Legal Guides

California Wildfires: When Do You Qualify For A Lawsuit?

California Wildfires

Wildfires are a natural part of life in California. But they can also be devastating to our homes and lives. In 2022 alone, California saw a total of 7,641 wildfires, totaling about 363,917 acres across the state.

As a result, many people have been left without their homes or belongings. The good news is that you may be eligible for compensation if you suffered an uninsured loss.

Here’s what you need to know about filing a lawsuit after a wildfire:

Who Are The Liable Parties?

The first thing to understand is who can be held liable for your damages. If you have property damaged by a wildfire, many parties can be sued for compensation.

The list includes:

  • Government entities like state and local governments
  • Private land owners/occupants
  • Utility companies

The recent most famous case of a utility company sued for wildfire in California was PG&E Pacific Gas & Electric. According to the Los Angeles Times, the utility giant reached a settlement of USD 117 million in connection with the North bay fires in 2017 and the campfires in 2018.

Are You Qualified To File A Lawsuit?

Qualified To File A Lawsuit

To use, you must have suffered damage from the wildfire. This means that your home or property was damaged, or you lost valuable items because they were destroyed by the fire. You may also be able to sue if your business was harmed by the wildfire.

You must have been in the area of the wildfire when it started. If you weren’t in its path when it first ignited, there’s a good chance that your lawsuit will be rejected because this means you did not suffer any losses as a result of being exposed to smoke from burning trees and other materials.

You can learn more about filing a wildfire lawsuit in California by contacting an attorney.

What Is The Deadline For Filing A Wildfire Lawsuit?

It’s important to know that there is a deadline to file wildfire lawsuits. You have 2 years from the date of the wildfire to sue for damages. Some people who suffer injuries or property damage from wildfires may be able to get an extension if they can prove their injury was caused by smoke inhalation or other problems related to the fire.

There are also exceptions based on where and how long it took investigators and accident investigators who work for insurance companies and government agencies to collect evidence about how fires started.

What Are Your Damages?

What Are Your Damages?

According to Bankrate, between 2021 and 2022, wildfires accounted for more than USD 11.2 billion in damages across the U.S.

You can sue if you were injured or suffered property damage in a California wildfire. You may have many different types of damages, including:

  • Property Damage: If your home or another property was destroyed by fire, you may be entitled to compensation.
  • Medical Bills: If you had to go to the hospital because of smoke inhalation or other injuries from the wildfire, you could sue for reimbursement for your medical expenses.
  • Lost Wages: If your job was affected by the fire and caused you to miss work, then you might be able to recover lost wages from an employer who isn’t paying their employees during their time off work due to the wildfire.

How Do You Prove Your Damages?

To obtain compensation, you should provide as much information about your losses as possible. You should also provide evidence to back up your claims.

This includes:

  • A detailed description of your damages e.g., how much money you lost and how many days you were out of work.
  • Evidence that supports these numbers e.g., canceled checks, wage statements, receipts
  • A detailed description of the cause of your damages e.g., “I was unable to work at my job because of smoke from nearby fires”
  • Evidence that supports this claim

How Do You Prove The Cause Of Your Damages?

To be eligible for a lawsuit, you must prove the following:

  • Evidence of negligence. You’ll need evidence that shows a party was negligent in causing the fire. This may include eyewitness testimony or photos showing negligence on another person’s part.
  • Evidence that your damages were caused by the wildfire. If you suffered property damage as a result of a wildfire, you’ll need proof that your damages were specifically related to that individual fire and not any other fires nearby.


In the end, it’s important to remember that this is not an exact science. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to determining if you have a legitimate cause of action against someone or something for their negligence.

Each case is unique, with its own set of facts, so only an experienced attorney can tell you whether or not you have a strong enough case to take on in court.


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Abdul Aziz mondol
Abdul Aziz Mondol is a professional blogger who is having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of his professional commitments, he loves to share content related to business, finance, technology, and the gaming niche.

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