Free Legal Assistance for Disaster Victims

Nebraska families and communities have suffered mass destruction and devastation by the recent flooding.  Thousands of Nebraskans have been affected.  Many have lost their homes, property and livelihood.  Access to legal services and resources is critical to recovery. Victims need your help now.  This memorandum serves as a guide for Nebraska lawyers to provide legal assistance to disaster victims.

1. Disaster Assistance Hotline

Legal Aid of Nebraska’s toll-free disaster hotline is available to survivors of the recent Nebraska floods. Flood victims with legal questions can call the hotline: 1-844-268-5627 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 to 3:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM CST on Fridays to request assistance.

Callers seeking assistance will provide brief details of the assistance needed and the county in which they reside. Individuals will be matched with Nebraska lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance. The types of legal assistance available include:

  • Help with securing FEMA and other government benefits available to disaster survivors;
  • Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims;
  • Help with contracts and contractors;
  • Replacement of wills, driver’s licenses, social security cards and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster;
  • Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures;
  • Counseling on mortgage foreclosure problems; and
  • Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

Flood victims will be advised there are limitations on disaster legal services. For example, assistance is not available for cases that will produce a fee (i.e., those cases where attorneys are paid part of the settlement by a court). Such cases will be referred to the Omaha Bar Association or the NSBA’s Nebraska Find a Lawyer website.

2. How to Get Involved

Cases from the hotline will be placed with Nebraska lawyers who have volunteered to participate in Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Disaster Relief Project on a pro bono basis.

Disaster survivors who do not qualify for Legal Aid of Nebraska’s services will be referred to the NSBA’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. VLP will place their cases with attorneys who have agreed to provide free legal assistance. Survivors may also receive assistance through Nebraska Free Legal Answers, the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s online pro bono platform.

Lawyers who volunteer through either Legal Aid of Nebraska or the Volunteer Lawyers Project will receive free online and in-person training, along with written resources on the issues they are likely to encounter and will be covered by each organization’s respective malpractice insurance policies.

1. To volunteer for Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Disaster Relief Project, register at disaster.legalaidofnebraskas.org and click on “Volunteer Now.”  Questions can be directed to Shirley Peng at (402) 435-2161 ext. 302 or speng@legalaidofnebraska.org

2. To volunteer for cases through the Volunteer Lawyers Project contact Laurie Heer Dale at (402) 742-8133 or lheerdale@nevlp.org

3. To answer legal questions online, register for Nebraska Free Legal Answers at https://ne.freelegalanswers.org/ and click on “Volunteer Attorney Registration”.

3. Helpful Links

March 2019 Flood Information and Help Links
https://nema.nebraska.gov/operations/march-2019-flood-information-and-help-links

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