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Lahaina Wildfire Victims Sue Hawaiian Electric For 100+ Dead

WildfireEarly in August 2023, a series of severe wildfires gripped the island of Maui. The news story is evolving by the day, with new reports of missing and confirmed fatalities coming in each day. The town of Lahaina has suffered heavily from the fires, with a report from NBC News citing more than a thousand total dead and missing. The victims allege that the fatalities are rooted in years of systematic negligence by Hawaiian Electric Industries (“Hawaiian Electric”). In particular, they claim that the company caused the fires by failing to de-energize its systems during hurricane conditions.

If those behind the case succeed in proving their allegations, other Lahaina victims will also be entitled to justice. While injuries, property damage, and lost loved ones cannot be undone or replaced, compensation can help you bear these burdens. At the law firm of Console & Associates, P.C., we’re dedicated to helping victims of corporate negligence and informing them of their rights. Learn more about the case as it evolves by calling 866-778-5500 or filling out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

Did Hawaiian Electric Cause the Lahaina Fire?

In advance of the Lahaina fires that began on August 8th, 2023, weather reports had forecast extreme winds. These could damage electrical systems and set off fires in the process, then spread the fires elsewhere. While a cause has not yet been proven, one theory is that the fires started with fallen power lines.

There is precedent, as faulty storm preparations in the electrical system have caused serious wildfires in Hawaii as recently as 2018. Multiple press releases that Hawaiian Electric released in the years since have stated its dedication to storm-hardening measures. However, the lawsuit alleges that the actions promised have not been taken.

If this theory is true, then the Hawaiian Electric lawsuit may be able to prove negligence on two counts. First, it could indicate a lack of storm-hardening measures that could prevent downed electrical lines from leading to fires. Second, it could indicate that Hawaiian Electric had failed to de-energize its systems despite the early warning of imminent gale-force winds.

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Storm Hardening Measures Hawaiian Electric May Have Neglected

There are many different measures that a company can take to harden the electrical system. The exact measures vary based on the individual company and the local conditions. However, some measures that could prevent fires like this include:

  • Reinforcing poles with guy wires and replacing weak poles
  • Burying power lines
  • Trimming vegetation around power lines
  • Elevating substations

Utility companies sometimes neglect these measures to cut costs, despite the fact they’re essential to managing storm risks. Proving that Hawaiian Electric did or did not undertake these measures will play an important role in reaching a verdict.

What Damages May Be Available to Families Affected by the Lahaina Fire?

No Fee PromiseAccording to Forbes, more than 1,300 people are missing and 114 dead in the Lahaina Fire. Likewise, more than 2,000 businesses and homes have reportedly burned down. In cases of wrongful injury, wrongful death, and property damage, there’s a question of economic and non-economic damages. These will result in varying levels of compensation for people with different claims against Hawaiian Electric.

Economic Damages: Economic damages deal with quantifiable monetary loss. For property, this covers the value of the property as well as lost income related to the tragedy. Economic damages for wrongful injury or death typically cover medical and funeral expenses. Additionally, they can include lost income to the injured or dependents of the deceased.

Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages cover all of the unquantifiable, but no less real costs of tragedy. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of companionship are examples of relevant non-economic damages.

About Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. is a Honolulu, Hawaii-based energy company that provides electricity for 95% of Hawaiians. The company has roughly 3,350 employees and annual revenue of approximately $3 billion. If you or a loved one suffered as a result of the Lahaina fires, learn more about the Hawaiian Electric lawsuit by calling us at 866-778-5500 or filling out our online form.

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