not just burn structures, but also caused extensive damage to farms, trees, landscaping, and crops. Typically, such damages are not covered by insurance. However, under California law, those responsible for damaging real property must pay damages sufficient to restore property to its pre-fire condition. This would include the cost of replacing trees, shrubs, and landscaping. Also, the value of crops would be recoverable. It is also important to realize that sometimes a fire can cause damage to property in ways that may not be immediately obvious. For example, if a fire destroys ground cover or vegetation, this can cause serious erosion and flood problems in the winter.

Personal Property

Individuals are entitled to recover the value of all the personal property that may have been destroyed in a fire. Personal property includes everything you own inside your home such as furniture, home entertainment equipment, clothing, jewelry etc. We have discovered that insurance carriers often pay homeowners much less than what their personal property is truly worth. In some situations, it is important to retain experts to place a value on your property. For example, often collections, art, vehicles, and antiques are difficult to value. At Kershaw, Cook & Talley, we can help you maximize the value of all personal property that may have been destroyed in the fire.

Mental Anguish / Emotional Distress

There is no doubt that losing one’s home in a fire can cause severe mental anguish. Not only do you lose everything you own, but the process of dealing with the aftermath can cause incredible stress. These emotional damages are often recoverable if a third party is responsible for your home’s destruction.

Also, in a fast-moving fire, people are often placed in the position of fleeing for their lives and have a genuine fear they may die, or that a spouse or loved one may die in the fire. Fortunately, the law allows recovery for the direct emotional distress caused by being placed in such a dangerous situation.

Call (916) 520-6639 for a free consultation, and find out how we can help you. We are ready to listen to your concerns and offer our guidance.


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