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Whether or Not Your House Was Damaged or Destroyed: File a Claim by 12/31/19. Figure Out Later What Your Claim is Worth.

Updated 11/13/19:

Deadline extended to 12/31/19.

See https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10263771-181/pge-agrees-to-extend-deadline

If you are underinsured, please know:

  • This is a chance for uninsured and underinsured wildfire survivors to access money set aside specifically for them. This is NOT suing PG&E .
  • PG&E has set aside $8.4 billion to pay wildfire victims as part of its bankruptcy plan
  • Bankruptcy Court extended the deadline because it agreed that many wildfire victims are not aware of their right to file a claim
  • See https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10263771-181/pge-agrees-to-extend-deadline

Any reference below to 10/21/19 is now superseded.  The new deadline to file a claim is 12/31/19.

Think you don’t qualify to file a creditor’s claim in the PG&E Bankruptcy?  You may not realize you have a claim until after the 10/21/19 12/31/19 deadline, when it will be too late.
Please scroll down for more info, including info for those receiving public benefits.

Filing a Proof of Claim “holds your place” and gives you time to decide how you want to proceed.

Press Democrat:
PG&E HAS BILLIONS TO PAY WILDFIRE VICTIMS, BUT NOT IF THEY MISS MONDAY’S DEADLINE

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10180031-181/pge-has-billions-to-pay

“As many as 66,000 people hit by devastating wildfires could be careening toward another disaster: Missing out on what could be substantial payments from PG&E to help cover their losses.  Most people eligible for payouts haven’t yet filled out a three-page document that could provide life-changing financial help for a wide range of losses, even for those whose homes still stand, according to estimates by lawyers representing victims in the utility’s bankruptcy case. Due by 5 p.m. . . . 10/21/19 12/31/19, the claim forms are key to freeing up billions of dollars PG&E is required to set aside for wildfire victims in its evolving bankruptcy plan, which includes compensating people for damages, financial losses and even emotional distress caused from electricity-sparked fires. Instructions and a simple online form is available at restructuring.primeclerk.com/pge/EPOC-Index. For more information about the form, go to www.pgefireinfo.com. “Some people think they’ll get very little money,” said Jim Finn, who lost his Fountaingrove home in the 2017 Tubbs fire. “They think about those class-action lawsuit mailers that say you get a coupon and attorneys get millions. This is not like that. This is billions and billions of dollars for wildfire victims.” [emphasis mine]

Press Democrat:

Wildfire survivors support bid to seize control of PG&E ahead of Tubbs trial

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10137274-181/wildfire-victims-support-bid-to

“Billions of dollars in financial payouts will be provided to wildfire victims who file simple claims in bankruptcy court, and the argument before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali is over who gets to decide how much.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Statement

Most vulnerable in this [bankruptcy] are the wildfire victims who were uninsured, underinsured or have potential claims against the company for personal injury and wrongful death… [who] should not be left to fend for themselves . . . outnumbered by sophisticated and deep-pocketed financial institutions and insurance companies.” [emphasis mine]

Filing instructions and more information:

According to PGEFireInfo.com, many folks wrongly assume:

  • PG&E is broke (it’s not).

  • The payments will be small (they won’t).

  • They won’t live long enough to see any money (you’ll get paid within a year).

  • The claims process is complicated (it takes ten minutes and no lawyer necessary).

Anyone affected by the many fires that tore through California should file a claim. These relevant fires are: Atlas, Butte, Camp, Cascade, Cherokee, Highway 37, Honey, La Porte, Lobo, Mayacama, McCourtney, Nuns (which includes Adobe, Norrbom, Patrick, Pressley, and Oakmont fires), Pocket, Point, Potter/Redwood, Sullivan, Sulphur, and Tubbs fires. (2018 Carr Fire in Shasta/Trinity is not applicable in the PG&E Bankruptcy with respect to fire claims; but you may have other claims relating to PG&E.)

Claimants may complete the form and mail it, submit it online or walk it to a location listed here:  https://www.pge.com/en_US/about-pge/company-information/reorganization.page?WT.pgeac=Alerts_Reorganization-Jan19  Click on “Fire Claimants”

  • The claims process is simpler than many believe.
  • Claims are not limited to property damage; they include lost income, loss of community, emotional distress, and any costs incurred as a result of the fires that are not covered by insurance.
  • Victims do not need to hire lawyers and do not need to know the monetary value of their claim before filing.

If you receive public benefits:

Important information for anyone who has a fire-related claims against PG&E and is receiving public benefits such as SSI (Social Security disability benefits), Medi-Cal, IHSS (In-Home Support Services), HUD housing assistance, and other benefits with a needs-based test:

You can and should file a Proof of Claim in the PG&E bankruptcy (you don’t need an attorney to file).

But before you receive any payments you should work with an attorney to set up a “Special Needs Trust.”  The PG&E payments will come next year, so there’s plenty of time to set up the trust. If you are working with one of the fire attorneys, they should set that up for you as part of their services. If you don’t have a lawyer, you can check your local legal aid attorney referral service.  See a list of some legal aid offices in Northern California below.

Don’t miss out on getting what you deserve from PG&E because you are afraid of losing your benefits. A Special Needs Trust will preserve your benefits legally and effectively.

Here’s a link to more information about Special Needs Trust. The rules are technical, which is why you’ll need a lawyer to help you. https://ca.db101.org/ca/situations/workandbenefits/assets/program2d.htm

Click Here for More Info.

IMPORTANT:  PLEASE research the facts for yourself.  I am not an expert on this topic. 

I make no representations about the outcome of the bankruptcy, what fire survivors/fire-affected may receive from PG&E, the amount of work claimants will need to do after December 31, 2019. But you can change your mind after you file.  And you can hire/fire a lawyer after you file.

Some Local Legal Aid Offices:

Neighbors Together ~ Strong & Resilient (NTSR) [usually] does not provide any advice or endorse any service provider or agency. 

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