Tag: Daniels Law

Wrongful death from a California wildfire

Deaths related to fires are always tragedies. Sometimes, there is no one who can be held accountable in court. Other times, there is an individual or entity legally responsible for the death of a loved one. In a natural disaster such as the fires in California in 2020, do not assume that no one is liable for the tragic death of a loved one. Investigations may find that a person or company has contributed to the wildfires, giving a family member cause to file an unlawful death claim. Daniels Law can help with these claims.

The tragic loss of life caused by other people’s negligence or recklessness cries out for justice. A Cal Fire report found PG & E Co. equipment as the cause of the  Zogg Fire, and further investigations are underway.

If investigations show that a power company or other person or entity could reasonably have prevented a wildfires with due care, surviving family members of the deceased may have reasons to file wrongful death claims against the person responsible. A death is “wrongful” if the actions of a person or organization result in death. Negligence, wanton disregard for the safety of others, and intentional injury can all result in an unwarranted death. You will need the help of a lawyer to determine whether your case has merit as a wrongful death lawsuit after a California Wildfire. Continue reading “Wrongful death from a California wildfire”

Brain injury from a fall or accident causing personal injury

A blow to the head is a serious matter.

It could be a car accident, or maybe a trip / slip / stumble and fall.

The human skull does a pretty good job of protecting the human brain.

But it doesn’t protect perfectly.

So we see people with brain injuries of all kinds. The obvious injuries are where the skull is broken, when you can see brain tissue through an open wound, which is pretty good evidence that the brain is injured.

What many people do not know: Sometimes people suffer a brain injury even with the skull intact.

Many of these are so-called “acceleration injuries.” This means that a blow suddenly pushes the head in one direction, and when the head stops moving, the brain tissue inside does not. Continue reading “Brain injury from a fall or accident causing personal injury”

Three key principles in total loss wildfire insurance claims 

If you suffer a disaster such as a total loss from wildfire and need to claim on your insurance, consider these three principles:

Get a copy of your policies and read them.

Insurance always starts with a written policy, so the first thing to do when you get ready to make a claim is to get a copy of any policy that might cover your damaged property and read it through from front to back.

If you do not have your insurance policy forms because they have been lost, destroyed or are otherwise unavailable, you will need to obtain a policy reconstruction from the insurance company. Ask your agent or go directly to the insurance company’s policy services department. If you cannot remember who your insurance company is, you will need to do a little detective work. Start with your checking account. A check of your bank records may well lead you to any insurer that could provide insurance coverage for your damaged property.

Check your coverages.

Your insurance policy covers certain types of losses and excludes protection for others. That’s why it is important to get a copy of the contract right at the start.

A problem that often occurs after a catastrophic loss is the damaged property is not fully insured. Where a broker or broker advises you professionally on appropriate coverage or binds coverage based on their own professional expertise, you may have a claim for professional negligence if the property is not insured to its full value.

Watch out for Time Limits

Property insurance policies generally have their own deadlines, known as “limitation periods,” and the period during which legal action must be filed to enforce the contract is frequently shorter than the period applicable to a simple written contract.

If in doubt, consult a lawyer about the time limits for your claim. Be proactive. Once you have suffered a loss, a clock ticks somewhere that could limit your ability to claim back the insurance benefits.

 

Additional living expense coverage basics for a total wild fire loss

A few words from Daniels Law partner, Bill Daniels:

When we had a house fire in 2009, our big problem was what to do with the horses.

We have lived on a small horse farm in the San Fernando Valley for about thirty years. My wife Cheryl is a serious animal person.

So when the fire burned down our house, it threatened to scatter our entire family and also all our pets and livestock.

The tally back then, if I recall, was a quarter horse gelding, two Arabian mares, a retired blind pony, two pygmy goats, three domestic cats, four Labrador dogs (two black, one brown and one white) and one domestic rat.

Imagine you are looking for a rental home to relocate this crowd and you have an understanding of the predicament we were in. Fortunately, we now had homeowner insurance that included basic fire protection. In addition to property damage services, there was something known in the insurance industry as “ALE.”

The ALE coverage is intended to reimburse you for the additional costs you incur as a cause of a damage. In our case it was the house fire. Continue reading “Additional living expense coverage basics for a total wild fire loss”

Hiring a contractor after a total wild fire loss in California

Probably the best tip we can offer on the contractor’s hiring front is to check a builder’s license or the registration of a home improvement vendor to see if the candidate you’re thinking of has problems in the past that could point to problems in the future.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board is a good place to start. This is a website where you can verify a contractor’s license online. Googling “Check Contractor License California” should transport you easily to the Board’s license check page, where you can search for license number, company name, personal name, etc.

Previous testing of a license can save many problems in rebuilding your property. We learned this the hard way after hiring a paver contractor years ago to repave a driveway. It was only after the contractor broke his contract and that we realized that we were not his first victim. If we had known about the license check website, it would have saved us a lot of trouble.

A license check also helps you avoid hiring an unlicensed contractor, which is a known hazard after catastrophic fire damage. Contractor licenses are designed to protect the public from unscrupulous souls; do not be tempted to ignore this protection. The state licensing office also publishes a checklist for homeowners to download and follow. Continue reading “Hiring a contractor after a total wild fire loss in California”