The Dixie Fire, one of the biggest wildfires in California history, has impacted thousands of Northern Californians. Although it was contained after burning over 950,000 acres (among the largest in state history), the community still feels its wrath as they deal with lingering effects such as smoke inhalation and property loss.
The financial losses of the disaster’s victims were immense. That being said, the victims of the Dixie Fire can hold parties responsible for causing the wildfire, such as PG&E, accountable for their negligence by filing a claim. We have compiled a list of eight tips to keep in when proceeding with this type of lawsuit. Read on to learn more.
Send a Demand Letter
A demand letter is a formal document outlining your injuries, losses, and the amount you are asking to compensate. This letter is typically sent to the defendant before filing a lawsuit. It gives them a chance to settle outside of court and can help to avoid a lengthy and expensive trial.
Hire a Qualified Lawyer
Filing a Dixie wildfire lawsuit is complicated, and you must have an experienced lawyer on your side. Look for someone who has dealt with similar cases in the past and who you feel comfortable working with. Ask questions about their experience, success rate, and how they would specifically handle your case. Only once satisfied with their answers should you move forward with retaining their services.
Know the Basics of Negligence
To win a Dixie Fire lawsuit, you and your lawyer must prove that the defendant (in this case, PG&E) was negligent. This means they did not uphold the duty of care they owed you as their customer. To do this, you’ll need to show that the company acted carelessly and that this led to the Dixie Fire. Consult with your lawyer to get more clarity on this.
Prove That the Defendant Had a Duty of Care
In other words, you’ll need to show that PG&E was responsible for keeping you safe from harm. This should not be difficult to do, as utility companies are required by law to maintain a certain level of safety for their customers.
Show That Defendant breached Their Duty of Care
Once you have established that the defendant owed you a duty of care, you’ll need to show that they breached this duty. Gather evidence that PG&E was careless in their actions leading up to the Dixie Fire. This could include failing to maintain equipment, not clearing vegetation around power lines, and more.
Prove That the Breach of Duty Led to the Dixie Fire
The next step is to show that PG&E’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the Dixie Fire. Without expert testimony and evidence linking the two events, you cannot prove this. Include eyewitness accounts, records of PG&E’s negligence, and more. Moreover, your lawyer may need to hire an expert to testify on your behalf. Talk to your lawyer to see if this is a viable step to take.
Show That You Suffered Damages in the Dixie Fire
No lawsuit is successful without proving damages and injuries on the victim’s side. The same holds true for the Dixie Fire. This could be anything from loss of property such as your home or business to more personal damages like emotional distress or mental anguish. It can also include physical injuries such as fractures and muscle strains. Keep records of your damages and their financial impact on your life. This will be crucial in proving the value of your claim.
Calculate Your Damages
After you have gathered evidence of the damages you suffered in the Dixie Fire, you’ll need to value them. This is important as it will help you determine how much money to ask for in your lawsuit. Consider medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and more. Place a dollar value on each of these damages and add them to estimate your losses. Once you have this figure, you can start working on your demand letter.
Filing a Dixie Fire lawsuit can be a complicated and overwhelming process. But with the right information and guidance, it doesn’t have to be. Follow the tips outlined above to give yourself the best chance at success. And be sure to work with a qualified lawyer who can help you every step of the way.