Can Wildfire Victims Receive Compensation in California?

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Millions of acres of wildlands in California are seen as extreme, or at least very high, risk of wildfires and this covers half of the state. In just one year (2018), California saw over 7,500 separate wildfires burning over an expanse of 1.7 million acres of land. Over 23,000 structures were either severely damaged or completely destroyed but, worse still, there were 93 confirmed deaths. And those are the eye-popping figures for just one year of wildfires in the state of California. These fires not only kill and seriously injure but people’s homes and businesses are also destroyed in the fires.

Causes of Wildfires in California

Possibly the most common cause of wildfires is leaving a campfire unattended but other causes include faulty and poorly maintained power lines, malfunction of equipment, burning debris, fireworks, and, sadly, arson.


If you have been injured in a wildfire in California or have had your property damaged as a result, it is possible to claim compensation for your losses. All too often, people think they can claim for their losses through their business or homeowner’s policies but, more often than expected, insurance companies are refusing to fund such claims. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best way to fight to get some compensation. Hiring a personal injury lawyer who specializes in representing wildfire victims is the best plan of action in such cases.

Damage to Property

Damage caused to property as a result of a wildfire can be devastating, leaving catastrophe in its wake. Property damage is one of the most widely claimed for as it is so far-reaching. Damage can be caused to property as a result of flames, smoke, water, soot, mudslides, and many other reasons associated with wildfires and the fallout from a wildfire.

Fortunately, it is possible to claim for damage caused to the following types of property:

  • The structure of your home – this will include the expenses incurred if you need to relocate to alternative accommodation while the repairs are carried out.
  • Damage caused to your business premises – this will also include a claim for revenue lost due to the interruption to trading of your company. Employees will be able to claim lost wages while they are unable to work.
  • Cars, motorbikes, and push bikes damaged by fires – travel expenses incurred while a claim is managed will fall into this category.
  • Damage done to farming – the claim would include loss of earnings while any damage is repaired.
  • Damage to outside structures such as sheds, garages, and fences
  • Damage to swimming pools
  • Damage to personal property and possessions such as jewelry and appliances

Physical Injuries

Compensation can be claimed against physical damage caused to your people such as burns, infections, disfigurement, and fractures. Other physical injuries which can be claimed for include:

  • Lung problems such as bronchitis
  • Asphyxiation
  • Poisoning from toxins
  • Irritation to the eyes
  • Chronic Pain
  • Heart failure
  • Amputations
  • Long-term disability

The list is ongoing and many of the conditions listed are likely to be long-term with no fast and easy fix. This will mean the compensation claim needs to include future requirements.

Wrongful death, as a result of a wildfire, is the most extreme case of physical injury and this can be felt emotionally by many others around the person who has passed away.

Emotional Injuries

This leads us to the emotional issues which need to be dealt with and claimed for. Issues such as mental distress, anxiety, and depression caused by any of the above property or physical damage or death and injury of loved ones, friends, and employees. Equally, mental distress can be felt following the loss of a job due to damage to the business premises of your employer. The effects of wildfires are far-reaching.

Death of a Loved One

The greatest loss of all as a result of the wildfires in California is the loss of a life. If you lose a loved one in this way no amount of money will bring them back or make up for the loss but there is compensation available in the form of:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of family income and future earnings
  • Loss of a parent’s love and guidance
  • Loss of spouse and company
  • Overall mental distress of the whole family
  • Pain and suffering caused to the person who passed away
  • Resultant medical bills related to the above

Fighting for such compensation alone would not be advisable and a Santa Barbara burn injury lawyer can help you to claim compensation if you have lost a loved one through wrongful death. During such an emotionally turbulent time, hiring a lawyer to help you to fight your case and claim the compensation you are entitled to is a must.