Hawaiian Electric Company, the biggest electricity provider in Hawaii, is facing three massive lawsuits, mostly related to the Maui fires that broke out in August 2023. The company is being blamed for the wildfires that have wreaked havoc across the Hawaiian islands.
Multiple victims of the wildfires, especially the fire in Maui, are suing Hawaiian Electric Company (HEC). These folks have suffered in various ways, including property damage, lost wages, serious personal injuries, and even death.
We will dive into the details of these lawsuits, what this means for Hawaiian Electric Company, and what you should do if you've been affected by the fires.
Trust Lawsuit Legal News to Help Protect Your Rights After the Maui Fire
The team at LLN is on the cutting edge of the terrible tragedy in Hawaii. We are prepared to jump in and help those who are suffering from personal losses and financial concerns. We bring more than 120 combined years of experience helping injured people, and we won't hesitate to challenge big corporations, including power companies and other utilities, to protect those in need.
If you have any questions about your specific legal rights, don't wait to reach out to our compassionate team of professionals. Our award-winning team has recovered more than $400 million for our clients, we may be able to help you. Call us at 866-535-9515 today.
Hawaiian Electric Under Fire After Deadly Maui Devastation
The wildfires have caused extensive destruction in Hawaii, including homes, businesses, historic landmarks, and the natural beauty of the islands. But the loss isn't just material. Nearly 100 lives were lost, and thousands of people have been injured and displaced. Sadly, these numbers are likely to go up.
Hawaiian Electric is being scrutinized because investigators determined that some of the electrical equipment from this company may have started the fires.
In fact, one man recorded sparking powerlines that were setting fire to dry grass while he was live streaming on Facebook.
As a result, a few lawsuits have been filed against Hawaiian Electric, accusing them of negligence and demanding compensation for the damages suffered by the plaintiffs. HEC is being criticized for not shutting off power to those areas despite the National Weather Service issuing a High Wind Watch and Red Flag Warning.
The lawsuits claim that by failing to shut off the power during these dangerous conditions, the defendant caused loss of life, serious injuries, destruction of property, displacement of thousands of people, and damage to many of Hawaii’s historic and cultural sites.
Additionally, dozens of people were burned to death while other victims suffered severe burns, smoke inhalation, and other serious injuries. The fires have also caused severe mental stress and emotional devastation in their wake.
Three Potential Lawsuits are Available Against Hawaiian Electric
There are three main types of lawsuits being filed against Hawaiian Electric that can be broken down into a few categories: class action, wrongful death, and personal injury lawsuits.
1. Class Action Lawsuits
So far, two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Hawaiian Electric involving thousands of residents and business owners whose property was damaged by the Maui fire and others:
- Burnes v Hawaiian Electric Company
- Monica Eder and Rede Eder v Hawaiian Electric Company
To put it simply, the Eder lawsuit argues that despite being warned about high winds and fire danger, Hawaiian Electric Company still kept its power on. This led to loss of life, serious injuries, destroyed property, and displacement of thousands of people, not to mention damage to many of Hawaii's historic and cultural sites.
2. Personal Injury Lawsuit
Another lawsuit—not to be confused with the class-action lawsuits—was filed by Singleton Schreiber on behalf of several individuals who were injured in the wildfires.
This lawsuit alleges that Hawaiian Electric's negligence caused the fires, leading to severe burns, respiratory issues, and other injuries for the plaintiffs. They are seeking compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages related to their injuries.
These types of lawsuits filed by a single individual or family are likely to be the most successful and will have the best chance of resulting in compensation for the victims.
3. Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The families of those who died in the fires can file a wrongful death lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric. Recently, the father of a woman who died in Lahaina brought a wrongful death lawsuit based on her death during the Maui fire. That lawsuit names HEC, along with Maui Electric Company, Hawaiian Electric Industries, and a charitable foundation that owns a large area of land on Maui, as defendants.
The complaint alleges the state allowed the invasion of non-native flammable grasses to take over the island, which increased the potential of fire. The defendants are accused of not preventing or mitigating the situation to avoid fire, especially after the devastating Maui fires in 2018. The lawsuit also alleges the power companies failed to de-energize their lines before the foreseeable fire event.
Families whose loved ones were lost in the Maui fire or other fires in Hawaii can seek compensation for the loss of income, past medical bills, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and more.
Maui Fire Lawsuit FAQs
What is the Time Limit for Filing a Maui Fire Lawsuit?
The State of Hawaii has established a two-year statute of limitations for filing several types of lawsuits. The claims that could arise from the fire in Maui or another Hawaii fire include personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, and possible toxic tort. All of those legal claims fall under the two-year timeframe, so related lawsuits must be filed by August 2025.
Exceptions do exist. For instance, if you need to bring a lawsuit against a governmental entity, your deadline may be earlier than two years. It is best to check with an experienced attorney who understands Hawaii law before you miss your opportunity for justice. Reach out to LLN for specific information about your unique circumstances.
What Does This Mean for Hawaiian Electric?
These lawsuits are a wake-up call that electrical companies like Hawaiian Electric need to be responsible for maintaining their equipment and turning it off in times of severe threat.
These companies do more than just give us electricity. They have to be accountable for the serious industry that they run. If their negligence leads to severe consequences, they should answer for it.
If they are found liable in the existing or future lawsuits, they might face significant financial penalties and may be required to make changes to prevent future wildfires.
What Should You Do if You Were Affected?
If you were affected by a Hawaii fire and think that Hawaiian Electric's negligence played a role, here's what you should do:
1. Document Any Property Damage and Financial Losses
Collect evidence of your property damage, medical expenses, lost income, and other losses you experienced due to the Hawaii fire. If you were personally injured, you should seek immediate medical attention from a hospital or urgent care center.
2. Seek Legal Advice
Reach out to a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with large lawsuits and major corporations. For example, the team at Lawsuit Legal News can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through the process of determining if you have a claim against HEC.
Also, since the lawyers affiliated with LLN work on a contingency fee basis, you won't have to pay a penny upfront to protect your rights. All legal fees are calculated as a percentage of the money you receive after they successfully resolve your claim.
3. File a Claim and/or Lawsuit to Recover Your Losses
If you suffered similar losses as other Maui fire victims, you may be able to file your own lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric. Once you reach out to a knowledgeable attorney, they can guide you through the process and help you determine your best options.
Contact a Maui Fire Lawyer at Lawsuit Legal News Today
The Hawaii fires claimed many lives, injured thousands, and displaced large communities of families. If you lost your home or business, our lawyers can help you receive the most from your insurance policy. We may also be able to help recover compensation from the utility companies that may be responsible for the fire.
If you were physically injured, don't hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Lawsuit Legal News. We can help you recover damages to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
If you lost a loved one to these horrific fires, contact our team. We are extremely experienced in wrongful death claims and have handled hundreds of cases with passion and sympathy. We know this loss will always affect you—but the medical bills and other losses shouldn't be a constant reminder of your loss.
Our team has extensive experience handling lawsuits involving large corporations that caused major injuries or deaths. Over the years, we have taken on corporations like Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Dupont, Geico, Dow, Bayer, Unilever, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and even the U.S. Military.
We are committed to fighting for the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.