Bar association provides free legal aid

Posted April 26, 2011 8:26 a.m. EDT

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

Storm victims needing help with legal problems may call the N.C. Bar Association weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1-800-662-7407 and ask for Disaster Legal Services to leave your information. A volunteer attorney will call you back within 48-72 hours.

Attorneys who wish to volunteer should call that same number or e-mail

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 N.C. 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 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.