News and Information
September 21, 2018

Virginia Lawyers Providing Free Emergency Legal Services to Victims of Natural Disasters

Lawyers across the state have signed up to provide free legal services to those affected by Florence and other natural disasters this hurricane season.

Starting today, eligible members of the public with internet access are encouraged to use Virginia Free Legal Answers to have their natural disaster-related legal questions answered by licensed attorneys.

Those without internet can call the emergency legal services hotline between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (804) 775-0808 (metro Richmond) or (800) 552-7977 (statewide and nationwide toll-free). Callers should identify that they are seeking disaster-related legal assistance.

The hotline is a service of the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service. And Virginia Free Legal Answers is a service of the American Bar Association. 

Examples of legal assistance available include: 

1) Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims

2) Help with home repair contracts and contractors

3) Counseling on landlord/tenant and mortgage-foreclosure problems 

4) Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster

5) Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies, and procedures.

Attorneys interested in volunteering for the pro bono work can still sign up at Virginia Free Legal Answersor for the hotline via this form. This program is a service of the Virginia State Bar’s Young Lawyers Conference. 

Other Resources

People who sustained property damage due to natural disasters are urged to register

with Virginia Department of Emergency Management, as they may be eligible for state disaster assistance.

Beware of Fraud

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office is warning Virginia residents of the risk of fraud and common scams in the wake of the severe weather. Common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations, and fake offers of state or federal aid. Virginians are urged to ask questions, and to require identification when someone claims to represent a government agency. Survivors should also keep in mind that state workers never ask for or accept money – and always carry identification badges with a photograph. 

Updated: Sep 24, 2018