What Damages Can You Claim If You Have Been Involved in a Wildfire?

April 5, 2022

Every year, wildfires lead to billions of dollars worth of losses in California. If you have experienced damage to your property, loss of property, or have been personally injured due to the effects of a wildfire, you may be entitled to compensation. The payment you receive will depend on the extent of the losses you suffered from the fire. If you’re unsure if your damage or losses can be included in a claim, a San Diego wildfire attorney can help you determine the value of the wildfire damage, create a list of the injuries, and seek rightful compensation.

Property Damage

According to the Insurance Information Institute, property damage is the most significant effect of a wildfire. In 2020, it was reported that 4.3 million acres of land were destroyed or damaged because of wildfires. 

Some of the most common property damage suffered in wildfires include:

  • Landscaping damage
  • House structural damage
  • Business premises damage
  • Agricultural damage
  • Vehicle destruction
  • Damage to family heirlooms, electronics, and other possession

To be considered a victim of wildfire property damage those mentioned above must have been caused by flames, soot, mudslides, or water. Even if the wildfire does not entirely ruin your structure, smoke, water, and fire may be enough to cause significant and irreversible property damages. 

YouR property also includes things like livestock or domestic animals. You could be entitled to property damage compensation if you have lost them as well. 

Smoke-related Losses

The smoke from a wildfire contains fumes and chemicals that can cause many complications. Breathing in the smoke may cause:

  • Eye irritation
  • Heart failure
  • Bronchitis
  • Respiratory tract infiltration

If you have experienced one or more of these symptoms due to exposure to smoke caused by a wildfire you might be entitled to compensation. 

Physical Injuries

Wildfires may cause several severe physical injuries, some of which can completely ruin your life or make it difficult for you to return to daily tasks that you once enjoyed. If you are or have experienced any of the following you could be entitled to compensation:

  • Burns
  • Smoke-related injuries
  • Amputations
  • Respiratory system damage
  • Damage to ligaments and muscles
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Blast injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement

You may receive financial compensation for ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. You can also be compensated for any future medical treatment resulting from injuries acquired during a wildfire. Make sure you keep a copy of medical records to support your wildfire compensation claim. You may also receive compensation for lost wages or time lost due to the injuries or damage caused by the wildfire.

Emotional Damage

If you have been involved in a wildfire, you can list all emotional injuries you sustained after the incident. These include but are not limited to: 

  • Pain and suffering
  • Depression
  • Annoyance and discomfort
  • Mental distress
  • Psychological trauma
  • Loss of consortium

Receiving a diagnosis from a psychiatrist or health care provider can help you establish a strong claim. If you receive a diagnosis from a medical professional, please keep those documents and present them to your attorney. 

Wrongful Death

In the event of a loved one dying as a result of a wildfire, you are eligible to receive compensation. You and your family might be eligible for compensation if the loss of the loved one has affected any of the following areas:

  • Related health issues 
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost spousal income
  • Parental guidance 
  • Parental support
  • Family pain and suffering and consortium

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for wrongful actions. A judge might award these damages together with compensatory damages if the damage was caused by the victim’s extreme recklessness, intentional harm, malice, or fraud.

Obtaining Legal Advice is Essential for a Wildfire Victim in California

California laws offer a plethora of outlets for wildfire victims to achieve financial recovery. If you or your loved one have been affected by a wildfire, San Diego wildfire attorneys from Laureti & Associates are ready to help. Get in touch with us today to discover how we can help you get the rightful compensation.

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