Fire Victim Trust

Frequently Asked Questions

Emotional Distress Claims

137. What is an Emotional Distress Claim?

Emotional Distress Claims include claims for mental anguish a Claimant suffered as a result of evacuating or sheltering-in-place during the Fires or damages for annoyance and discomfort related to the loss of use of property as a result of the Fires, to the extent permitted by California law.

138. What types of claims can I submit for Emotional Distress?

You can submit claims for Zone of Danger or Nuisance. Zone of Danger claims include the emotional distress and/or mental anguish Claimants experienced or witnessed while evacuating or sheltering-in-place as a result of the Fire. Nuisance claims include damages for annoyance and discomfort related to the loss of use or substantial interference with the use or enjoyment of property and loss of cherished or irreplaceable possessions as a result of the Fire.

139. What are the minimal eligible criteria for a “Zone of Danger” Claim?

The Trust will consider Claimants to be in the Zone of Danger if they were: (a) within the Fire perimeter (b) and experienced emotional distress or mental anguish contemporaneous to the Fire, (c) while evacuating or sheltering-in-place as a result of the Fire.

140. How will the Trust determine award amounts for Zone of Danger Claims, and what evidence will the Trust accept?

The Trust will compare the experiences of similarly situated Claimants and issue award amounts based on whether a Claimant meets the criteria for one of the following tiers: Tier I (Severe Distress); Tier II (Moderate Distress); or Tier III (Mild Distress). The Trust will make these determinations by evaluating both (a) the conditions that a Claimant encountered while evacuating or sheltering-in-place and (b) any ongoing effects from mental health conditions that the Claimant has continued to experience as a result of emotional distress or mental anguish from the Fire.

141. What types of documents may support my Emotional Distress Claim?

  • A written narrative or an audio or video recording detailing the Claimant’s evacuation and impact of the Fire on the Claimant and his or her family, including impact related to the loss of property and any sentimental items in the home;

  • Texts, emails, or social media content the Claimant created during the evacuation;

  • Photos or videos taken during the evacuation;

  • Pre-Fire and post-Fire photos and videos of the Claimant’s property;

  • Records describing bodily injury or mental health counseling or treatment;

  • Documentation of medical and counseling expenses; and

  • Other supporting documents in the Claimant’s possession.

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