Around 2:45 p.m. on May 11, 2022, a Southern California wildfire, dubbed the “Coastal Fire,” erupted in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park sections of the Laguna Niguel hills overlooking Laguna Beach. The fire quickly grew from 30 acres to 200 acres within a matter of hours. The wildfire prompted mandatory evacuation orders for roughly 900 luxury homes on Coronado Pointe, Vista Court, Via La Rosas, Vista Montemar, La Vue, La Fleur, and Le Port streets.
Our lawyers are representing wildfire victims in lawsuits against the entities responsible for causing the Coastal Fire. We are helping clients prepare insurance and FEMA claims forms at no cost. If we help you achieve an insurance payment without the need for litigation, then there will be no attorneys’ fees charged against that payment. However, in the event your property insurance claims become disputed and require mediation, arbitration or litigation, we will represent you for a contingent fee that is collected only if we recover money for you.
Winds around the time the Coastal Fire was first reported reached 38 miles per hour, allowing it to quickly spread into the Coronado Pointe neighborhood. Authorities created an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and established a Temporary Care and Reception Shelter Center at the Crown Valley Community Center, located at 29751 Crown Valley Parkway, in Laguna Niguel.
Coronado Pointe resident Sassan Darian lost his 5,000-square-foot home where he lived with his father and young daughter. When the fire started, Darian did not believe that it could spread up the canyon so fast. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened; the wind-driven fire quickly reached Darian’s home, and “the sky just turned into an inferno.”
Darian and his family got into a car and escaped the blaze as sheriff’s helicopters flying above their home called out for mandatory evacuations. He returned the next day to find that most of his home, which his family had owned for nearly three decades, was burned to the ground.
CA Wildfire Update: Orange County Fire Fighters Reach 100% Containment for Laguna Niguel Fire
The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) achieved 100% containment of the Coastal Fire on May 17, nearly a week after the fire started. More than 60 different types of resources across Southern California were utilized to extinguish the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel. In a press conference, OCFA noted that two firefighters were injured battling the Coastal Fire.
The Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel burned at least 20 luxury homes, including 5 Vista Court, which was just about to be sold to new owners for around $10 million when the fire started. At least eleven other homes were damaged in the fire.
What Caused the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel?
Officials are investigating the cause of the Coastal Fire. While it will be months before an official cause of the fire is disclosed to the public, Southern California Edison (SCE) has already informed state utility regulators that unspecified electrical “circuit activity” happened with its equipment near where the Coastal Fire apparently began.
In a report to the California Public Utilities Commission, SCE said:
“Our information reflects circuit activity occurring close in time to the reported time of the fire. Our investigation is ongoing.”
Over the last several years, officials have linked utilities' electrical equipment to the ignition of numerous California wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement last year that included more than half a billion dollars in fines and penalties against SCE for its role in five wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
If SCE is found to be responsible for the Coastal Fire, those who lost property or sustained other financial losses may be eligible to pursue compensation for damages.
Justice for Coastal Fire Victims
Those in the Laguna Niguel community affected by the Coastal Fire may seek damages for the following:
- Business Interruption
- Business Loss
- Damage from Flames, Soot, Ash, and Water
- Economic Losses from Displacement
- FEMA Assistance
- Forced Evacuation
- Property Damage
- Home Loss
- Housing Market Impacts
- Physical Injuries
- Long-Term Health Effects
- Psychological Impact
- Structure Loss
- Utility & Other Service Interruptions
What to Do After a Fire?
If you sustained property damage in the Coastal Fire, our wildfire lawyers highly recommend you take the following course of action:
- Make a detailed list of your losses: We realize that this is incredibly difficult, but this is crucial for your claim. Be as detailed as you can as you go through all of the possessions you lost in the fire, including vehicles, appliances, and irreplaceable family heirlooms and photographs. Any of your property that was damaged or destroyed should be included in your list of fire losses. Save receipts for any money you spend out of pocket for food, supplies, lodging, or other expenses associated with your evacuation and displacement.
- Get organized: Claims for losses after the fire in Laguna Niguel will be significant. Details of phone conversations, emails, letters, or other communication with your insurance provider can be crucial pieces of evidence. When speaking with an insurance representative, take notes and organize your communications with the company. These communications can be vital to any potential bad faith claim against your insurance provider should it fail to cover losses it is obligated to pay. Also, keep track of any estimates, invoices, bills, permits, and repair contracts, as well as living expenses incurred as a result of being displaced from your home.
- Contact the Baum Hedlund wildfire lawyers to start your claim: If you do not want the burden of handling your claim by yourself, hire a legal advocate to help. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they may go to great lengths to limit their financial exposure after a wildfire. We have seen insurance companies lowball and even deny valid claims many times. Because our legal team knows the insurance companies’ playbook, we understand how to counter the strategies they use so that we can maximize your claim. Don’t go it alone, hire an experienced lawyer so you can focus on getting your life back together. Here at Baum Hedlund, we do not seek attorneys’ fees for helping you recover money from your insurance policy. We will only seek attorneys’ fees if your claim is against a party responsible for causing the fire, and we are required to negotiate, mediation, arbitrate or litigate your claim. We advance all costs related to our services, and our fees and costs are only collected if we win a favorable recovery on your behalf. In other words, our fee (and cost reimbursement) is contingent on our success for you. This means we only collect our fees if we get money for you. No settlement is reached without your consent. Review the Post-Wildfire Victim Checklist for an extensive list of what do to after a fire damages or destroys your home.
This is how our wildfire lawyers can help Laguna Niguel residents impacted by the Coastal Fire:
Baum Hedlund wildfire lawyers are helping Laguna Niguel Coastal Fire victims pro bono (for free) to prepare and file insurance and FEMA claims. Our legal team will help ensure that your policy claims are properly and thoroughly prepared, giving your insurance provider or FEMA a clear path to process your claim honestly and in good faith.
If you are satisfied with the compensation you receive from your insurance provider and there is no need for litigation, we will not collect attorneys’ fees charged against that payment. However, in the event your property insurance claims are disputed and require mediation, arbitration, or litigation, we will represent your interests for a contingent fee, meaning we only collect our fees if we get money for you. We are prepared to litigate against insurance companies that dishonestly deny claims or refuse to fulfill their legal obligations.
In the event that Southern California Edison (SCE) is responsible for the Coastal Fire, we will pursue litigation claims against the utility company, just as we did for the hundreds of displaced residents we represented from the Malibu and Thousand Oaks areas due to the Woolsey Fire of 2018.
California Wildfire Lawyers with a Proven Track Record
The Baum Hedlund law firm is based in Southern California. Our highly experienced team of wildfire lawyers has helped protect the rights of people impacted by the Camp Fire, the Woolsey Fire, the Thomas Fire, and the Bobcat Fire.
Veteran trial attorney and firm vice president Ronald L. M. Goldman leads the team. Board-certified by the prestigious National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Civil Trial Advocate and a Civil Pretrial Practice Advocate, Ron was instrumental in securing justice and compensation for hundreds of victims of the Camp and Woolsey Fires.
Baum Hedlund’s managing shareholder Michael L. Baum has litigated thousands of personal injury and wrongful death cases, including the Dupont Plaza Hotel fire in Puerto Rico, one of the deadliest hotel fires in U.S. history. Under Michael’s leadership, the firm has earned a reputation for holding Fortune 500 companies accountable, influencing public policy, raising public awareness, improving product safety, and breaking new legal ground.
Attorney Ari S. Friedman has over a decade of experience handling significant litigation against corporate wrongdoing. He has extensive experience with wildfire litigation and has helped hundreds of homeowners, high net-worth individuals, and companies navigate the complexities of insurance claims and litigation with losses connected to utility-caused natural disasters and wildfires. Most recently Ari helped victims recover from the devastating effects of the Woolsey, Thomas, and Bobcat fires.
Cara J. Luther has 30 years of experience litigating catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases stemming from mass disasters. Before she became an attorney, Cara worked in the insurance industry, first as a salesperson and then as a claims adjuster. This experience gives her the skills required to help our clients with insurance matters, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with counsel for the defense and their insurance adjusters in complex cases such as this. She has helped hundreds of California residents with their wildfire insurance claims due to the Woolsey and Campfires.
Attorney Matthew P. French is also a member of our mass disaster and wildfire litigation teams. Most recently, he has been helping with the Camp and Wolsey fire litigation. As a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer, Matthew is proud to be able to help California residents, as well as clients from all over the U.S. He seeks to hold wrongdoers accountable and to help get clients back on their feet. Matthew and the firm both value case outcomes that have the power to change the way the industry operates, helping to make similar incidents less likely to injure others in the future.
Resources for Victims of the Coastal Fire
Assistance for Evacuees:
- Cal Office of Emergency Services Wildfire Recovery Assistance
- FEMA Assistance
- City of Laguna Niguel Coastal Fire Resources
- Red Cross Local Help
Pet & Animal Assistance — Housing/Care/Lost & Missing Pets:
Pet & Animal Adoption/Fostering/Volunteering/Donations:
How to Help CA Wildfire Victims
Make a Donation:
- California Fire Foundation
- GoFundMe Wildfire Campaigns
- Red Cross Disaster Relief
- California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund
- Orange County Fire Authority
- Salvation Army Southern California
- United Way Orange County
Become a Volunteer: