While the cause of the wildfires in Maui are still not known, Hawaiian Electric’s lack of preventative measures after a Red Flag Warning was issued by the National Weather Service has allegedly increased the magnitude of the damage caused to the island’s infrastructure, the loss of lives and the impact to local communities and visitors.
Red Flag Warnings alert fire managers on federal lands to conditions that are highly unfavorable for prescribed burns and that may lead to especially dangerous wildfire growth.
Red Flag Warnings are usually only issued during the spring and fall fire weather seasons, February 15 – April 30 and October 1 – December 15. When warnings are issued, officials know to curtail planned burns and to be on the lookout for wildfires.
As the company that “provides electricity for 95% of residents of the State of Hawaii on Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii Island,” Hawaiian Electric should know it was supposed to be on the lookout for wildfires and make the necessary preparations to minimize the damages, while protecting lives and properties. Now, the company and its affiliates are being investigated for their alleged lack of response after the National Weather Services issued warnings days before the fire.
Residents of Hawaii have filed lawsuits against Hawaiian Electric Company, arguing that the damage to the island could have been reduced if the utility company had taken preventive action and responded with more urgency to downed power lines.
According to claims, Lahaina, a town in West Maui, was destroyed by flames when Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiary Maui Electric Company failed to shut down power. Hawaiian Electric gave wildfire mitigation the lowest priority in a state regulatory filing in April.
If you have experienced any of the following as a result of the fires in 2023 Maui, you might be eligible to recover compensation in a lawsuit against the Maui power companies:
- Personal injury damages
- Death of a loved one
- Complete loss of home and/or personal property
- Damaged home and/or personal property
- Complete loss of business property
- Business property damage
- Insurance coverage short falls resulting from coverage limits, uncovered possessions, high deductibles, and so on
- Mandatory evacuation from your home
- Loss of business income
- Delay damages and expenses connected to permitting and rebuilding costs that are unreimbursed or inadequately covered
Lawsuits against Hawaiian Electric center on the premise that the utility company knew or should have known that Maui was a risk for wildfires and knew or should have known that extreme weather conditions would heighten those risks but failed to prioritize wildfire prevention and mitigation practices.
The compensation you or loved ones who suffered damages from a lawsuit against Maui Electric Company, Limited (“MECO”); Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (“HECO”); Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (“HELCO”); and/or their parent company, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (“HEI”) receives depend on the extent of your injuries and losses.
Some of the types of recoverable damages include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Past and future medical treatment
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Past and future pain and suffering related to injuries, treatment, and recovery
- Past and future diminished quality of life
- Diminished future potential earnings
- Possible punitive damages