Articles Posted in Fire Injuries

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

dawn-armfield-66060-copy-300x225In October of 2016, a fire broke out in a warehouse in Oakland, California. The warehouse, known as Ghost Ship, had been converted into an artist collective and was illegally home to numerous people. At the time of the fire, the warehouse was hosting a concert with about 50 guests. 36 people were killed. Now, two tenants of the warehouse have been arrested and charged with crimes in relation to the fire.

The Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire

Investigators could not determine the exact cause of the fire, which began on the first floor at around 11:20 p.m., however it is speculated that it may have begun with an electrical appliance. Investigators could pinpoint numerous factors that led to the significant number of fatalities. The warehouse did not have smoke detectors or any fire suppression system, like sprinklers. There were only two stairways in the warehouse and neither led to a direct exit out of the building. One of the stairways was built from stacked wooden pallets, which meant it likely began to burn while visitors and residents were attempting to escape. Additionally, because the dwellings within the warehouse were homemade out of random materials and were not organized with straight hallways, it was difficult for visitors to navigate the warehouse and find an exit.

Yearswildfire ago, if you asked someone to name the biggest meteorological threat facing California, they would probably have answered “earthquakes” without a second thought.  In recent years, however, two closely-related threats have risen to the top of the list – drought and wildfire.  Given the “wild” moniker, many people assume that they have little or no legal rights when a wildfire causes damage, injury, or loss of life.  This is not necessarily true and our California wildfire attorney helps ensure that wildfire injury victims recover money from insurers and, when there is a human cause, from those responsible for the blaze.

Wildfire Roars through Lake County

On Monday, San Jose Mercury News reported on a wildfire that is roaring through parts of Northern California.  The Lower Lake Fire, broke out on Saturday and quickly grew to cover 5 square miles, aided wildfirefightersby winds, bone-dry vegetation, and soaring temperatures that hindered firefighters’ efforts.  After seeming to calm later Saturday, wind gusts kicked up flames again on Sunday and the fire tore into parts of Lower Lake, a town of 1,200 located some 90 miles north of San Francisco.  Fire officials compared the blaze to a wave of water pouring over the city.  More than 100 homes were destroyed over the weekend and Cal Fire said thousands remain in the threat zone.

Many of us recall fire safety education that included the advice that you drop to the floor and crawl in the event of a significant blaze.  The reason behind the advice — Smoke inhalation is one of the biggest dangers in any fire and smoke rises.  Whether it is a home fire or a wildfire, smoke is always a threat.  When a fire is caused or exacerbated by human negligence (or all-out wrongdoing), victims of smoke inhalation in Northern and Central California can count on our San Francisco fire injury law firm for help recovering compensation for their injuries.

Doctors Report on the Danger of Smoke Inhalation from California Wildfires

wildfire2The dangers of smoke inhalation are becoming far too real for some California residents as our state faces yet another wildfire.  ABC7 reports that smoke from the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County has begun drifting north into San Jose and the South Bay area.  According to the article, doctors have been seeing an increase in patients complaining of eye and airway irritation as the haze has moved into the area.  One asthma specialist explains how the particulate matter in smoke impacts the lungs: “These are the small areas of the lungs, and the particulate matter can actually get down into the small airways of the lung and can cause asthma, mucous overproduction, wheezing, and can even cause decreased oxygenation to the blood.”

poisonBreathing is one of the most fundamental life-sustaining activities and one we typically do with very little forethought.  A fresh breath of air can not only nourish our bodies, but also center our minds.  Yet, far too often, our air is contaminated by a range of different toxins.  Hazardous airborne chemicals, including dangerous substances in the toxic gas released by burning plastics, can be harmful and even deadly.  As an Oakland toxic exposure law firm, the Brod Law firm works to get compensation for people made ill by air that was made toxic by human negligence or even intentional acts.

Safety Concerns Following Fire at Plastics Plant in Newark

There were many people expressing concerns about toxic air following a fire in Newark this past Friday.  SFGate reports that it took fire crews two-and-a-half hours to contain a two-alarm fire at a plastics recycling plant on the 6500 block of Smith Avenue.  According to the report, the plant used to house the Western Pacific Pulp and Paper Company which now subleases the building to AHG Recycling, a company that deals with plastics products.

From crashes to mechanical issues, tankertruckaccidents involving large trucks are always frightening and the danger is magnified when the truck is carrying hazardous materials.  Transporting fuel and other potentially dangerous materials is necessary, but it must be done with the highest concern for safety.  Hazardous materials truck accidents can claim lives and cause devastating injuries.  Our Oakland truck accident lawyer advocates for the victims of hazmat accidents helping ensure them recover compensation and holding those responsible accountable for the consequences of their actions and choices.

Diesel Tanker Truck Catches Fire in Vallejo

Thankfully, as the Vallejo Times-Herald reported, tragedy was averted in the case of a diesel truck fire in Vallejo this week.  Early Monday morning, the Vallejo Fire Department responded to a fuel tanker truck fire on Highway 37 near the Fairgrounds Drive exit.  Department officials told reporters that the double tires on the tanker caught fire, possibly as a result of a brake failure on a hill.  While the fire melted the aluminum surrounding the tires, firefighters were able to extinguish the fired before it breached the diesel tank.  Battalion Chief Urrutia said the fire would have been a much bigger, “ugly” incident had the flames reached the tank.  No injuries were reported and the truck’s load was transferred to a second tanker.