Public Utility

Los Angeles Public Utility Accidents and Litigation Attorneys

Protecting the rights of California residents from negligent actions of public utility companies

Public utility companies have a duty to ensure the safety of the people living in the areas they serve, and when they fail to meet that duty, they can put the health and lives of millions of people at risk. Gas, electricity, water and other public utility companies may not inform you of their mistakes; it is up to you to know your legal rights.

The Los Angeles public utility accident attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP are prepared to fight for the rights of Californians who have sustained injuries and property loss because of the negligence of public utility companies. Contact us to learn more.

Can you sue a public utility company in California?

Yes, but it is challenging. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) “regulate[s] include electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies.” It regulates private companies which provide certain services (like PG&E), but not all companies. For example, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) does not fall under CPUC control.

What this means is if you attempt to sue a public utility that is regulated by the CPUC, you could find that the laws tend to favor the agency over the consumer. You are going to need an experienced LA utilities lawyer to help you with your claim, and to ensure that the right parties are identified and named in your claim.

If you or someone you know was a victim of a public utility accident resulting in a wildfire or gas leak, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for:

  • Personal injury
  • Property damage
  • Damage or loss of residential structures
  • Cost of evacuation
  • Loss of earnings
  • Other losses

If a gas, electricity, water or other public utility company has treated you unfairly or caused you harm, it is important to understand your legal options.

Our Successes

Class action settlement on behalf of consumers against Epson America, Inc. for installation of a “smart chip” in its printers that shut down when there was still a substantial amount of ink left on the cartridge.


Request a Free Consultation Today

Are local public utility companies responsible for the recent California wildfires?

In November 2018, McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) and the City of Los Angeles on behalf of victims of the “Creek Fires” after the utility company’s electrical long-distance transmission lines ignited 15 miles of widespread fires.

The lawsuit alleges that LADWP negligently installed and maintained its electrical equipment for the area with disregard to the known wildfire risks, as well as failed to heed high wind weather warnings from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (“CalFire”) and the National Weather Service to safeguard the impact to the overhead power lines. The plaintiffs involved have suffered economic and non-economic damages, including extreme property damage and loss, personal injury, emotional distress and more.

PG&E has been blamed for the deadly Camp Fire in 2018

California state fire officials have determined after a six-month investigation that PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) power lines in the high hills of Butte County were responsible for starting the devastating Camp Fire which destroyed 19,000 buildings and killed 85 people in an area the size of Chicago in early November 2018, according to a story featured in the Sacramento Bee.

Recently, McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP has:

  • Filed a class action on behalf of 188,000 people who were forced to evacuate their homes when an emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam began to fail. The lawsuit alleges that the California Department of Water Resources failed to maintain the spillway, which could have had devastating consequences for nearby residents.
  • Filed a lawsuit on behalf of victims of the 2017 Northern California wildfires against several defendants, including Pacific Gas & Electric, whose inadequately maintained power lines ignited several fires that exacerbated the ongoing blaze.
  • Represented three families who suffered serious health issues allegedly due to a toxic gas leak in Porter Ranch, California. Southern California Gas Company and Sempra Energy failed to inform residents about the leak in a timely manner, causing them to suffer health problems and forcing families to relocate.

If you have suffered health problems, financial setbacks or other personal injury due to the negligence of a public utility company, you may be able to pursue a legal claim, either as an individual or through a class action lawsuit. The knowledgeable Los Angeles public utility accidents lawyers at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP understand complex local, state and federal utility regulations, and we can determine the best strategies to hold negligent public utility companies accountable.

Schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles public utility accidents attorney today

If a gas, electricity, water or other public utility company has treated you unfairly or their negligence has caused you harm, it is important that you explore your legal options. McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP attorneys draw on 30 years of litigation experience to ensure that clients get the best possible outcome in public utility matters. Call us today at 310.474.1582 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.