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North Carolina Lawyers Serving the Public Interest.

NC Bar Association's Disaster Legal Services Program activated for persons affected by April 16 storms/tornadoes/flooding

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The North Carolina Bar Association, through its Young Lawyers Division, will provide free legal assistance to persons in North Carolina affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding of April 16.

Activation of the Disaster Legal Services program follows President Obama’s recent declaration of a major disaster. The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Bertie, Bladen, Cumberland, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Wake and Wilson.

Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis in the counties of Bertie, Bladen, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wake and Wilson for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.

The program is conducted in conjunction with the ABA’s Disaster Legal Services Program and FEMA.

Victims of the storms are urged to report insurance claims to their insurance companies as quickly as possible and have an adjuster look at the property before making significant repairs.

Storm victims needing help with legal problems may call the N.C. Bar Association weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-800-662-7407 and ask for Disaster Legal Services. Someone will be on hand to answer basic questions and, if needed, refer storm victims to volunteer attorneys in or near their area.

Attorneys who wish to volunteer should call that same number [1-800-662-7407] or e-mail sections@ncbar.org.  The volunteer attorneys will not be seeking and will not accept business from those affected by these storms. It is strictly a public service.

The NC Bar Association also has a free informational pamphlet titled “Rebuilding After Disaster Strikes,” which is available by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to YLD Disaster Services, PO Box 3688, Cary, NC 27519. The pamphlet may also be downloaded off the NCBA Web site (www.ncbar.org) where it is located on the home page under Featured Items.

Tips on making insurance claims include: follow up initial telephone claims in writing with a list of all losses and take pictures of the damage; provide receipts, appraisals and photographs to the agent and keep a copy of all written information; and obtain estimates for repair and replacement costs.

Storm victims are advised to talk with a lawyer before signing any release or waiver that may prevent them from making a claim. The NCBA also advises storm victims to hire only licensed contractors to make repairs.

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ALSO SEE:

"Bar Association provides free legal aid" 
 (04/26/11 article, WRAL-TV-5)

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