The homeowners, a father and son, also ran a business from their property. They fought the Tubbs Fire and as it surrounded their area, they were the last to leave besides their neighbors, who died in the fire. While evacuating, they witnessed some awful scenes. Afterwards, the father suffered emotional distress and declining health.
The fire destroyed their home, property, and business. They lost all their accounts payable records that were stored on computer, along with $100,000 worth of tools. In order to resume work, they had to buy new tools and a truck.
The property contained over 40 mature oaks, sequoia and dawn redwoods, and fruit trees including 5,000 dwarf orange trees, plum, fig, apple, and pear trees. It also comprised concrete flatwork, a lawn with irrigation, landscaping flowers, ground cover, and stonework that incorporated $25,000 of materials. After the destruction, erosion was a major concern; to prevent runoff and control erosion, they installed straw wattles and a silt fence, for which they paid out of pocket.
The homeowners had great difficulty getting fairly compensated for their losses by their insurance company, which offered to pay only $32,000 for trees and landscaping. The required code upgrades to rebuild the house cost $200,000 but insurance would pay only $62,000. The total cost of rebuilding the house was at least $400,000 more than the insurance would pay. Furthermore, the father and son lost a collection of 17 classic cars, hot rods, and motorcycles in the fire, and the insurance company refused to pay.
Appalled by the way they were treated, the son came to our firm seeking help in changing the insurance company’s position. On the homeowners’ behalf, we challenged the insurer’s decisions, and we succeeded in securing a settlement of over $2.6 million to help meet their costs and relieve some of their stress.