Frequently Asked Questions

Below, you will find answers to some frequently asked questions. Please feel free to contact us if you don't get your questions answered below.
Who are you suing and why? 
We are suing Hawaii Electric Company, Inc (HECO) and its various related companies for causing the fires that started on August 8, 2023, on the island of Maui, which have destroyed thousands of structures and taken 99 lives.
I have already filed and/or received compensation from a home insurance claim, do I still qualify?
Yes, you still qualify. The fact that you have or don’t have insurance has no impact whether you qualify to participate in the litigation against Hawaiian Electric (HECO). Under the law, however, you cannot recover damages for the same injury twice. So, if you received insurance proceeds for damages caused by the Maui Fire, and we succeed in winning damages from HECO, the amount you ultimately receive will be reduced by the amount you received from your insurance company or other sources (i.e. a government grant).
 How do I know if I qualify to participate in the lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric, Inc (HECO)?
You can see if you qualify to participate by clicking here to complete a questionnaire, or you can call us at 808-736-1191. A member of our team will ask you some questions to see if you qualify.

To qualify, one of the following must be true:

- One partially damaged property
- One totally destroyed property
- At least one smoke or tree damaged property with $50,000 in uninsured loss
- Lost personal income of over $25,000
- Business income loss
- A physical injury resulting in hospitalization caused by the fire
- Wrongful death
What type of injuries can I recover for?
We will seek to recover damages for the following: 
  1. Physical Injury/Emotional Distress: Reports indicated many people suffered personal injuries while fleeing the fire. Please seek medical attention if you suffered any injuries while fleeing the fire. You should also take care to keep track of any out-of-pocket costs associated with treating these injuries, including any co-payments to medical providers, medical supplies, and prescription drugs. You may have suffered emotional distress, as you were fleeing from the fast-moving fire. As with your physical injuries, please seek counseling or other medical attention if you are suffering emotionally from the fires. You should also consider keeping a diary of your daily activities since the fire, including writing down how you are feeling each day.
  2. Wrongful Death: Tragically, we know that there has been a significant loss of life associated with the Maui fires. It is truly horrific and unprecedented in modern American history. If you have a family member who passed away in the fire or from health impacts from the fire, we extend our deepest condolences and sympathies. Our team has worked with many families who have faced the tragic outcome of someone passing away in a wildfire. We are here to ensure you and your loved ones get the justice deserved, while also protecting your family’s privacy as best we can.
  3. Home/Property/Land Loss: This includes everything from the standard items in your home, your vehicles, cherished items, family heirlooms, exceptional items, and collectibles. While there are some things money can’t bring back, we have personal property experts that will work with you to get everything cataloged to position us to fight effectively to get HECO to compensate you.
  4. Personal Property Loss: This includes everything from the standard items in your home, your vehicles, cherished items, family heirlooms, exceptional items, and collectibles. While there are some things money can’t bring back, we have personal property experts who will work with you to get everything cataloged to position us to fight effectively to get HECO to compensate you.
  5. Personal Income Loss: The Maui fires have destroyed hundreds of buildings that housed active businesses. As a result, many community members have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Working with our clients to gather the proper documentation, we will seek to recover personal income losses.
  6. Business Income Loss: If you lost your business, we work with business experts who help you determine the value of what you lost. In turn, we will seek to recover these losses on your behalf.
  7. Out of Pocket Expenses: In the days, weeks, months, and years that follow this tragedy, you will likely incur out-of-pocket expenses for things like housing, food, travel, clean-up costs, and other unforeseen costs. You should immediately start keeping track of all of these expenses as best you can. All of these will be a part of what we fight to get you compensated for. 
If I was renting my home and it burned down in the Maui fires, can I participate in this lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric?
Yes. Renters whose home was destroyed or damaged by the fire can participate in the litigation.
If you are successful, how much do you think my case is worth?
Each claim will be evaluated individually, so there are many variables to consider when estimating what any one case might be worth. Until we learn more about your individual case, we cannot begin to guess how much you might recover in this litigation.
How do you, the lawyers, get paid?
We operate on what is called a Contingency Fee arrangement. You will pay us, your lawyers, only if you recover money for your damages. If your case does not settle or you do not receive a jury award r, then you will owe us nothing, including any expenses that we advanced on your behalf. This arrangement will be covered in a written agreement between you and us called a CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT AND CONSENT TO FEE SHARING.

Again, if the client receives no award, the attorneys are not entitled to receive any payment from the client, including a reimbursement of costs incurred.
Why should I hire the associated law firms from HECO Lawsuit to represent me?
The lawyers with Apo, Reck & Kusachi collectively have decades of experience representing your neighbors on Maui in personal injury cases and other disputes. They understand Maui and the people that live here. Partner Jan K. Apo was born in Lahaina and even had his childhood home destroyed in the Lahaina fire.

Mikal Watts of the national law firm Watts Law Firm LLP is one of America’s leading mass tort lawyers, able to assist individuals and families across the United States. The attorneys at Watts Law Firm have represented thousands of clients across multiple states on the mainland who suffered harm when negligent utilities sparked devastating wildfires. They also have years of experience assisting clients dealing with the aftermath of contamination from toxic chemicals and the fallout of chemical exposure on people’s livelihood, while our advocates and activists like Erin Brockovich (not a lawyer) help give voice to those who might not otherwise be heard.  
Are there any deadlines related to the litigation that I should be aware of for the Maui Fire?
In all litigation, there are deadlines for when you are allowed to file a lawsuit. In the law this is called a “Statute of Limitations.” By state of Hawaii statute, you have two (2) years to file a claim for personal injury, wrongful death and/or property damages.
What is a mass tort? What is a mass tort lawsuit?
A mass tort is a form of injury or harm caused by an act or omission that harms or injures many people. Mass tort actions, also known as mass tort suits, are collections of individual lawsuits that allege the same harm against the same defendants and are grouped together by a judicial panel to reduce redundancies in the judicial system. Unlike the more well-known class-action lawsuit, mass tort suits ultimately have two meaningful differences:

1. They give individuals more control over the specific outcome of their case. Individuals retain their right to select an attorney and if they wish to accept the settlement offered, in the case of a successful suit.

2. Mass tort lawsuits cost absolutely nothing to join. We will represent all qualified individuals and businesses  who have suffered the requisite amount of damages on a contingency basis. This contingency means you will never pay any attorneys’ fees unless we win compensation in your case. 
How long will this case take to resolve?
Unfortunately, litigation for these types of damages can take years to resolve. You should plan on a case of this complexity to take between 3-5 years to be fully resolved. But as you decide if you want to be involved, please understand that our team is here to support  you until your case is resolved – one way or the other.

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Join the HECO Lawsuit

Our team is ready to be there for you like we have for thousands of families across the mainland. We are here to help. The following questions help us understand if we are able to represent you. If you have any questions, you can email us at or call (808) 582-8749.