Learn More About The Maui Wildfires

Emergency Order Makes Legal Services More Affordable for Maui Fire Victims

Jan 29, 2024

The wildfires in Maui caused immense destruction in August 2023. While media outlets soon moved on to new headlining stories, the individuals who lost homes and loved ones in Maui continue to struggle to pick up the pieces and move forward. 

The state of Hawaii released an emergency order in September 2023. The order provides financial relief for the relatives of those who lost loved ones in the fires, waiving the probate court filing fees that accompany the probate process. 

The Severe Destruction Caused by the Maui Wildfires

On August 8th, 2023, drought conditions in Maui combined with winds from Hurricane Dora. The island of Maui, particularly the city of Lahaina, was engulfed in severe wildfires in hours. Over three days, over 100 people lost their lives. Nearly 19,000 acres of land burned, and the blaze destroyed around 2200 structures.

Hundreds of survivors remain without homes months after the fires. In addition to the financial and emotional destruction the fires wrought, many survivors must also navigate the financial and legal challenges of attempting to handle the estates of the loved ones whose lives were lost on the island. 

How Chief Browning’s Emergency Order Helps Maui Wildfire Victims

Judge R. Mark Browning of Hawaii’s First Circuit Court released an emergency order on September 29, 2023. The purpose of the emergency order is to provide financial relief to the relatives of the individuals who perished in the Maui wildfires. Specifically, the order waives the probate court filing costs associated with the probate process. 

Regardless of whether an attorney or a self-represented individual files the documents, filing costs are waived. Probate attorneys have been instructed to add “pro bono” or “low pro bono” below document case numbers to ensure that they are filed correctly, with waived filing fees, by the Clerk of Court.

Chief Browning’s emergency order came two days after a similar order was issued by Chief Cahill of Hawaii’s Second Circuit Court.

How a U.S. Mass Tort Wildfire Attorney Can Help 

The Maui wildfires have left victims in a unique financial situation. Due to the unusual nature of events in Maui, successfully recovering wildfire compensation takes a particular set of legal skills. For those who sustained injuries or lost their homes in the Maui fires, an attorney with knowledge of wildfire mass torts and bankruptcy mass torts is most likely to possess the legal experience you need. 

An attorney who practices in these areas can work to help you recover compensation for items such as: 

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Other injury expenses

Additionally, Hawaiian Electric is under investigation for the role it may have played in contributing to the Maui Wildfires. Since the electric company may be considering bankruptcy, a wildfire tort lawyer handling a case related to the Maui fires should also possess the knowledge necessary to skillfully navigate a case related to mass tort bankruptcy.

Legal Services for Maui Fire Victims

When you know the specific legal skills you need to look for in a Maui wildfire attorney, you’re better prepared to choose the legal representation best poised to fight for your financial future.