A toll-free legal aid hotline is now available to victims of Michigan’s recently declared flood emergency in Midland, Arenac, Iosco, Saginaw, and Gladwin Counties. The service, which allows callers to request the assistance of a lawyer to aid in flood-related matters, is a partnership between the State Bar of Michigan, the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, Lakeshore Legal Aid, Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, and private law firms who are volunteering services including Dykema, Bodman, Honigman, and Miller Canfield.
Flood victims facing legal issues who are unable to afford a lawyer may call 1 (866) 418-8315 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Friday, to request assistance. When connected to the hotline, callers should identify that they are seeking disaster-related legal assistance, brief details of the assistance needed, and in which county they are located. Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Michigan lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance. Legal consultations will be scheduled for a mutually agreeable time following the initial call-in and matching process.
The type of legal assistance available includes:
- Assistance with securing possible FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster victims
- 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
- Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies, and procedures
- Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems
- Counseling on landlord-tenant problems
Victims should be aware that there are limitations on disaster legal services. For example, assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee (e.g., those cases where attorneys are paid part of the settlement by a court). Such cases are referred to a local lawyer referral service.
Currently, disaster relief services are available to flood victims in Midland, Arenac, Iosco, Saginaw, and Gladwin Counties. For all other flood victims, contact the State Bar of Michigan lawyer referral service at 1 (800) 968-0738.
Related: Resources for Midland Lawyers Affected by Flooding