A disaster aid hotline is available for V.I. residents who can’t pay for an attorney and need help with hurricane-related legal issues.
Because of widespread infrastructure devastation in the territory, the hotline is operating on the mainland, through the Louisiana Civil Justice Center, which has a long history of this type of assistance and will handle general inquiries.
If callers require individual assistance they will be matched with V.I. attorneys who have volunteered to provide free legal help with such issues as:
– Securing FEMA and other benefits,
– Making life, medical and property insurance claims,
– Dealing with home-repair contractors,
– Replacing wills and other legal documents destroyed by the hurricane,
– Helping with consumer protection matters, and
– Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems and landlord/tenant issues.
There are some limitations. For example, assistance will not be available for cases in which fees are paid as part of a settlement or court award.
The hotline number is 1-800-310-7029. Lines are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday AST. Help will be available in English and Spanish.
The hotline is a joint project of the V.I. Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, FEMA and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center. A hotline is activated when the U.S. president declares a major disaster. FEMA covers the cost of the phone service.