Free Legal Assistance Now Available
A toll-free legal aid hotline is now available for victims of Hurricane Matthew in 35 counties of North Carolina. The service, which allows callers to request the assistance of a lawyer, is a partnership between the North Carolina Bar Association, Legal Aid of North Carolina, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Low-income survivors facing legal issues may call 1-800-662-7407, the assistance hotline activated by the North Carolina Bar Association. The hotline is available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
When you call 1-800-662-7407
- Identify that you are seeking Hurricane Matthew-related legal assistance – ask for Disaster Legal Services.
- Identify the county in which you are located.
- Survivors who qualify for assistance will be matched with North Carolina lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal help.
Examples of legal assistance available include:
- Assistance with securing FEMA and other benefits available to disaster survivors
- Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors
- Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster
- Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures
- Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems
- Counseling on landlord/tenant problems
There are some limitations on disaster legal services. For example, assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee (i.e., those cases where fees are paid part of the settlement by the court). Such cases are referred to a lawyer referral service. To determine whether an issue qualifies for free legal assistance, individuals should call 1-800- 310-7029 to determine whether a particular issue qualifies.
The following organizations have joined forces to establish a toll-free phone line for North Carolina Hurricane Matthew victims to request free legal assistance, and to provide volunteer attorneys to handle cases arising from hurricane related damage.
North Carolina Bar Association
The North Carolina Bar Association is a voluntary organization of lawyers, paralegals and law students dedicated to serving the public and the legal profession.
Legal Aid of North Carolina
Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, non-profit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity.
American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division
The ABA YLD, the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession, and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and one of the largest voluntary professional membership groups in the world.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror. Through an agreement with the American Bar Association, FEMA underwrites the cost of operating toll free legal assistance lines for survivors in areas designated as federal disaster sites.
National Disaster Legal Aid Online
NDLA (available at: disasterlegalaid.org) is a collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, the American Bar Association, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and Pro Bono Net.