Thomas Fire Lawyers
In 2017 more than two million California residents lived in homes at high risk for wildfire damage. Over the past ten years, the United States has spent a collective $5.1 billion on losses from wildfires. Though many people do not believe it can happen to them, wildfires are a serious issue across the country. California is especially vulnerable, as the recent Thomas fire demonstrated. If you or your home suffered damage in the Thomas fire, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law for help.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Wildfire
Wildfires can cause severe damage. Whether your entire home burned to the ground or the Thomas fire only destroyed a small part of your property, you need an attorney to ensure you receive as much compensation as possible.
After experiencing damage from a wildfire, most people will first turn to the insurance companies. Depending on your policy, you may have coverage for most of your personal property. If you suffered especially severe damage, however, it may be difficult to get your insurance company to award you full compensation. Additionally, interacting with insurers can be overwhelming and complicated.
When working with your insurance company, complete the following steps:
- Ask for an advance to cover the cost of evacuating your home.
- Do everything you can to minimize damage. Your insurance company is likely to ask what you have done to reduce the damage and your claim will be stronger if you have taken reasonable action to control it.
- Do not wait to file a claim. If you wait too long you may lose your opportunity to receive compensation.
- Keep records and document everything relating to the wildfire.
- Be thorough and detailed in your report.
- Include damage to your landscape and vegetation.
- Do not forget to pay premiums.
- Do not close your claim with the insurer’s first offer. It is in the insurance company’s best interest to close your claim as quickly as possible. Consider waiting until the end of the investigation when you know about all the damages.
- Contact an attorney.
By using an attorney experienced in wildfire cases, you significantly increase your chances of receiving compensation for all the damage. He or she will help you work with your insurer and keep the company from tricking you out of the compensation you deserve.
Thomas Fire Facts
The Thomas fire started at 6:28 on the evening of December 4, 2017. Less than three weeks after it began, the fire had burned 273,400 acres, making it the largest wildfire in California’s history. California firefighters and other officials managed to completely contain it by January 12, 2018. Santa Barbara County and Ventura County were the main areas that the fire affected. It destroyed approximately 1,063 structures and damaged approximately 280. By the time the blaze ended, it had burned 281,893 acres in California.
Because of the damage caused by Thomas fire, California residents experienced a dangerous mudslide in January of 2018, during which at least 17 people died. The fire destroyed vegetation that previously helped block heavy rains from causing mudslides.
Types of Wildfire Loss Claims
Due to the wide variety of potential damage wildfires cause, there are numerous types of wildfire loss claims, both for residential and commercial properties.
The most common claim for home damage from a wildfire is a fire loss claim. A homeowner would file a fire claim if the fire destroyed or seriously damaged his or her home. Homeowners may also file fire claims if lightning struck their homes, setting them on fire.
Another wildfire claim for a residential property is an explosion loss claim. Though damage from wildfires is often caused by the fire, itself, the blaze may also lead to an explosion, which can do serious harm to your home.
Though usually less severe than fire and explosion loss claims, a homeowner may also file a claim for smoke damage, referred to as a smoke loss claim.
The claims are slightly different for commercial properties. Whereas residential damage affects a family’s home life, damage to commercial properties affects the running of a business.
The most basic wildfire loss claim for a commercial property is a property damage claim. Any harm to the property caused by flames, smoke, explosion, or other wildfire-related incidents warrants a property damage claim.
Unlike residential property owners, commercial property owners are responsible for ensuring that a business can function smoothly. Wildfire damage can seriously impact a business’ ability to operate. If a wildfire impedes a business’ productivity, or overall ability to function, the commercial property owner can file a claim for the income the business will lose due to the fire’s impact.
Similar to filing for anticipated lost income, owners can file a claim for other operating expenses that are no longer available because of the wildfire. The business owner may be able to receive compensation from his or her insurer for the required suspension of his or her business activities.
Because concrete losses of income and property are not the only ways a wildfire can cost a business money, commercial property owners may be able to receive compensation for additional expenses needed for the business to recover. Extra expenses could include the cost of moving the business to a new, unharmed location, bringing in extra workers to keep the business running, added shipping costs for switching vendors, and many more.
California Wildfire Insurance Inventory Form
If your home and belongings were damaged or destroyed in the Thomas Fire, our interactive wildfire insurance inventory form.
Contact a Thomas Fire Attorney Today
If you suffered damage of any kind caused by the Thomas fire, you need a California wildfire lawyer with experience dealing with wildfire cases in California. The professionals at Eric Ratinoff Law understand the damage that wildfires can do and how to give our clients the best chance of receiving compensation. We are willing to travel all around the state to help as many California residents as possible. Contact Eric Ratinoff Law for a free consultation and more information about how we can help you recover from the Thomas fire.