marcus-kauffman-408760-copy-300x232California has had a tough year, experiencing a record number of wildfires, some of which began due to natural causes and others that began based on an individual or business’s negligence. In October 2017, there were approximately 250 individual wildfires that began across the northern portion of the state. These burned more than 245,000 acres, destroyed more than 8,900 structures, killed 44 individuals, and hurt hundreds of people. Now, in December, the southern portion of the state is facing significant fires.  

If your home has been damaged or destroyed by a wildfire, you need to be clear on your responsibilities. Going through the insurance claim process can be difficult, particularly if you fight for your maximum possible recovery. However, there is help. You may benefit from working with a public insurance adjuster or contacting an experienced attorney like those from Brod Law Firm.

Current California Fires

wojtek-witkowski-558-copy-300x172Around 5 a.m. on Saturday, December 2, Daniel Berk, 32, collided with a Bay Bridge tollbooth while driving a rented box truck. Berk was seriously injured and remains hospitalized in Oakland. The passenger of the truck and the drivers and passengers of five other vehicles were treated and released from the hospital.

The tollbooth operator, Si Si Han, 46, was killed in the crash. Han had worked as a tollbooth operator for almost a decade. She leaves behind her husband and a 10-year-old daughter.

Authorities determined that Berk was intoxicated at the time of the accident. He appears to have been driving between production jobs as the rented truck contained lighting and sound equipment.

a-l-117960-copy-300x198On Saturday, November 25, four individuals were killed in a hit-and-run accident on I-80 in San Pablo, California. The collision was sizable, involving five vehicles and blocking all westbound lanes off I-80. The four individuals killed were a family from Napa Valley and included Daryl Horn, an active community member. The only Horn family member to survive the accident was Daryl’s eldest son. In addition to the four individuals killed in the crash, six others were injured.

The accident took place when Fred Lowe, 47, hit the Horn family’s Nissan sedan, which flipped over and crashed into oncoming traffic. Lowe was arrested later that night when he was involved in a second crash. Authorities reported that Lowe was intoxicated at the time and was driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI. Lowe has been charged with four counts of felony hit and run, a felony DUI, and driving on a suspended license.

The Criminal and Civil Aspects of the Accident

miguel-a-ramirez-18261-copy-217x300There are often controversies regarding jail and prison inmates’ rights. However, it is well established that all prisoners in state and federal facilities are entitled to receive adequate physical and mental health care. They are entitled to have their injuries, physical medical conditions, and psychological conditions reviewed by a physician, diagnosed, and treated. However, stories of negligent medical care in California facilities, some of which have led to inmate deaths, have gained more attention in recent years. Now it has come to light that the health care system within California’s prisons may be entirely inadequate to provide appropriate care.

If your loved one is currently incarcerated and is not receiving proper medical attention for a physical or mental condition, contact a San Francisco civil rights lawyer from Brod Law Firm right away.

Major Issues Despite Improvement

ant-rozetsky-444067-copy-300x169If your home was destroyed or significantly damaged during a California wildfire, you now face the difficult task of clearing and cleaning up your land before you can rebuild. Depending on your situation, this can be a significant challenge. Here is what you need to know.

There is Help

You may not be personally responsible for clearing your land. Cleaning up your property after a wildfire takes special equipment and preparation, which is why there is government help. You may not need to rent equipment or a hire a private company to come in. Instead, you need to determine the local agency that is coordinating with the California and federal government to handle both hazardous waste and debris and ash removal. You may need to work with this local agency to ensure that your property is taken care of.

zach-doty-371891-copy-300x201If your family has been displaced by the California wildfires and you do not have financial resources or family to fall back on, you may need a great deal of help. At Brod Law Firm, we want you to have access to all types of assistance. There are many organizations and individuals doing whatever they can to be sure you are safe and healthy so that you can rebuild. Below are a number of links to potential resources.

Living Arrangements

If you are still looking for a temporary or semi-permanent place to stay while you wait for your home to be repaired or rebuilt, go to:

dawn-armfield-66060-copy-300x225Kressa Shepherd, 17, passed away at the end of October due to burns she sustained from the wildfires that swept into Mendocino County, California. Kressa and both of her parents were badly injured by the wildfire, with burns covering a great deal of their bodies. Kressa suffered burns over more than 60% of her body. Her parents, Sara, 40, and Jon, 44, remain hospitalized. They have gone through several surgeries and will require a great deal more medical care in the months to come. Her brother was killed in the wildfire. With Kressa’s passing, the California wildfires in October have taken 43 lives.

Determining Responsibility for the California Wildfires

Responsibility for the California wildfires has yet to be determined. However, major utility company PG&E is under investigation by California’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for the blazes that devastated large portions of the state, including a great deal of the famed Wine Country. PUC is looking into whether PG&E’s maintenance, or lack thereof, of its equipment in Sonoma and Napa counties caused or played a role in the fires. Regulators are particularly interested in whether a lack of vegetation-related maintenance was an issue, such as not cutting back trees, bushes, and other plants.

ben-kuo-351000-copy-300x201As of Tuesday, October 24, there were nine active wildfires in California. This is down from the 250 wildfires the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has responded to since October 8. Cal Fire estimated that the remaining fires would be fully contained by the end of the week. However, the fires have caused mass destruction. They burned more than 245,000 acres, forced 100,000 households to evacuate, and destroyed 8,400 structures, including homes and businesses.

If your home suffered extensive damage or you lost your home entirely, you face a long journey of dealing with your homeowners’ insurance policy and rebuilding. While your insurer adjuster may by sympathetic and easy to talk to, you must remember that you and your insurer have contrary interests. Your insurer wants to fulfill their duties under your policy by paying the lowest amount possible. That is what is best for their bottom line. Your goal is to receive the maximum amount possible under your policy. Working with a San Francisco insurance lawyer at Brod Law Firm can protect your interests during the insurance claim process and help you get closer to rebuilding.

How an Attorney can Help

ben-kuo-351000-copy-300x201The U.S. has experienced significant damage due to wildfires this year. Sonoma County, California, is the latest area to be devastated. As of the morning of Oct. 18, the wildfires that began in the region on Oct. 8 had covered hundreds of thousands of acres. At the time, the Tubbs Fire was 91% contained. The Pocket Fire was 63% contained, and the Nuns Fire that is in both Sonoma and Napa counties was 80% contained. Full containment was expected by Friday Oct. 20. At this point, 42 people have been killed, approximately 22,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, and thousands of homes have been significant damaged or destroyed.

If you were affected by a California wildfire, you probably have a lot of questions. Other than working with your insurer, what else should you do? There are a few rights and responsibilities you should keep in mind during this time. If you are ever unsure of what to do next or simply need help, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced insurance lawyer at Brod Law Firm.

Pay Your Mortgage

chris-becker-781-copy-300x200Not every accident on the road involves a car or truck. Some collisions are between pedestrians and cyclists, particularly in cities where biking to and from work is common. San Francisco sees its fair share of pedestrian-cyclist collisions, which can lead to significant injuries for everyone involved. In September, a 24-year-old man on a bike collided with a teenage girl on Market Street. The girl was knocked unconscious and taken to a local hospital. The full extent of her injuries is unknown.

When individuals are injured in vehicle accidents, most know what to do next. Get a copy of the police report and file an insurance claim. If the accident is complex, the person calls an attorney. But what happens after a pedestrian-cyclist accident? If you were injured in this type of collision and you believe the other person was at fault, the best thing for you to do is contact our experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Brod Law Firm. We will determine whether an insurance policy applies to your situation or whether you should move forward with a personal injury suit.

Possible Insurance Coverage