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Pajaro River Levee Breach Lawyer

Posted by Emily Ruby | Jun 01, 2023 | 0 Comments

Pajaro Levee Breach Lawyers at Pajaro Park
Join us at Pajaro Park on Wednesdays at 5:30pm for answers to your Pajaro Levee Breach questions.

Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys is representing those who have suffered injuries, property damage, evacuation costs or other damages as a result of the Pajaro River levee breach in March 2023. Torrential downpour caused one of the levees on the Pajaro River in California's central coast to breach.

Residents of the town of Pajaro, who are largely farmworkers, have been most affected by this catastrophic levee breach, which flooded the region and affected their main source of income. The levee breach and flooding spurred thousands of evacuations and residents could not return to their homes for at least two weeks.

COMPROMISED LEVEES LEFT COMMUNITY VULNERABLE

The levee was built in 1949 and, according to a 2021 Army Corps webpage summary of the system, "no longer provides the designed level of protection," the Los Angeles Times reports. The flooding is not new. It has already occurred five times since it was completed including a breaching event in 1995 when two people drowned and economic damage was estimated to range between $50 million and $95 million.

In 1997 and again in 1998, more flooding occurred during which time President Bill Clinton issued a disaster declaration. There was near flooding again in 2017 and in January 2023 when residents of Pajaro were evacuated for one week. Experts say the Pajaro levee breach is an example of how systemic racism can play a part in upending the lives of marginalized and low-income communities. They say it is also an illustration of "infrastructure equity" issues that the nation has been dealing with for decades.

For many years now, authorities have known that the levees have been compromised and yet did nothing to repair them. If you have been affected by the recent Pajaro River levee breach, contact Greenberg and Ruby to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.

TYPES OF DAMAGES FROM LEVEE BREACH

These are some of the types of damages for which you may be able to seek compensation after the Pajaro River levee breach.

Property Damage

Water damage: Floodwater could seep into walls, ceilings and floors causing damage to drywall, insulation and paint. Water can also spur the growth of mold, which is a serious health hazard and can be costly to clean up.

Damage to structures: Flooding could weaken a building's foundation and support structures.

Electrical system damage: Floodwater can also cause damage to outlets, wiring and switches putting the structure in danger of fires or other types of electrical malfunction.

Plumbing damage: When floodwater enters the plumbing and sewer systems, it could ruin pipes, fixtures and other appliances.

Flooring: Flooding can also wreak havoc on carpet or any type of flooring such as laminate, wood or tile. Repairs can often be extremely costly.

Contamination: Chemicals and other hazardous materials that mix in with floodwater not only cause property damage, but also pose health hazards.

Make sure that you document all flood damage the levee breach caused on your property. It is crucial to take pictures of the damage and maintain records of repairs and replacements. Such information can be very useful whether you file an insurance claim or a lawsuit.

Damage to Farms

Flooding can have a significant impact on farms affecting not only crops and livestock, but also a farm's infrastructure and its ability to operate now and in the future. If your farm was damaged by the Pajaro River levee breach, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:

Damage to crops: Clogged water has the potential to deplete the soil of vital nutrients such as oxygen and nitrogen. Cool wet conditions also favor the growth of bacteria, fungi and other pathogens that could spread disease.

Soil erosion: Flooding can also cause the erosion of topsoil making it less fertile.

Loss of livestock: Floods can kill or sicken livestock, which are crucial for the functioning of farms.

Damage to infrastructure: Floods could cause damage to buildings, equipment, irrigation systems and other types of infrastructure that are necessary for a farm's operation. Repairing such damage can be costly.

Disruption of farm operations: When farmlands are flooded, they are difficult and even dangerous to access. This leads to reduced productivity and severe financial losses.

Other Types of Damages

Here are some other types of damages for which you may be able to seek compensation:

Lost wages: For people who live off the land, losing access and dealing with property damage can prove catastrophic financially. They may lose their wages for an extended period of time because of the time it takes to get a farm up and running again.

Costs related to evacuation: If you had to spend money on a hotel or transportation as a result of mandatory evacuation, you can claim those expenses as part of your claim as well.

Medical bills: If you were injured as a result of the levee breach, you may be able to claim medical bills for emergency transportation, hospitalization, cost of medication, medical equipment, etc.

Emotional distress: When your life is disrupted in this manner, it is natural to suffer from anxiety, depression or stress. You may also be able to recover compensation for such non-economic damages.

Punitive damages: These types of damages are awarded in lawsuits where the negligence that led to the injury or harm was egregious. The Pajaro River levee breach lawsuits may qualify for punitive damages because of the negligence on part of officials as they failed to repair the levees. It is particularly outrageous that the residents of Pajaro were neglected because of their economic situation.

WHAT IS MY CASE WORTH?

The actual value of your case will depend on the types of injuries, damages or losses you may have suffered. For example, if your farm suffered significant damage and you have lost your ability to earn income for an extended period of time, your compensation is likely to be much higher. If you have suffered major injuries, you may also be eligible to receive more damages.

WHAT IS THE DEADLINE TO FILE A PAJARO RIVER LEVEE BREACH LAWSUIT?

California has deadlines or statute of limitations to file lawsuits. If you are filing a lawsuit for property damage, you typically have three years to file a lawsuit. If you have been injured, you may have two years to sue the at-fault parties. However, if your lawsuit is against a governmental entity, you only have six months (180 days) after the date of injury or property damage.

HOW GREENBERG AND RUBY CAN HELP YOU

At Greenberg and Ruby, our personal injury lawyers have a long and successful track record of fighting for the rights of California's workers and for those who have been injured as a result of others' negligence and/or wrongdoing. We will work diligently to compile strong evidence in your case so you are poised to receive maximum compensation for your losses. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge any fees unless we have recovered compensation for you. Call us at (323) 782-0535 for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.

About the Author

Emily Ruby

2022 "Women in Law" Award Winner, Emily Ruby, specializes in complex cases, many of which involve catastrophic injuries and deaths. Mrs. Ruby has personally obtained more than $78.6 Million in compensation for her clients with an impressive 97.4% success rate and is a graduate of the prestigious CAALA Trial Academy. She was selected as one of Forbes' Best Wrongful Death Lawyers and is a writer for Advocate Magazine.

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