JUSTICE FOR ORDINARY PEOPLE

BUSINESS LOSS

Business Loss due to Wildfire
Wildfires have devastated towns and cities throughout California in recent years. Because the fires are no longer isolated to the high mountains, there is an increasingly disturbing trend gaining momentum –business losses due to wildfires.

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Business owners can find their entire life savings and livelihood burned away in minutes by fires that rage through populated areas. In many cases, the losses are total, with buildings, inventory, and more, all being lost.

For those who own businesses, the devastation is often doubled as their homes are destroyed as well in these same fires. BusinessInsurance.com discussed this issue in August of 2018: “The Carr wildfire in California has likely caused an estimated $1.5 billion in insured losses to date, foreshadowing another major wildfire loss event for insurers in the state, according to a report by Moody’s Investors Service Inc.”

This report was before the Camp Fire in Butte County that wiped out the entire town of Paradise and became the costliest wildfire in California history, both in terms of loss of life and loss of property. That was just one of dozens of devastating fires in 2018.

BUSINESS INSURANCE AND WILDFIRE

While business insurance covers businesses for fire, often it’s not adequate to cover the entire cost of everything that has been lost. Buildings, equipment, inventory, lost sales, and much more all need to be calculated into the losses. Many small and medium-sized businesses don’t have enough insurance to cover their entire losses. Also, most insurance policies don’t include coverage for the loss of income that results.

WILDFIRES ARE NOT “NATURAL DISASTERS”

As business owners, we always seek to find the cause of the problem and remedy it. In the case of California wildfires, one clear culprit emerges repeatedly, the power utilities.

For decades, the utilities have made a great deal of profits and have spread those profits around to shareholders. To maximize profits, many of these companies will only do the maintenance that’s necessary to keep the lights on, but will not do the proactive maintenance and upgrades needed to prevent sparking, arcing, and fires.

While dry conditions and high winds can cause a wildfire to grow exponentially, the cause of the fire is the spark that started everything. If it was a camper with an out-of-control campfire or a careless welder who sparked the grass, that person would be held accountable.

Attorneys, like the Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott, work to keep these powerful and wealthy utilities accountable by seeking damages in court for those affected by the fires. Naturally, the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) fight these claims and, in fact, are seeking to have legislation put in place to protect them from lawsuits and potential bankruptcy.

WHAT CAN A BUSINESS OWNER DO?

Of course, the most important thing is to get to safety and begin to put your life back together.

Then call a law firm, like the Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott, to join a legal action that will hold the utility accountable and get some compensation for the loss of everything you built.

Business losses will be in the billions from the 2018 fire season, compounding the damage done in previous years. It is possible for business owners to recoup some of their losses from the people whose neglect started the fires in the first place.

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Has your home or property been damaged by a fire? Have you been physically injured in a fire? Are insurance adjusters trying to take advantage of you during this difficult time? Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott can help you navigate the complexities of your unique fire case, represent your interests, calculate the appropriate value of your damages, and help you recover the fair and full compensation you may need to move forward with your life. Schedule your free case evaluation today.

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