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Californians faced wrongful death filing deadlines for wildfires

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2020 | Wrongful Death

It does not take much to spark a raging wildfire in California. Once it gets started, it can burn for weeks and take lives. Homes go up in flames and people at nearby campgrounds may find themselves trapped in the fire. These are just some of the gruesome ways Californians became injured and lost their loved ones over the years in wildfires. Some of these fires were caused by malicious people, but in the past few years, a power company faced accountability for several of the worst ones.

What many people do not know is that they may have a very limited span of time to file for compensation. For instance, last October, NPR shared that the deadline for filing claims against the power company was coming up in a matter of days. Yet, only roughly half of the eligible victims had completed the process. One of the reasons many people did not file a claim is because they were still grieving their losses.

One reason for the deadline is that the power company filed for bankruptcy. The company, therefore, had a limited amount of time to clear up any outstanding debts, including from personal injury claims, to go through is bankruptcy proceedings. To this end, it sent out several notices on the radio, through snail mail and on social media, encouraging people to come forward.

While not specifically related to the wildfires, NBC points out a second factor that can sometimes put people on a strict deadline: statute of limitations. In its simplest form, this means that people have a limited time to report a crime or seek damages related to personal injury. In California, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years.