Free legal assistance available for residents affected by the Kilauea eruption

MEDIA RELEASE

A toll-free legal aid hotline is now available to survivors of the state of Hawaii’s recently declared disaster areas in Hawaii County for the Kilauea Volcano eruption and earthquakes. The service, which allows callers to request the assistance of a lawyer to aid in disaster related matters, is a partnership between the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Hawaii State Bar Association, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Hawaii State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, and United Policyholders.

Survivors facing legal issues who are unable to afford a lawyer may call 1-800-499-4302 toll-free between 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Hawaii Time, Monday through 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 area of Hawaii Island they are located. Callers can also email their information to disaster.help@legalaidhawaii.o… or visit www.legalaidhawaii.org for more resources. Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with Hawaii lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance.

The type of legal assistance available include:

  • 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;
  • Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures;
  • Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and
  • Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

Background
On June 14, 2018, a Major Disaster Declaration was issued for the state of Hawaii, making federal funding available for to individuals and business owners in Hawaii County. To register with FEMA, and if eligible, apply for federal and state disaster assistance, register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, via smartphone, or Web-enabled device at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) seven days a week from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Applicants should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves, insurance coverage, and any other information to help substantiate the loss. The deadline to register with FEMA is August 13, 2018.

Survivors should be aware that 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 are referred to a local lawyer referral service.

Partner Members
The following organizations have joined forces to establish a toll-free phone line for Hawaii disaster survivors to request free legal assistance and to provide volunteer attorneys to handle cases arising from the recent disaster in Hawaii County.

American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (www.americanbar.org/groups/you…) The ABA YLD, the largest national organization of young lawyers, provides leadership in serving the public and the profession and promotes excellence and fulfillment in the practice of law. Its parent organization, the ABA, is the national voice of the legal profession and the largest voluntary professional membership group in the world.

Hawaii State Bar Association and Hawaii State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (www.hsba.org) – The Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) is the administrative entity for the unified Hawaii bar, whose members include all lawyers licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaii. Its mission is to unite and inspire Hawaii’s lawyers to promote justice, serve the public and improve the legal profession. All members of the HSBA in good standing under thirty-six year of age, and all members who have been admitted to their first bar for less than five years, are automatically members of the HSBA Young Lawyers Division, which provides activities, camaraderie, and a means of participating and improving the administration of justice for Hawaii’s young lawyers.

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (www.legalaidhawaii.org) – Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (LASH) has helped the people of Hawaii meet their legal needs since 1950. As one of the state’s oldest and largest non-profit, public interest law firms with offices statewide, LASH helps ensure justice and fairness for all by providing civil legal aid to the most vulnerable in our society.

National Disaster Legal Aid Online (www.disasterlegalaid.org) – NDLA is a collaborative effort of Lone Star Legal Aid, the American Bar Association, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and Pro Bono Net.

United Policyholders (www.uphelp.org) – United Policyholders is a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to be a trustworthy and useful information resource and a respected voice for consumers of all types of insurance in all 50 states. UP focuses on helping survivors navigate insurance claims toward a full, fair and prompt settlement, and provides guidance on debris removal, temporary living arrangements, government aid, construction issues, hiring professional help, and deciding how and if to repair, rebuild, or buy a replacement home.

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