Helena, MT -- For individuals who suffered property damage or were economically injured by the recent wildfires or forest and land closures, legal help is now available under an agreement between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division.
The legal assistance is designed specifically for disaster victims who have insufficient resources to secure adequate legal services, whether or not the lack of resources existed prior to the disaster. Such individuals can call a lawyer with the Montana Bar Association at 1-800-310-7029 for help.
Participating lawyers can assist with a number of disaster-related issues including:
- Help with insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills or loss of property.
- Drawing up new wills and other legal papers lost in the disaster.
- Help with home repair contracts and contractors.
- Advice on problems with landlords.
- Preparing powers of attorney.
- Help with guardianships and other similar legal problems.
- Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures.
- Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems.
Legal assistance is limited to cases that will not produce a fee for the attorney, such as lawsuits in which the lawyer receives a percentage of money obtained through the suit.
The legal assistance program is just one of many disaster assistance programs available to those affected either directly or indirectly by the Montana wildfires. Other assistance includes temporary housing, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and mortgage and rental assistance. Low-interest loans are available for homeowners, renters and business owners for property loss or damage. Business owners can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
To register for federal/state disaster assistance, call 1-800-745-0243 (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired) from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.