The Role of Punitive Damages if You Have Suffered Losses Due to the Camp Fire
Attorneys across all of Northern California are now helping many clients move forward with wrongful death claims and personal injury lawsuits against PG&E due to the devastating 2018 Camp Fire. They are alleging that the electric company caused one of the deadliest wildfires that happened in California history. Many individuals who have suffered losses at the hands of PG&E are concerned about how they will move forward and build their life again and are attempting to compensate for a variety of damages such as loss of property, medical bill payments, funeral costs for those lost, and more.
Another type of compensation that the lawsuit might introduce are known as ‘punitive damages,’ which you may or may not have heard of if you have started speaking with an experienced attorney. California actually forbids companies from getting insurance for punitive damages to attempt to protect themselves so that they won’t have to pay out if their negligence leads to horrific damages. According to many resources, PG&E failed to fix the issue before it turned into such a dangerous scenario and instead invested in insurance that would insure itself if the punitive damages became too large. But what are these damages and why are they important to so many individuals who have suffered?
Punitive Damages Appearing in the Camp Fire Lawsuit
If you are bringing a civil lawsuit for damages, your reason is probably to put yourself back into a position that you were before the accident. Many damages will reflect this, except for the fact that punitive damages are structured very differently. Punitive damages, instead of giving back, are introduced for the purpose of punishing a defendant for conduct that was outrageous and harmful. The court’s thoughts on punitive damages are that a defendant needs to be punished for the negligent steps it did or didn’t take on top of the compensatory damages they will be required to pay.
In most cases, these types of damages will put you in a much better position than you were in financially before the accident took place. These damages tend to also be quite controversial for this very reason. Plaintiffs have been known to receive extremely large payouts, even as much as multi-million dollar settlements, due to bringing a civil lawsuit for punitive damages. To ensure that plaintiffs do not put defendants in a difficult position of bankruptcy, the courts have placed statutory caps on how much money will be awarded for these types of damages.
PG&E could feel major impacts on its corporation if punitive damages are brought against them by those who have suffered harm. Investors have actually stated that they fear the company might not have the insurance to cover the losses and potential punitive damages it will face at the hands of the attorneys and plaintiffs working together during this time. As a result, many people including those bringing the lawsuit and those defending against it wonder how many will get paid the compensation they are owed.
If you have suffered the effects of the PG&E Camp Fire and now you are struggling to get back in a position of emotional and financial stability, you have many options. At the Brady Law Group, we stand by the victims of this terrible incident, including those who have suffered the loss of a loved one and wish to move forward with a wrongful death claim, to those who have suffered personal injuries and property loss due to the negligence of a major corporation. We are here for all 2018 Camp Fire victims during this difficult time. If you believe you want to move forward with a claim at this time, reach us as soon as possible at (415) 459-7300.