Last updated: July 18. 2013 12:46PM - 201 Views
By Michael Browning
Staff Writer

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CHARLESTON — Victims of the March 15 flood in Logan County can now get free legal help.

Free legal assistance is available to survivors of the recent storms and flooding in federally designated West Virginia counties – Lincoln, Logan, Marion and Wayne. The Logan County communities of Mud Fork, Verdunville, Coal Branch and Mount Gay were hit hard by the March 15 flooding that happened when several inches of rain fell in an hour, causing widespread damage to property, homes and businesses.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin all requested a federal disaster declaration, which was granted by President Obama, and FEMA and other agencies came in to give help to victims.

The free legal assistance is being supplied through a partnership among the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Legal Aid of West Virginia and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA officials said in a press release on Friday.

Survivors facing legal problems may call 877-331-4259 to request assistance. Phone lines are staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and callers may leave a message outside of those hours. Callers should state they are seeking FEMA legal assistance and should identify what county they are located in. Survivors who qualify for assistance will be matched with West Virginia lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal help.

The type of assistance available includes:

Assistance with securing FEMA and other government 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; and counseling on landlord/tenant problems.

The press release said there are some limitations on disaster legal services.

“To determine whether a legal problem qualifies for free legal assistance, survivors should make it clear that they are seeking assistance relative to the declared FEMA disaster. An attorney will contact the caller after reviewing the information provided,” the press release said.

To contact Staff Writer Michael Browning, call 304-752-6950, extension 309, or email him at mbrowning@loganbanner.com.

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