Partnership between legal organizations, FEMA helps Tennesseans
NASHVILLE, March 29, 2012 -- A toll-free legal assistance line is now available for victims of recent storms and flooding in counties that have been designated as federal disaster areas.
Victims in Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton and Polk counties may call (888) 395-9297 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. central time Monday through Friday to request free legal assistance. Messages may be left at any time. Callers should identify that they are seeking storm-related legal assistance. Victims who qualify for assistance will be matched with Tennessee lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal help.
The service is a partnership between the Tennessee Bar Association, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Issues that generally arise after a natural disaster, and for which an attorney can provide help, include:
* Securing government benefits available to disaster victims
* Filing life, medical and property insurance claims
* Dealing with home repair contracts and contractors
* Replacing missing or destroyed wills and other legal documents
* Dealing with consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures
* Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems
* Counseling on landlord/tenant problems
Governor Bill Haslam requested and President Barack Obama approved a federal disaster declaration for the 10 counties listed above stemming from severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding in the state from Feb. 29 to March 2. Individuals in these counties may apply for individual assistance by calling 800-621-FEMA. Learn more about the disaster declaration
Lawyers around the state who are willing to handle storm-related cases on a pro bono basis are encouraged to contact the TBA at (615) 383-7421 to volunteer.
Resources to help lawyers answer disaster questions are available on the TBA's disaster relief webpage
. One of the most requested resources is the Disaster Legal Services Manual developed by the TBA Young Lawyers Division. Download it here