Chevron is accepting claims for people who have been injured as a result of the fire at its Richmond, California facility on August 6, 2012. According to Chevron, victims will be compensated for “out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the fire” Furthermore, Chevron is requiring victims to have received initial medical treatment by August 17, 2012 in order to be considered in their claims process.
First, in California, there is a two-year statute of limitations in which a person must file a lawsuit for personal injuries or wrongful death. California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1. Victims of this event need to be aware of their legal rights, despite what Chevron says, or what artificial timeline Chevron attempts to create regarding compensating its victims. Based upon Chevron’s statement that it will pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses only, it appears that Chevron has no intention of compensating victims for what they are fully entitled to under California law.
Under California law, an injured person is entitled to seek economic damages, as well as non-economic damages. CACI (Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions) Jury Instruction 3902. Items of economic damages can include past and future medical expenses, the cost of medical monitoring in the case of toxic exposure, past and future lost earnings. CACI 3903A, 3903B, 3903C. In addition, the items of non-economic damage an injured person is entitled to be compensated for include physical pain, mental distress, emotional distress, fright, anxiety and worry. CACI 3905A. Chevron appears to be offering some victims the cost of past medical expenses, only. Plus, Chevron apparently expects all medical treatment to be complete within two weeks of the fire incident. This is completely inadequate. Many of the victims of the Chevron fire in Richmond will need future medical care, and though they would be entitled to recover damages for those expenses under California law, Chevron is not recognizing future medical costs in their current claims process. Most importantly, Chevron does not appear to recognize the right of its victims to recover for non-economic damages, the value of which may easily exceed to cost of medical expenses.
If you or someone you love has been affected by the Chevron fire in Richmond, California, please contact the Brod Law Firm for a free consultation. At the Brod Law Firm, we fight for the rights of all of our clients, and each one of our clients is important to us.