Fire Victim Trust

Frequently Asked Questions

Personal Income Loss ("PIL") Claims

103. What is a PIL Claim?

PIL Claims include claims from individuals who lost wage income as a result of the Fires, to the extent permitted by California law.

104. Can I submit a PIL Claim if I am the sole proprietor of a business or independent contractor?

Sole proprietors and independent contractors should submit PIL Claims if you do not report expenses on the Schedule Cs you file with your federal income tax returns. If you report expenses on your Schedule C for a business you own, you should submit a Business Income Loss Claim.

105. If I own a business and the business pays me wages, can I submit a PIL Claim for my lost wages from that business?

Business owners cannot submit PIL Claims for wages they lost from businesses they own if the business has a Business Loss Claim. Reductions in the compensation paid to owners of the business will be included in the Business Loss Claim.

106. Can I submit a PIL Claim for lost rental income?

You should submit a Business Loss Claim, not a Personal Income Loss Claim, for lost income from the rental of real or personal property suffered as a result of the Fires.

107. What types of documents may support my PIL Claim?

  • Tax returns, including all schedules and attachments;
  • W-2 Forms;
  • 1099 Forms;
  • Lease agreements or canceled rent checks;
  • Bank account statements identifying earnings;
  • Paycheck stubs or payroll records; and
  • Other supporting documents within the Claimant’s possession.

108. How will the Trust apply the Economic Loss Rule established in the California Supreme Court’s holding in Southern California Gas Company v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 7 Cal. 5th 391 (2019)?

The Trust will evaluate claims for income loss consistent with the Court's holding in Southern California Gas Company v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 7 Cal. 5th 391 (2019), which upholds the common law doctrine barring plaintiffs from recovering purely economic losses under a negligence theory without personal injury, property damage, or a special relationship (the "Economic Loss Rule"). The Trust has incorporated the Economic Loss Rule in its approach to evaluating income loss claims (Business Income Loss and Personal Income Loss Claims) in two primary ways. First, the Trust requires that Claimants establish that they suffered a personal injury or property damage to have a compensable claim for income loss. Second, the Trust imposes limits on the periods of time after the applicable Fire over which it will calculate an eligible Claimant's losses ("Loss Periods"), under the theory that Loss Periods should be reasonably tailored to account for a specific Claimant's losses attributable directly to the Fire, and not for the broader effects of the Fire to the economy of the region as a whole.

109. What is Expedited Personal Income Loss Review?

To avoid delay in issuing Determination Notices, the Claims Administrator, in coordination with the Claims Processor and other Trust Professionals, will expedite the review of some PIL Claims of Claimants who have an eligible claim for certain other claim types. If after the Trust issues your Determination Notice you request reconsideration of your claim submissions, the Claims Administrator and Claims Processor will review your PIL Claim using the General PIL Review framework. The General PIL Review framework will be finalized at a later date.

110. How did the Trust determine the Net Claim Compensation Amount for my PIL Claim under the Expedited PIL Review Process?

If your PIL Claim was reviewed under the Expedited PIL Review process, the Trust estimated your award based on various factors, including the amount of wage loss you entered in your Claims Questionnaire or indicated in other supporting documents, and whether you had an eligible claim for property damage or personal injury. Another factor the Trust considered is the expense and delay caused by requiring Claimants to submit complete earnings documents for periods preceding and following the Fire to prove the extent of their wage loss. The Trust also considered how the Economic Loss Rule (See FAQ #100) limits compensation to the amount of a Claimant's wage loss attributable to personal injury and property damage caused by the Fire, and not attributable to other factors such as the impact of the Fire on the local economy or the closure of the Claimant's employer.

111. Why was my PIL Claim denied following Expedited Personal Income Loss Review?

Your PIL Claim will be denied following Expedited PIL Review if the Claims Processor finds: (a) your claim is not for lost wages; (b) your wage loss was not caused by personal injury or property damage you suffered as a result of the Fire, as required by the Economic Loss Rule (See FAQ #100); or (c) you did not support your claim for lost wages by providing information about your wage loss or your employment in the Claims Questionnaires or in other supporting documents. If the Claim Processor finds your claim is for lost rental or business income, your claim will be reclassified as a Business Income Loss Claim.

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