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Maui Fire: What Damages Can I Claim?

September 11, 2023 Posted In

Those harmed by the Maui Fire can bring claims against HECO and the other defendants alleged to have started the Maui Fire. The claims can be for many different types of damages. Many fire survivors are understandably focused on recovering the costs of rebuilding their homes. However, there are many other types of damages available under the law. A fire attorney understands the many types of damages suffered by their clients and aims to recover all possible damages.

Common Damages for Homeowners and Renters

1. Real Property Damages (Available Only to Property Owners)

Property owners – with or without a home on the property – can seek compensation for the damage to their real property. This may include all efforts made to rebuild homes and other structures and to replace dead trees and landscaping. Rebuilding and cleaning up will be expensive. Since insurance is unlikely to cover all of these damages, the only avenue for many property owners is to seek to make whoever caused the fire pay the balance. Otherwise, it can be difficult to get your life back on track.

If the property was uninsured or had a policy that did not cover all of the losses, then it becomes even more essential to hire an attorney to pursue HECO if their equipment did indeed cause the fire.

Additionally, there are other losses that property owners can claim for loss of personal property (see below), not being able to use their property as intended, and, in some situations, damages for the drop in value of the property. Ongoing damages, for things like erosion, landslides, and having to deal with invasive weeds, may be possible as the lawsuit progresses.

2. Personal Property (Available to Property Owners and Renters)

Both property owners and renters can seek compensation for the loss of their personal belongings like clothes, furniture, kitchenware, and much more. In many cases insurance does not fully cover all the personal property losses and that is when it may be essential to get a lawyer. We seek to recover all aspects of personal property, including value for sentimental items like antiques, family jewels, and collectibles. These types of items typically require an extra rider on your insurance and, as a result, are rarely covered. Our goal is to make sure you are as fully compensated for your losses as possible.

3. Other Damages

Claimants rarely know that there is more to their losses than just the physical ones. As your attorneys, we also seek the following damages against HECO:

Emotional Losses and Medical Expenses

Fire survivors suffer several types of emotional distress. They suffer the loss of their home and all of the safety and security that it brings. They often suffer the emotional distress of fleeing for their lives. They also suffer nuisance and emotional distress that results from trying to rebuild both their lives and their properties.

We seek recovery for these different forms of emotional distress and any counseling and/or therapy expenses incurred.

Physical Injuries:

There are more causes of physical injury than just tripping and falling during an evacuation. Anyone who evacuated or suffered property damages can seek compensation for any injuries suffered – from smoke inhalation and eye irritation to broken bones and burns. Keeping a record of any medical appointments will be important.

Alternate Living Expenses

Fire survivors can also receive compensation for all the expenses that result from being displaced from their homes. It is important to document where you have stayed and to keep any receipts for things like hotels, food, or gas.

Loss of Income / Loss of Business Profits

Those displaced from their home and unable to return to work for a period of time because their property or their employer’s property was damaged or destroyed, are likely eligible for compensation. Tax and employment documents are likely needed to prove the loss.

Document your Damages

As your attorneys, we work with a team of experts to analyze and maximize the damages recovered. It is important that you document everything that is directly related to your losses as this sort of evidence will allow the experts and potentially a jury to understand all that you have lost. Gather photos of your property, track all your fire-related expenses, and create an inventory of the personal property lost to the fire.

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