Suing for Injuries After Fires in California
At first, fires might seem like unavoidable accidents. It is all too easy to dismiss these incidents as “freak accidents” that seem to occur without any wrongdoing. But when you start to investigate fires more closely, you quickly learn that they are almost always caused by some kind of human error. Even wildfires are predominantly caused by human activity rather than natural occurrences such as lightning strikes. If a fire is caused by some kind of negligence, you may have the opportunity to sue. But under what circumstances is this even possible? How can you file a lawsuit for fire-related injuries in California, and what kind of financial compensation may you receive?
PG&E May Be Forced to Pay $155 Million for Starting Wildfires in California
Although it has been several years since the devastating wildfires of 2020, many California residents still remember this disaster very clearly. Some are still suffering as a result of this fire, perhaps having lost their homes or even losing loved ones. The fires sparked a massive investigation, and we are finally starting to understand what caused them. According to regulators, PG&E may be to blame for starting a wildfire in Northern California that caused serious harm for the population.
On October 25, it was reported that Pacific Gas & Electric could be fined more than $155 million for allegedly sparking a wildfire in 2020 that destroyed 200 homes and killed four people. The company is no stranger to these kinds of accusations, having already been charged with criminal offenses in connection to the Zogg fire. According to the investigation, the fire started in Shasta County when a pine tree fell onto a power line owned and operated by PG&E. Back in June, the company pleaded not guilty to four separate counts of involuntary manslaughter.
California officials maintain that the company should have removed two pine trees that had been clearly marked for removal in the future. These trees represented a clear risk of falling onto the power lines. Despite the fact that the company was obviously aware of the danger and had marked the trees as such, they failed to take action. Along with criminal charges, PG&E will also be forced to log all tree removal into a database that can be easily checked by authorities in the future. It is not clear whether PG&E will be forced to pay the $155-million fine or whether these fines will be distributed to the community that suffered such harm. The company itself has released a statement supporting this notion, and it reads:
“We share the CPUC’s commitment to improve safety, and we believe any potential financial penalties should be directed for the benefit of our customers, and to keeping our hometowns safe.”
Despite this statement, it is unclear whether PG&E will actually accept the penalty or request a hearing to dispute it. Due to the fact that the company has already pleaded not guilty to criminal counts of manslaughter, it makes sense that they would also try to dodge this eight-figure fine.
House Fires Continue to Harm California Residents
Wildfires only represent one potential danger posed by uncontrolled blazes. House fires also regularly injure or kill California residents, and many of these fires are caused by negligence. On October 25, it was reported that a house fire in San Jose had resulted in the death of one victim and severe injuries for three others, including a firefighter.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, they quickly discovered that one female victim had already passed away after becoming trapped on the upper floor. Two other residents suffered minor injuries, while another two family members escaped completely unharmed. The firefighter who was injured suffered a fall, but it was not related to the fire itself. The cause of the fire is still under investigation as of this writing, and fire teams are looking into the matter closely.
On October 6, it was reported that two people suffered critical injuries after a fire in a Palm Springs apartment building. In addition, a firefighter suffered a minor injury when responding to the incident. Fire crews also reported that nine apartments were seriously damaged, and their residents would need housing. Again, the exact cause of the fire was not revealed – and the matter is still under investigation.
What Can Cause a Fire?
A fire can be caused by a range of factors, including improper wiring, inadequate fire safety equipment, and malfunctioning products, to name a few. In some cases, property owners or landlords can be held liable for allowing certain fires and injuries to occur due to poor fire safety equipment or building code violations. In other situations, product manufacturers may be held accountable.
One potential example is the Magic Chef Air Fryer, which was recalled on October 13 by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission. The CPSC reported that this fryer has the potential to overheat and cause fires. This is just one example of a product that can potentially cause a fire, and there are many others. For example, there have been many lawsuits filed in connection with exploding batteries.
Where Can I Find a Personal Injury Attorney in California?
If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs with all kinds of different accidents. We know that the word “accident” is often the wrong term – especially when clear negligence causes these so-called “accidents.”
If you are serious about holding guilty parties accountable for their misconduct in starting fires, you may have the opportunity to sue. A lawsuit can provide you with a settlement, and you can use this settlement to pay for medical expenses, missed wages, property damage, emotional distress, or any other damages you might have been forced to endure due to your fire. Book your consultation today because the statute of limitations can prevent you from suing if you wait too long.