In the wake of the devastating Lahaina wildfires in Maui, victims whose lives were upended are seeking justice. Much of the public’s outrage has been directed at the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), although other parties may share blame. The facts are still being uncovered as investigations continue. But in the meantime, Maui wildfire lawsuits are pending against HECO and potentially others.
Perhaps you lost property or suffered personal injury because of the wildfires. Maybe you even lost a loved one in the blaze. If any of these apply to you, then you deserve to know your legal rights. Contact Rueb Stoller Daniel if you experienced injury or loss due to the Maui wildfires.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the lawsuits being filed against HECO.
Why Might HECO Be Liable?
HECO has acknowledged that its power lines started the wildfires, albeit while pointing fingers at others. For instance, the company blames the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for rejecting a request for money to upgrade its infrastructure.
HECO also says that county firefighters prematurely determined the blaze to be contained. Finally, the company defends its decision to not shut electric down power, even though downed lines started the blaze. All of this suggests that several parties may be to blame, including HECO.
Could the Power Have Been Shut Down?
HECO arguably could have taken steps to implement a power shutdown plan even without state infrastructure funding. But it did not. Power shutdowns are useful where there are lines with the potential to fall over and spark a fire. Had a shutdown plan been implemented, maybe the pain and loss experienced by so many could have been avoided.
HECO has defended its decision to not shut down power. The company argues that doing so would have prevented water pumps from operating. That would have meant no water to fight the fires. In response, it’s been argued that fire hydrants would not have been necessary had a massive wildfire not been started. It’s evident that various parties will be blaming each other for some time.
What Will It Take to Hold HECO Liable?
Filing a lawsuit can force HECO, and potentially others, to be accountable for any negligent actions it may have taken. Investigations are underway now to determine who was responsible and to what extent. During litigation, even more evidence can be acquired by a formal process known as discovery. Regardless of who is ultimately liable, the best decision you can make now is to speak with our legal team.
What Damages May Be Available?
Every lawsuit is different, and the available damages will depend on the specific facts alleged in each one. Depending on the circumstances in your case, you may be able to seek damages for:
- Personal injury
- The wrongful death of a loved one
- The loss of your home and/or personal property
- Damage done to your home and/or personal property
- Loss of and damage to business property
- Loss of business income
- Insurance coverage shortfalls due to coverage limits, uncovered possessions, high deductibles, and more
- Damages and expenses related to permitting and rebuilding costs
Is There a Time Limit to File a Maui Wildfire Lawsuit?
Civil lawsuits generally have time limits. You should speak to an attorney right away to learn what time limits may apply to the Maui wildfire lawsuits. In general, it is not recommended that you wait to take action. Evidence could be lost and settlements could be reached with other parties that you will want to be a part of. If you wait too long to file, your legal claim could be barred altogether.
Rueb Stoller Daniel Is Here to Review Your Case
Give our legal team a call today if you were impacted by the Maui wildfires. We can explain your rights, legal options, and the deadline to file a lawsuit. It may even be possible to reach a settlement with HECO and/or other parties who were responsible for the wildfires.