PG&E is supposed to keep trees trimmed at least four feet from its electrical lines. But it left a Douglas fir tree growing too close to its 12kV powerline at Bucks Creek. As a result, the tree leaned up against PG&E’s wires and started the Dixie Fire.
When a utility fails to comply with its tree trimming obligations, and as a result its electrical lines start a fire, the utility has to pay for the resulting damage.
Holding PG&E accountable is what we do. We sued PG&E on behalf of the survivors of the Camp Fire, the North Bay Fires, the Butte Fire, the Kincade Fire, and more. And we’ve won. At this point, we know more about PG&E’s internal policies and how they place profits over safety than even PG&E’s own management. And our track record against PG&E is very close to 100 percent.
Contact us to discuss what your claim against PG&E for the Dixie Fire might look like and how you can be made whole for your loss. There’s no cost and no obligation.
Q: PG&E went bankrupt. Do it have money to pay Dixie Fire survivors?
A: Yes. PG&E is now out of bankruptcy. It’s in good financial condition and is making a profit. PG&E reports that it has $300 million in private insurance coverage for the Dixie Fire. If that’s not enough, PG&E has access to a $21 billion state-sponsored insurance fund. PG&E has the ability to pay.
Q: The Dixie Fire is huge. Won’t PG&E just file bankruptcy again?
A: That’s unlikely. The whole purpose of the state-sponsored $21 billion insurance fund is to keep PG&E financially sound despite claims from fires like the Dixie Fire.
Q: How long will it take for Dixie Claimants to get any money?
A: In most of the cases we handled against PG&E before its bankruptcy, we had checks in our clients’ hands within 3 years from the date of the fire.
Q: Is this a class action?
A: No. In a class action, you are automatically involved unless you opt out. A wildfire is a “mass tort.” That means each person’s claim counts as an individual case. You need to hire a lawyer to be represented. If you win, you will be compensated according to your individual losses.
Q: Where will the claims be heard?
A: Most likely San Francisco, because that’s where PG&E is headquartered. We know the San Francisco judges well because San Francisco is one of our “home courts.”
Q: I read that, so far, only the attorneys have been paid in the Camp Fire. Will this case be any different?
A: The Camp Fire claims were sent to bankruptcy court. That’s why PG&E’s lawyers and the lawyer for the Fire Victims Trust were paid before the survivors. The Dixie Fire claims will not be brought in bankruptcy court and will not be paid from the Fire Victims Trust. And in any event, we never get paid until our client does.
Q: How long do I have to join a lawsuit?
A: Usually, two years from the date of the fire. But, all other things being equal, the first claims filed are the first ones settled. So it makes sense to get started sooner than later.
Q: I have insurance. Is it worth making a claim against PG&E?
A: In most cases, yes. Even the best insurance doesn’t cover all wildfire losses. Few policies, for example, cover the full costs of rebuilding. They don’t cover the costs of replacing trees. And they don’t pay more than market value of sentimental items like high school yearbooks, family heirlooms, and children’s artwork.
Q: I couldn’t get my cat before I evacuated, and he was lost in the fire. It’s the worst part of my loss.
A: When a pet dies due to the negligence of another, normally, the owner cannot claim any more than the pet’s market value. But when the pet dies in a PG&E fire such as the Dixie Fire, the law allows the owner to claim enough to fully compensate the owner for the all the owner’s emotional distress resulting from the loss of the animal.
Q: What will it cost for you to represent me?
A: We are paid a percentage of any settlement you receive at the end of the case. If there is no settlement, we absorb all of the costs of the lawsuit and are paid nothing for our work. We never ask you for any money out of pocket.
Q: After your fee is deducted from my settlement, will there be enough for me to be worth it?
A: Yes, because in cases like the Dixie Fire, PG&E must include in your settlement money to reimburse you for the attorney fees you incur in connection with your property loss claim.
Q: Why should I sign up with you instead of another law firm?
A: You should sign up with us because:
We’re real trial lawyers. We’ve taken PG&E to trial before. PG&E knows we mean business.
“The settlement results Mike and his team achieved far exceeded our expectations. If you are thinking about hiring this firm, run, do not walk. You will be in excellent hands.”
-Marilyn S., Fire Client