CA Attorneys Offering Free Legal Help To Wildfire Victims

California attorneys are banding together to provide pro-bono legal aid for victims of the the state’s wildfires. Contact info here. American Association for Justice, Consumer Attorneys Of California, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, and United Policyholders are all helping out, as well as some individual attorneys. Filing insurance claims can sometimes require the assistance of a lawyer to make sure you’re getting the full policy amount.

Southern California Fire Legal Help [Consumer Attorneys Of California] (Thanks to Eric!)
(Photo: CNN)

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  1. Sidecutter says:

    OK, who are they going to sue, exactly? I don’t think wildfires take kindly to summons printed on paper.

  2. kenposan says:

    that’s all well and good, but if you listen to Fox News this is all terrorist related and wouldn’t be covered by insurance because it is deemed an “act of war”.

  3. waxigloo says:

    They will probably end up suing the insurance companies when the big insurers try to back out of their agreements like they did after Katrina. Insurance is only fun for them when they can take money and no one is filing claims.

    I know firms in Minneapolis offered free legal counsel to victims of the bridge collapse. But they could sue the state over that:
    [www.rkmc.com]

  4. sporesdeezeez says:

    @Sidecutter: Their insurance companies, I would think?

    This kind of thing has got to be an actuarial nightmare (aside from a genuine nightmare for the victims). I don’t really recall – how did insurers react to Katrina? I don’t know if this is a comparable level of devastation or not, but in any case it’s probably overwhelming for most claims departments. Will they treat claims like they normally would, or do insurance companies have a “disaster mode” where they lower their investigation standards to expedite? Just a curiosity, anyone with insider information reading?

  5. OldSpinDoc says:

    Trial lawyers banding together to “assist” victims of a natural disaster.

    So much easier than burning those calories chasing ambulances…

  6. ArtDonovansLoveChild. says:

    @sporesdeezeez: The reason the Katrina lawsuits are happening are twofold. One, the insurance companies called the damage FLOOD damage rather then HURRICANE damage, at least in the New Orleans area. Other parts of the region had a lot fewers problems with insurance since there it was called HURRICANE damage. The issue is, most policies did not cover flood damage, unless you got a seperate rider for it, and people didnt bother spending extra for it. The second batch of lawsuits are against the various governments that screwed up along the way.

    We arent going to see either type, since nearly all policies cover fire, and the government was VERY organized in reacting to this. This lends a lot of weight to the claims that the local government was the main problem with getting help in New Orleans. The lawyers are just going to be helping people expedite the process I would assume, and a few are going to be looking for that “BIG SCORE” lawsuit.

  7. forever_knight says:

    i really think we should start thinking about long-term planning when it comes to our communities. it’s about responsibility.

    want your house on top of a secluded hill 1/4 mile from the development below you? fine. but don’t expect us to send the firemen to save your house. they can be saving an entire development instead.

    same with new orleans (ducks). people were called racist (by the actual racists) by suggesting that the lowest points of New Orleans maybe shouldn’t be re-built. the lowest points fill up with water first, so if—when there is another problem, it won’t be the same thing all over again. it’s just common sense.

    live in the middle of the desert (looking at you LA), don’t expect to have lush green yards because your community can’t support that level of consumption of use of its water sources.

    want to do some extreme skiing on a mountain? fine, but expect a bill for helicoptering you and your frozen, dead buddy out of there 2 days later.

    end responsibility rant.

  8. forever_knight says:

    @ArtDonovansLoveChild.: in reality, most of the damage was due to water / flood and not the actual storm. next time, spend that extra $50 a year.

  9. clickertrainer says:

    Won’t the attorney still get a cut of any settlement?

  10. jeff303 says:

    @forever_knight: Your post made me stand and cheer

  11. stein5830 says:

    As a note for any who are concerned. I am licensed and bonded public insurance adjuster in FL (for the people who get screwed by insurance companies). Public insurance adjusters are the ones who represent the public against the insurance companies. For a % of any claim a public adjuster can almost assuredly allow the homeowner to be able to recoup more money from the insurance companies. It is very sad every home owner signs a contract with an insurance company to help replace their home and contents in the event of a loss, but insurance companies routinely screw over home owners by paying them less that the damage is valued at (I would say 1 in 10 is paid out properly). As such an attorney or P.A. can almost guarantee a greater settlement after their services. Yes this is for a % of the claim, but you will always be left with more money than before the PA or lawyer became involved. BUT IF YOU HOME BURNS DOWN IT IS A TOTAL LOSS, MEANING THE INSURANCE COMPANY HAS TO PAY OUT BASED UPON THE LIMITS IMPOSED BY THE POLICY. THERE IS NOTHING TO NEGOTIATE. NO LAWYER OR PA IS NEEDED FOR THIS. The laws are different in CA but it is most probably the same as here. Don’t get sucked into a scam and allow a PA or lawyer to take money they have no right to. Only sign up with a PA or lawyer if the claim is not a total loss.

  12. live in the middle of the desert (looking at you LA), don’t expect to have lush green yards because your community can’t support that level of consumption of use of its water sources.

    @forever_knight: Hell, you don’t need to be in a desert for that. Take a look at the drought in the Southeast.

  13. EtherealStrife says:

    Don’t forget about the fires caused by arson. Couldn’t that be brought up in civil for damages not covered by insurance?

    @forever_knight: Yea most of the people losing their homes are in idiotic locations (with the exception of a few communities in SD). Wildfires are essential for the local ecosystem, and these folks are shocked when their remote ranches or hillside villas are in flames.
    Start the countdown to mudslides. /rant

  14. Hoss says:

    I believe the ABA defines pro bono as services to indigent folks (and charitable enterprise). A homeowner is not indigent.

  15. EtherealStrife says:

    @Hossofcourse: When their homes and all worldly possessions are ash and insurance money is held up, what else would you call them?

  16. Hoss says:

    @EtherealStrife: relatively lucky, actually. I know the moviations of lawyers. There are lawyers that spend countless hours helping the issues of immigrants, sexual trafficing victims etc. Then there are the vast majority that want to be seen as charitable. In this case, they probably are offering help with compensation to follow when insurance pays

  17. Hoss says:

    @Hossofcourse: moviations = motivations

  18. vanilla-fro says:

    They are OFFERING free help, but will they actually provide free help? I’m sure there will be some money getting into their hands one way or another.

    Besides, there isn’t going to be much to sue about just as some earlier comments have said. No need to sue right away, wait and see if you need to. Most policies will cover these fires, even if it is arson. I doubt the terrorist stuff will stand.