Power lines may have played a role in the recent wave of wildfires that have devastated parts of California. For many property owners who suffered losses and death due to the fires, as well as mud and landslides that followed heavy rains, the information may spark the interest of those seeking legal action. More than 50 lawsuits have been filed already and the number continues to grow.
The claim at the heart of the suits is that actions taken on the part of various electric utilities in maintaining power poles and lines resulted in conditions that allowed the fires to happen. Vegetation and trees grew uncontrolled and when severe storms swept through various regions, electrical sparks lit drought-ravaged foliage on fire.
It's important to keep in mind that while utility equipment is a common feature at the origin points of most of the devastating fires, there is no official determination that electricity caused the blazes. Still, under the complex theory of inverse condemnation allowed by California law, plaintiffs clearly are anxious to press their cases, perhaps reflecting concern that delaying action could make it harder to achieve the results to which they feel they are entitled.
If you are a home or property owner who has suffered a loss in the recent wildfires, the lack of a clear cause of the blaze is worth keeping in mind. At the same time, that doesn't mean your concerns deserve to be shelved pending the outcome of investigations. Speaking with a skilled property damage litigation attorney now is a way to allay fears and explore all legal options.