We have found that most fire victims are underinsured; that is, property damage exceeds the amount of insurance coverage available to you. Your recovery may include monetary compensation for personal property damage, landscaping and destruction of trees, damage or loss of residential structures, cost of evacuation, annoyance and discomfort, loss of earnings and personal injury. Retaining legal counsel experienced in litigating fire related cases against public utility companies may assist in maximizing your recovery of damages.
Here is what you need to know:
We seek recovery of losses that are not covered by your insurance company. Many fire victims find after rebuilding or repairing their property that the insurance proceeds do not fully compensate them for damages of rebuilding of their home, personal property and landscaping (including large trees). Landscaping coverage is usually a small portion of the overall insurance policy coverage that often excludes repairs for post fire erosion control and replacement of native vegetation and large trees.
The insurer will also likely not replace lost trees with trees of like size and maturity. For example, any large pine or fruit tree lost (or significantly damaged) will be replaced with seedlings, at best. We retain experts to determine the mature tree replacement value (usually $5,000-$50,000) per tree depending on the type, age and size of tree (i.e. Jeffrey Pine). These are underinsured damages.
In addition to the underinsured economic damages, we will make claims for uninsured damages such as annoyance damages and payment of attorney’s fees and costs which we have been able to recover in past fire cases.
We retain local arborists to tour the property and inspect damage to the landscaping and trees prior to removal of debris. Photographic evidence of the property post fire and before cleanup is essential.
We also retain landscape architects, real property appraisers and construction estimators. Each of these experts has significant experience assessing potential damages with respect to wildfires and determining the cost of repair and/or replacement and diminution in value of real property.
We do not take attorney’s fees on undisputed compensation you receive from your insurance company for rebuilding and repairs. Attorney’s fees are only received on compensation received for losses that your insurance policy does not cover claims that are disputed between you and your insurance company.