Lawyers Helping Those Who Suffered After the Lahaina Maui Wildfires

Lawsuits against Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) have already been filed, with new lawsuits now filed almost daily, even though the cause of the exact cause of the fire that destroyed Lahaina has not yet been officially determined.
We know that Hawaiian Electric did not have a severe weather shut-down plan, as other power companies in areas prone to wildfires do, and that at least 29 poles went down while being energized.

Holding Those Responsible Accountable

The world has known that power lines have caused wildfires for more than 50 years; moreover, we know that the prevalence of wildfires caused by power lines has increased exponentially in the last 20 years, in great part due to climate change. Wildfires started by California power companies have burned more than 1 million acres and resulted in $10 billion in settlements, something HECO was acutely aware of and modeled a climate change threat initiative rate hike application to the Maui PUC in 2022. This came after the California power company PG&E reached a $55 million settlement to avoid criminal prosecution for the 2021 Dixie fire.

Power Companies and Wildfires

Hawaiian Electric Company Power Lines

The history of major wildfires being caused by power companies goes back more than 50 years, but the frequency and severity has greatly increased over the last 20 years. Fire caused by power lines sparking in high winds, downed electrical poles and faulty transmission equipment have burned more than a million acres, taking lives and destroying billions of dollars of property.

In recent years, a new history of power companies and wildfires has emerged – accountability. In California, power companies have been held accountable, primarily through lawsuits and the threat of criminal prosecution, resulting in settlements in the billions and investments to lessen and prohibit future wildfires. It is clear from public filings that Hawaiian Electric Company had taken notice of the wildfires that had been caused by other power companies and the destruction those fires caused.

Hawaiian Electric Company Saw a Substantial Wildfire Risk

Downed HECO Power Lines

In 2022, HECO submitted a request to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for a $189.7 million climate change threats initiative, which included a rate-hike to customers. That initiative, which was denied by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, included wildfire mitigation efforts that could have lessened the severity and impact of the fire, possibly prevented the fire that devastated Lahaina altogether. HECO’s application to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, it recognized a “significant” risk of its power lines sparking a wildfire. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission denied HECO’s request.

What Could HECO Have Done and Why Is It Responsible?

Downed HECO Power Lines

HECO could have made some of those investments without a customer rate increase, knowing that such an investment would also not only protect the people of Maui and their property, it would have also protected the company’s own power grid, not to mention protecting the company’s shareholders, as Hawaiian Electric Company executives would have seen the bankruptcy of the California company PG&E in January of 2019 after fires the company’s equipment had caused had killed countless people and destroyed billions of dollars of property. Hawaiian Electric’s actions – and inactions – over the last years led to the Lahaina fire, both its occurrence and severity. HECO was fully aware of the need to prepare for extreme weather events, that dry conditions and extreme weather were becoming the norm, not once 20 years events.

Why Didn’t HECO Shut Down Power?

Downed HECO Power Lines

Perhaps the single greatest step Hawaiian Electric could have taken would have been the easiest, least costly and also borrowed from the horrific lessons learned by California power companies – develop a power shut-down policy and then turn off power to lines with the greatest potential to be downed or spark a wildfire, something Hawaiian Electric did not do. There have been numerous reports of fires initially being ignited by sparking and downed power lines, which perhaps created multiple points of ignition of what became a massive wildfire. Had Hawaiian Electric implemented a power shut-down prior to the high winds, these fires would not have ignited, possibly saving the residents of Lahaina unimaginable pain, suffering and loss.

HECO has defended the inaction to shut down power by claiming that doing so would have prevented water pumps necessary for fighting fires to operate; however, fire hydrants wouldn’t have needed to operate if a massive wildfire hadn’t first been ignited.

Hawaiian Electric Company Fire Lawsuits

Hawaiian Electric Lawsuit

Lawsuits against Hawaiian Electric Company will almost inevitably become necessary to recover the financial compensation the people Lahaina deserve – and that will never be enough. Anyone who has suffered as a result of the Lahaina fire is eligible for a free, no-obligation case review with a lawyer in Maui. We will be handling Hawaiian Electric Company fire lawsuits on contingency, meaning you never pay legal fees unless we win compensation for you.

Hawaiian Electric Company Lawsuit FAQs

Hawaiian Electric Lawyers FAQ

This page provides answers to common questions about filing a Hawaiian Electric lawsuit. The answers contained in this page will apply to most general questions regarding a Hawaiian Electric fire lawsuit. Our attorneys handling Hawaiian Electric Lahaina fire claims also offer free, no-obligation case consultation. If answers to your specific questions are not contained in this page, contact the firm to speak directly with a lawyer handling Lahaina fire Hawaiian Electric lawsuits.

Who can make a Hawaiian Electric claim or file a Lahaina fire lawsuit?

Any person, or family member of a anyone, including businesses, who was physically or financially impacted by the Lahaina fire may be eligible to make a claim by filing a lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric.

Does it cost anything for you to review my case?

We will always listen to your circumstances and give you our analysis of your case without any cost or further obligation.

What does it cost to file a Hawaiian Electric lawsuit?

We are committed to representing all persons involved in a Hawaiian Electric recall lawsuit on a contingency basis, meaning there are never any legal fees unless we win compensation in your case. To access your free, no-obligation consultation, use the online chat feature or contact form on this site. One of our lawyers handling Hawaiian Electric lawsuits will contact you to answer any of your questions.

Why file a lawsuit now?

Because multi-billion corporations rarely do the right thing when they’ve made a gigantic mess; they do the very least they can get away with, usually putting the blame – and the bill – on someone else. In this case, Hawaiian Electtric may offer a paltry amount and then turn things over to its insurance company. The insurance company’s job is literally to pay out as little as possible. By filing a lawsuit early, you are showing Hawaiian Electric that you won’t be bullied and that you are setting the terms for what you are owed, not insurance adjusters who have no understanding or care for your way of life, values and what means the most to you and your family.

How much time do I have to file a Hawaiian Electric lawsuit?

Most states have Hawaiian Electric lawsuit time limits; however, the majority of all persons having had a Hawaiian Electric system implanted will fall within those time limits if they contact an attorney in the near future. For specific time limits for your claim, please fill out the form at right and one of our attorneys will contact you as quickly as possible, usually within the hour.

Hawaiian Electric Lawyers

Hawaiian Electric Replacement Lawyer

OnderLaw is a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm handling serious injury and death claims across the country. Its mission is the pursuit of justice, no matter how complex the case or strenuous the effort. The Onder Law Firm has represented clients throughout the United States in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation such as Pradaxa, Lexapro and Yasmin/Yaz, where the firm's attorneys held significant leadership roles in the litigation, as well as Actos, DePuy, Risperdal and others. The firm has represented thousands of persons in these and other products liability litigation, including DePuy hip replacement systems, which settled for $2.5 billion and Pradaxa internal bleeding, which settled for $650 million. The Onder Law Firm won over $300 million in four talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits in St. Louis to date and other law firms throughout the nation often seek its experience and expertise on complex litigation.

The OnderLaw team of Hawaii wildfire attorneys is led by Dr. Brad Bradshaw, a Hawaii-licensed physician, surgeon, and lawyer with over 25 years of legal experience. Dr. Bradshaw is so much more than a typical attorney. He understands the injuries, pain, and suffering that fire victims endure, and the troubles they are experiencing from a medical perspective.

Dr. Bradshaw has trained at the University of Hawaii in surgery, and University of Missouri in psychiatry and internal medicine. He has spent decades since as a legal advocate for those who have suffered serious injuries.