Have You Suffered Losses from the Coastal Fire?
McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP fights for wildfire victims in Los Angeles and throughout California
As of May 13, 2022, the Coastal Fire, formerly called the Laguna Beach Fire, has burned at least 200 acres, destroyed at least 20 homes, and has forced the evacuation of thousands of homeowners in Orange County. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation; however, “’circuit activity’ was occurring ‘close in time’ to when the brush fire was reported, Southern California Edison (SCE) said in an initial incident report released Wednesday evening,” per CNN.
McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP is evaluating potential legal claims by victims and their families. The firm has represented thousands of clients throughout Southern and Northern California who sustained losses from wildfires in 2017 caused by PG&E and 2018 caused by Southern California Edison, and is currently representing more than 2,000 clients in claims stemming from the Dixie Wildfire.
According to Cal Fire, the affected areas are near St. Tropez and Laguna Ridge Trail, southeast of Laguna Beach in Orange County. The fire is 15% contained.
Evacuation orders have been issued for:
- Laguna Niguel
What damages can I recover if I’m a wildfire victim?
There are three general categories of wildfire victims McNicholas & McNicholas is currently reviewing:
- Homeowners who desire to restore the property that was destroyed, damaged, or lost
- Homeowners who have will sell or desire to sell the property (possibly suffering a diminution in value)
- Business owners who suffered fire damage that caused direct harm to their business or operations
A checklist for residents and property owners facing losses from the Coastal Fire
- Are you currently facing a potential evacuation?
- Photograph and video all of the possessions in your home as best you can, including the rooms and the house itself, and the landscaping and the trees outside. It will be hard to remember everything later if things are destroyed.
- Further, when you prepare your “go” pack, it should include all important documents (birth certificates, SSN cards, passports, insurance policies) along with your cherished possessions such as wedding photos, baby photos, videos, and family heirlooms.
- Get a copy of your insurance policy.
- Review your insurance policy to see your alternative living expenses “budget.” This will be important in choosing where to stay and managing expenses.
- NOTE: Sometimes it is better to leave early rather than in a rush – it is easier to get together your cherished items and it is less difficult to find hotels with vacancies.
- Contact your insurance company immediately to file your claim if you have to evacuate, or if you suffer any fire damage. Have your insurance company document your full losses.
- Keep all of your receipts of alternative living accommodations (hotels, AirBnB, rentals, etc.) along with any receipts for eating out while you are displaced with no kitchen (i.e. in a hotel). If your commute for work has become greater, keep track of the additional miles you are driving each week as well. Keep receipts for replacement items as well. And keep a small journal of what is happening each day – it will be hard to recreate later.
- Keep all estimates, receipts, and invoices related to the damage your real property has suffered.
- Start your personal property contents list. This will be important for submission to your insurance carrier as well as in any future potential litigation against the bad actor to recover the amount lost above-and-beyond insurance.
- The important details to track for each item of person property are: (1) what it was; (2) the quantity; (3) the rough brand or retail store it was purchased from; (4) approximately how many years ago it was purchased; and (5) the approximate purchase price.
- It is also important to keep a separate list of “cherished possessions,” such as family heirlooms, wedding photos, baby photos, jewelry handed down, and the like, in the event you were unable to evacuate with them.
- A useful strategy is to mentally go through each room in your home and visualize what was in it, room-by-room, drawer-by-drawer.
- Further, use the attached personal contents inventory list of items typically located in most homes to help in this tedious process.
- Keep track of all correspondence with your insurance company such as payments, statements of loss, and claim summary forms.
McNicholas & McNicholas was part of a legal team that helped secure a $13.5 billion settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to compensate all the victims of wildfires caused by the utility company’s equipment in 2017. We are currently resolving cases against Southern California Edison as well from fires in 2018. Contact us today if you have been harmed or sustained losses related to the Coastal Fire. The firm will need to speak directly with you about your facts to tell you what you can recover.
How do I find a wildfire lawyer near me?
McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP is a respected trial law firm serving the greater Los Angeles area. Our wildfire attorneys have the experience, skills, and resources to help you seek justice. Please fill out the contact form above or call 310-474-1582 to schedule a phone consultation.
No cost, no obligation consultations in Los Angeles