A 2013 independent report issued to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) found that PG&E’s aging infrastructure presented “significant safety issues,” particularly in regards to poor weather conditions. The report also found that outdated PG&E electrical equipment was responsible for 135 fires in Sonoma and Napa Counties between 2011 and 2015.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one suffered losses in a PG&E wildfire, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
Update: PG&E Distributes First Checks to Wildfire Victims
September 9, 2019 – Payments from PG&E’s Wildfire Assistance Program (WAP) have begun to arrive for victims of the 2017 Northern California Wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire, according to KRCR-TV. The $105 million fund is intended to help those who are either uninsured or need assistance with alternative living expenses.
“Payments to eligible individuals and households started last Friday,” said program administrator Cathy Yanni. “We worked quickly to establish and file the eligibility criteria with the court so we could begin reviewing applications as soon possible. We urge people displaced by the fires with unmet needs to apply, particularly those currently without adequate shelter.”
Investigators Find PG&E Power Lines Sparked 2017 North Bay Fires
At least a dozen of the wildfires that ravaged northern California’s wine country in 2017 were started by PG&E power lines, according to Reuters. The blazes killed 46 people, scorched at least 245,000 acres, and incinerated nearly 9,000 homes and other structures, including entire subdivisions in the town of Santa Rosa. Dave Jones, California’s insurance commissioner during the crisis, set insured losses from the tragedy at $9 billion.
2018 Camp Fire
The wildfire that broke out in Butte County, California, on Nov. 8, 2019, and was later named the Camp Fire after Camp Creek Road, its place of origin, was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s modern history, killing 88 people, burning 153,336 acres, and destroying the town of Paradise. The event forced PG&E to declare bankruptcy, and made addressing wildfire liabilities a top concern for government officials.
PG&E faces criticism for keeping power on during California wildfire warning: CBSN Video
Which Fires Has PG&E Caused?
PG&E is facing tens of thousands of claims from the victims of more than 20 California wildfires, including:
- Atlas Fire (Napa and Solano Counties)
- Camp Fire (Butte County)
- Cascade Fire (Yuba County)
- Cherokee Fire (Butte County)
- Highway 37 Fire (Sonoma County)
- Honey Fire (Butte County)
- La Porte Fire (Butte County)
- Lobo Fire (Nevada County)
- Nuns Fire (Napa and Sonoma Counties)
- Pocket Fire (Sonoma County)
- Redwood Valley/Potter Fire (Mendocino County)
- Sulphur Fire (Lake County)
- Tubbs Fire (Sonoma and Napa Counties)
Please Note: This is not a complete list of fires alleged to have been caused by or contributed to by PG&E. If you suffered damages from a fire not on this list, please contact our lawyers at (866) 588-0600 to see if you qualify to file a claim.
California Wildfire Bill
On July 12, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that creates a $21 billion fund to help PG&E and the state’s other utilities cover liabilities arising from future wildfires caused by their equipment, according to Reuters.
PG&E in Jan. 2019 filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a legal process that involves the reorganization of a debtor’s business affairs, debts, and assets. Filing under Chapter 11 does not mean that PG&E is insolvent, and does not bar victims of fire damage from pursuing their claims. Instead, wildfire claims will now be resolved in bankruptcy court as part of PG&E’s reorganization plan.
Most Insurance Policyholders Not Covered For Total Loss
Many residents affected by the above fires were not adequately insured for the extensive losses caused by those incidents, according to United Policyholders. In fact, many insurance companies offer insufficient coverage for large scale disasters in order to set lower premiums for their customers.
Can I File a Class Action?
Although Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is a nationally recognized class action firm, we have decided against this type of litigation when it comes to PG&E fire lawsuits. Our lawyers feel that if there is a successful resolution to these cases, individual suits, not class actions will be the best way to get maximum payouts to our clients. If you’ve suffered a personal injury or property damage related to a PG&E fire, we know you’ve suffered emotionally and economically, and want to work with you personally to obtain the maximum compensation for all damages incurred. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights.
PG&E Wildfire Payment Plan Stalled in Capital
September 6, 2019 – PG&E’s major shareholders said on Friday that a bill the utilities company needs to pay wildfire victims was dead in the Legislature until next year, according to the Sacramento Bee. In a statement released by spokesman Steve Maviglio, the hedge funds that own half of PG&E’s stock, Assembly Bill 235 wasn’t going to pass in the final days of the legislative session, and would resurface in January.
“We are pleased that the bill will be in print but the timing was simply not,” Maviglio said. “Right to pass this legislation with just days left in the session. During the interim, we will continue to work to resolve the bankruptcy case and help PG&E fulfill its commitments. We will return in January with a renewed effort to getting this beneficial legislation the full and fair consideration it deserves.”
PG&E Rates May Increase From Wildfires
September 3, 2019 – PG&E’s customers may have to shoulder some of the burden from the recent wildfires in the form of higher monthly bills, according to the Press Democrat. Just how much more they’re going to pay is still uncertain, but the company has stated it is seeking double digit rate increases to cover damage from future fires. How much PG&E is looking for over the 2017 and 2018 fires hasn’t been finalized, as the utilities is still up in the air as to how much its liability will be.
Do I have a PG&E Fire Lawsuit?
The Personal Injury Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in PG&E fire lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has suffered losses in a PG&E wildfire, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.